Adding to the Web 2.0 tools exploration we have begun in the Lower School Technology for Learning computer lab, Mrs. Hunt's 4th graders logged into Voicethread today, to a "voicethread" created from pics taken by Mrs. Hunt during December's Ellis Island Immigration simulation day. The day was undoubtedly memorable for the students, but I wanted to spread the experience to the world by utilizing this wonderful Web 2.0 tool. I had set up the thread several weeks ago, but Winter Break intervened and there were other things on our plate, so on Tuesday of this week, we ventured forth.
The best part of the experience today for me was the enthusiasm for communication the students showed. They were obviously proud and excited to share, and they also took to heart my caveats about appropriateness and kindness in their text posts.
Some discovered the doodling feature of the site, circling people in the picture they were commenting about, or drawing arrows to indicate the object of their post. These youngsters are truly learning to help one another, and questions and answers flew about the room: "How do I...?" "How did you...? "Can you....?"
Voicethread has now offered upgraded accounts to educators for free, with a one-time 10 dollar verification fee. I did that today, and now my "status" is verified as "Educator." NEAT!
Worried about internet safety? So am I. Take a look at this article at eSchool News, a valued resource for learning about current developments in educational technoloogy. The article is entitled, CoSN to school leaders: 'Think before you ban' When it comes to Web 2.0 technologies, educators should find a balance that allows for creativity, collaboration, and safety
It's all about the balance, I firmly believe, and I believe that helping our children learn how to balance their interests and their lives with the growing availability of online interests and tools will be a key component of tech education for a long while to come. Stay tuned whilst we begin!
Here's the voicethread. Do check back because it will continue to grow as we add voice over the weeks to come!