Susan Ettenheim just started using Sproutbuilder this spring and is always happy to work with VoiceThread, an all time favorite application, so we decided to introduce them to each other with you joining us in the conversation. Trudy Marquardt from Sproutbuilder joined us with Justin Ellsworth, a Sprout using educator, and Ben Papell and Steve Muth from VoiceThread.
From VoiceThread: With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. All with no software to install. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too. Users can doodle while commenting, use multiple identities, and pick which comments are shown through moderation. VoiceThreads can even be embedded to show and receive comments on other websites and exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies.
Steve and Ben, aside from sharing with Trudy and Justin and our listeners, introduced the amazing new VoiceThread Library. The Digital Library is a database of articles about successful VoiceThread projects. It creates a resource that offers guidance and inspiration for people undertaking new projects.
Sprout Builder is a web-hosted, visual authoring solution that allows creative professionals to quickly and easily create branded, rich-media content and widgets. So, why are we interested in it for education? Our students want to build, build, build - who wouldn't want to "make a website" and publish it?
Susan's students had been asking to build websites and since becoming a Google Apps school, students had access to Sites. Could they start a Site that could grow to be a digital portfolio over the four years of high school? Could Sites be interesting enough to them to hold their attention? They started a main page and then were frozen. What could they talk about? They were "only" in 9th grade. They needed to gain some confidence and validate the interests and passions that they did already have. Every student found a topic about which they wanted to learn more and built a Sprout to explore the topic. Along the way, they learned about fair use, developing a point of view and a hook into a story, citations and rss feeds. They started to learn about widgets and social media and saw how a giant like Pepsi, http://www.pepsithrowbackhub.com/index.html and a 9th grade student could explore using the same tool.
Thank you Harold Rheingold for your Twitter posts! One of Harold's college students has even corresponded with one of Susan's students about building Sprouts.
Where are the intersection between widgets, commercialism, education and those amazing creations like Voice Thread and Sprout who seem to knit it all together? Please add your thoughts and experiences to our discussion. Keep it real!
Click Read more to see a transcript of a chat that was happening during the webcast.
Lisa and Maria were joined by Maureen Tumenas to talk about how to help teachers make changes in their approach to curriculum. The discussion centered around how can teachers begin to change the way they have always taught their curriculum so it can be more collaborative, interactive and engaging for students. Should teachers be taking "baby steps" towards using technology or should they be expected to "jump in" with both feet? As usual, there were lots of opinions expressed in this Conversation.
National Geographic Photojournalist Karin Muller joined us on April 28, 2009 to share her incredible initiative, Take2 Videos. Karin places herself in conflict areas to provide high-definition footage to students so that they can create documentaries and shorts. This is an opportunity for our students to interact with real people about gritty issues.
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