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VoiceThread meets Ted Talks!

I wish I had heard of this earlier – Voicethread‘s answer to TedTalks. Just in time for the ISTE Conference starting Sunday.

https://voicethread.com/app/player/?threadId=7784579

It’s called ThreadTalk. Which is quite a neat play on TedTalk considering how VoiceThread is all about the Thread, more than the voice. They make the point that the quality of the conversation thread is just as important as the presentation.

In other words, it’s not about the fancy slides, but the content.

As the VoiceThread notes, we tend to stop using our voices and replace it with text communication because the Internet was not quote supportive of voice for a long time. It is now, as we know thanks to services such as Google Voice, Viber and other phone apps. But in education, we need to bring back the spoken word and student voices into the mix.

I’m waiting to see what evolves out of ThreadTalk, post ISTE2016.

 

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‘Doodles’ push up the audio channels on Google

If you’ve been on the Google search page today you couldn’t have missed the tweak to the traditional Google Doodle. This one is for International Women’s Day.

To call it a tweak is to both understate it (and to state the obvious!) These Google Doodles are always a tweak up on what we have expected.

Notice, too, how these Google doodles now have a neat audio quality? On Valentine’s Day it featured mini stories by Ira Glass –the best ‘radio voice’ today in the U.S. Just like Ira’s show This American Life, Google encapsulated vignettes related to romance in (what else?) little colored hearts. You could read about that project here.

The point of all this is that plain old audio appears to be making a comeback. Big time comeback, if you consider how services such as Sound Cloud, and VoiceThread have become popular.  Is it that we have become jaded by video and pictures –with every mobile phone on the planet generating all this flotsam that wears us down? Or, is it that we may be kicking our habit of glazing over stuff, and now yearn for deeper content?

I didn’t mean ‘plain’ when I said plain old audio. Recording devices now capture a lot more quality than before. We can capture a lot more conversations, and almost make our mini audio documentaries with them. Our own little ‘Audio Doodles’.

And we are richer for this!

Now if only some rich uncle (or Google) would underwrite this idea

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Media, Social Media

 

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Digital Learning Day, tomorrow: An opportunity to teach and learn

Tomorrow is Digital Learning Day across America. For me it’s an interesting way to focus on the ever-changing landscape of education and knowledge tools; With schools upping the ante on the sciences, and adopting what’s known here in the U.S. as the Common Core Standards, it’s time we experimented with digital learning.

And if you’ve read this blog you’ll know that by Digital Learning I don’t mean thrusting a small screen in front of students and expecting knowledge to automatically be transferred from hyperlinks to neurons.

There’s a lot more about how I’m approaching #DLDay on my school blog. Here’s are three things I will be trying out this week. I bet they could be easily applied to areas outside education.

VOICETHREAD:
https://voicethread.com/share/5326162/

This is an interesting way of allowing a group to collaborate on a topic, using voice or video. The spoken word could be a powerful way to get a team or a class to focus on the content, not the presentation. When I interviewed the CEO of Voicethread last week, Steve Muth used the phrase “No Bling” to describe why Voicethread is powerful.

PADLET
http://padlet.com/wall/m2iy0fn1fy

For some reason the embed code is not working here. Padlet is essentially a way to create a multimedia story on a blank wall, and share that story in a variety of ways. So you could have a small group curate ideas from multiple sources and quickly assemble them in one place. A bit like a wiki, but with a visual look and feel.I like the fact that it also gives you a QR code for each project.

VOKI
http://www.voki.com/
When I first heard that Voki was about creating avatars, I didn’t want to take it seriously. It reminded me of the avatar fetish we once had when Second Life was all the rage. But on second look, Voki is a neat way to get students to engage in digital storytelling, by getting them interested in creating content. The ‘voice’ of the avatar could be created in many ways: by uploading text, uploading a pre-recorded voice recording, or by recording it live. Once again, your avatar generates an embed code.

How will students take to these new ways of engaging? No predictions. But I could tell you that just this week I tested out voice recordings with first graders, and they were beginning to record mini stories in less than 30 minutes of showing them how to use Audacity.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Communications, Education, Social Media

 

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