March 18, 2008

Voicethread and Splashcast - my own examples

Some weeks ago I wrote a contrastive review of Voicethread, Splashcast and Qlipboard, and now I've decided to post about my own personal and real experience using these tools with my students this semester (1/2008).

Larry Ferlazzo has come up with the great idea of a Sister Classes Project, where some teachers from different countries (8 countries are involved so far) develop (inter)cultural projects/presentations with their students and publish them at the Student Showcase blog for everybody's appreciation. Since I was already beginning a students' blog project with my 2 EFL advanced groups in this first semester of 2008, I was more than glad to join the Sister Classes Project. I also took this chance to spread the word about Brazil and to have my own personal student-generated voicethread and splashcast presentations.

What can't be denied is the power that tools such as these might have:
To prepare the first presentation, I first uploaded the pictures chosen by the students, and, two days later, took them to our school's computer lab for them to record their voices. In the mean time, without advertising the presentation to anyone, we already got our first comment, and it was from a regular voicethread user, not an English teacher and not an English student.
This gave a unique chance to tell my students that the project they were getting into was extremely meaningful because it would be out there, on the internet, for actual audience to appreciate, which made them really thrilled about it!

As soon as they recorded their voices, I published the presentation in the Students Showcase blog and, after some three weeks, I took them to the computer lab again so that they could answer the questions left to them by project partners' students. In order to get them evem more motivated about the project, I asked them to guess how many times they thought their presentation had been viewed so far. Most of them said a number under 100, and only one student was bold enough to guess 120. When I told them that their presentation had been viewed 426 times (on March 24. Today, March 25, it has been viewed 18 more times!), they were astonished and, I believe, began to feel the power of publishing on the internet.

I also hope this whole experience will give them a better sense of authorship and readership, for they are producing English (writing in their blogs and speaking in the presentations) for a real audience that is beyond the classroom walls, something difficult to reach in an EFL context. I also hope to help them see that this is the purpose of learning English, after all: to communcate!

Here are the presentations:
Feel free to leave voice, video or text comments in the shows!

This first presentation
was created by my teenage students using voicethread, and it is about the cities they considered to be the 5 most important cities in Brazil. This presentation was published, among other places, in this Student Showcase blog post.

This second presentation
was created by my adult students using splashcast - actually we recorded using
Audacity and then I edited a video using Windows Movie Maker and finally uploaded it to Splashcast. It is about students' favorite vacation spots in Brazil. This one hasn't been published in the Student Showcase blog yet because I still need to add two more students' recordings.

Add Favorite Vacation Spot to your page

March 11, 2008

New Scribd

I have already written a post about Scribd one year ago, but I have to confess that I never needed to use it since then. But now I learned that they have improved their system tremendously.

Sribd is a web 2.0 tool where you can upload and share virtually any kind of document (doc, ppt, pps, xls, pdf, ps, odt, odp, sxw, sxi, jpg, jpeg, png, gif, txt and rtf). Besides reading the
uploaded documents, visitors can also leave comments, which are notified to you in your scribd account, or via email - you choose.

What I really liked about this new scribd generation is the fact that they provide us with the html codes of any document uploaded to be added to your website, blog, wiki etc. Here are two examples of how scribd documents look when embedded to a blog. I have just uploaded them and notice that the uploading process is extremely fast!

The first one is a Microsoft Word document (.doc) with a song exercise for advanced EFL/ESL students to practice crimes/law vocabulary. The second one is a Microsoft Power Point presentation (.ppt) that I created and used in December of 2007 for a workshop I gave to public school teachers in Recife, Brazil about the uses of IT in the classroom. The slide presentation looks like the ones uploaded to slideshare, so I'll probably write another post soon contrasting these two tools.

Example 1 (word document)

Read this doc on Scribd: Song - I did it

Example 2 (powerpoint presentation)

Read this doc on Scribd: IT Resources for Teachers