Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blabberize/Collaboration--Trials and Successes in Technology

Just today I finished a project with my classes that I had been collaborating with Kelly about. I have been collaborating with Doug and his high school students for most of the year on a collaborative blog and my students have been pretty good at writing short constructed responses to a variety of prompts, but I wanted to experiment with outher kinds of digital products.

After talking with Kelly, I decided on using blabberize as a vehicle for their writing.  This site allows students to upload pictures, animate them, and have them speak by recording their own voices.  We have been studying classification and animal adaptations in 6th grade science and I thought this would be a fairly neat way for students to demonstrate their knowledge by uploading animals and having the animals (in the kids voices) describe traits that help them be successful.

So on day one Kelly came by to help me get going.  I had created a notebook file to guide the students through the entire process of developing their speech and showing them how to create their digital animal.  As I was doing the I DO portion of the lesson, blabberize essentially quite working.   I was extremely frustrated as here I Kelly available to help me out and the technology portion of my lesson was essentially dead on arrival.

Funny thing was this was actually a blessing in disguise in that it allowed me to have the students spend more time on their writing and doing additional research (they already had done some research previously).

So today, I figured out a couple of alternatives and planned on using a voki if the site didn't work out, but voila everything functioned as it should have.  It was still chaotic helping students get the recording volumes of their microphones set and helping them animate the mouths, but in the end this whole project was fairly impressive and I am excited to try it again next year.

When I do, I think I will collaborate with a language teacher to do a better job on the writing and plan on formalizing the whole process, but for essentially a beta test it worked well.

Here are two exemplars from the day....

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