VoiceThread: Ohio-California collaboration

I love VoiceThread. When I first introduced it to my students they immediately fell in love with it. I played the “What is a VoiceThread anyway” for them and they couldn’t wait to try it out. As a way to get used to VoiceThread, I had the students make a voice comment on projects that Sherry Amorocho had done with her students. This worked really well, students got used to using VoiceThread and got more exposure to the students they would be working with in our “Música en Español” project.

The final outcome for our Ohio – California project is a group Voicethread. My students had 2 full class periods to work on this in class and a week to turn it in. I found that in class my students were on task, but not using their time very efficiently. There was a lot of time spent searching through pictures and listening to music, that while related to the project, I believe they were generally unfocused. My students have access to computers in their homes and I think they felt they could spend time in class looking around and they would finish up at home. This wouldn’t be such a problem except only about 1/2 of my students have microphone access at home. I wasn’t very concerned about the microphone access because VoiceThread offers  the option to call and leave a voice comment. Unfortunately, we  discovered on Friday that there is a 3 minute limit to the voice comments you can leave via telephone and the project is due Monday. I am pretty sure that I am going to have to extend the deadline and allow more computer time in class for students who have not yet recorded their voice narrations.  The hard part in class is that I only have access to 12 computers that will record voice and I have 37 students.  Next time I use VoiceThread with my students I will make sure to have more structure in class so that the voice recordings get done on time in class by the students who do not have access at home.

Collaborate… not so fast

Student: what do I write?

Me: hello, introduce yourself

Student: this is awkward

Me: okay, say that

Student: How do you say awkward?

I was surprised at the reluctance of my 5th period class to participate with the students from Ohio. My first period was fired up and very excited. But when I stop and think about it, my first period got to Skype with the students and break the ice. The only interaction my 5th period class is getting is through a forced grouping. I guess the student is correct. It is awkward.