The final project for my Coetail Course 5 was to be a Voicethread of my students explaining an addition strategy. Last year I had my students collaborate to create a poster that was uploaded to Voicethread and then wanted each student to share something from the poster.
The posters got uploaded but the voices never got recorded as this was one of the projects that happened after I left in May. Earlier we had done a similar project with multiplication.
That one the students were able to record their voices. When we did this project I was very pleased to be able to send students out in the hallway in their groups and they were able to help one another record and save their voices.
At our first meeting for Course 5 I was unsure what I wanted to do. In talking with Kim Cofino, she recommended that I have the students use manipulatives rather than a poster to show their thinking of the math strategy. That sounded like a good way to show understanding and use technology. I have run into a few snags.
Last week I had the students choose which type of manipulative they would use to explain an addition problem. I paired them up and had them practice how to do a few problems. Also last week Grace Yamato came in and worked with the students on learning to take photos. Our class blog posting about Technology Time is here. So this week I started having students work with their partners to take photos. After looking at some of the photos I thought it might be easier to let them video tape the explanation. I have run into a problem. I can’t seem to upload the video to Voicethread. I read the explanation and have no idea what I’m doing wrong. I know that I can’t use Chrome to comment on Voicethread. I need to use Safari or Firefox but does the server make a difference for uploading a video? I don’t know anyone else at my school who has used Voicethread as much as I have so I’m not sure where to go for help. I would like to solve this, as I have been encouraging the K and 1 teachers to use Voicethread and they were planning on some videos too. Does it work best to use the webcam built into the computer to record? Would an iPad work better?
Today at our PLC(Professional Learning Community) I was talking with the first grade teacher. She wants to record her students sharing a just right book. As we talked she asked how was the technology changing or improving what she had done in the past when the students shared the book in front of the class. It was so good to have her ask how the technology would transform the learning. Not just think that it would be fun for the students or she could check off that she was using technology. She plans on having the students share books at least three times this year so if they are able to go back and see what they did earlier in the year and hopefully see an improvement in their presentation as well as comment on other students’ books it is improving the learning. Several years ago I used Voicethread with our summer reading program. I had hoped at the time that many of the students would share about their books on the thread that I had made for their grade level. Some of the students did, but a few students and parents created their own threads. One boy created 15 different threads. As an EAL student the improvement he made from the first to the last was very noticeable. The kindergarten class has just started a study of Mem Fox. I suggested to the K teacher that we make a Voicethread of the students sharing their favorite Mem Fox story. I’m excited to be working with the K and 1 teachers on these projects so that as those students come to 2nd grade they will already have an understanding of Voicethread.
There seem to be so many aspects of technology that need to be taught at the beginning of the year to be able to do all the projects that I would like the students to be working on. I know they will get there, but sometimes I wish they were already there with their knowledge of technology so we could spend more time on the content.