Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Authentic Audience

We have first hand experience with the many faces of authentic audience. Fourth grade research projects have brought about audiences in our classroom, down the hallway, up the highways, and across the oceans. Student classwork is seen by many more eyes than just their teacher (with a red pen). Their research,writing and voices are being shared with partners, other classes, on the web, and through video conferences.
Let me explain. Students are researching and using web 2.0 tools (which are different from web 1.0 by creating for the web with more collaboration and interactivity).

If you have used a webcam then you know what it is like to have a video conference. We have had varying degrees of success with live conferencing. This week one of my 4th grade groups had a video conference with a partner class in New York (with Karen Kliegman, Noel Forte, and Adam Dugger)while using Skype. Although we have had “video guest speakers” this was our first time with two classes together. After a few technical snags, we got the hang of it and had fun with Q and A's.

Today we experimented with a newer video conference service between two classrooms in our own building. This service was suggested by Karen Kleigman (Trail of the First People Project). ooVoo looks very modern and we can see both cameras on our screen while we talk together. Fourth grade students were searching for pictures to use from to go with their Native American project. Video conference participants traded tips and information about their research. They gave good tips on pictures that they found for the regions they were studying. Research groups from different classrooms teamed with each other. From their conversations I can say that our students were great examples for authentic audience and collaboration.

For the next phase, student groups will choose how they want to combine their previous research and the pictures for the Native American project. Choices are PowerPoint, Photostory3, or learn how to create projects in Voicethread. All of these can be put into wiki pages that some of the students are sharing with our partners in Australia and in New York. I am looking forward to the products of our journey with Web 2.o tools.

GHESchool Tour Video

Digital storytelling comes in many forms. In our technology lab we focus on how technology helps us learn and digital stories fit the bill. Technology students have been roaming the hallways with a digital camera and inquiring minds. Students took photos inside and out, and then narrated each one. If their picture was a person, they asked about their job. We discussed choices that did not include a person, such as the purpose of the teacher's workroom. We found people and places that we had never seen before -our school is huge!

Back in the technology lab, students practiced their lines with expression and enthusiasm. The challenge was to construct sentences that began with words other than, "Here is...." or "This is..." We combined narrations with the photos and chose music to fit the mood. Some students even directed the video transitions, effects and text. These steps can take 2-4 class periods depending on the teacher's purpose and preferences of integration.

Each class now has a video of different sections of the school. By combining parts of each video, we also have a video overview of our school.

This project included second and third graders. I have found that older elementary students enjoy the video creating process and are quite creative on their own when given ample time. We have more video projects in the works. One of our next projects will include posting videos on and translating subtitles. Students are creating vodcasts on several topics, so stay tuned for more (or subscribe to this feed).