Posts tagged vuvox

Biography Project: End of First Week


At this point, we reviewed the biography Wilma Rudolph by Mary Dodson Wade. This title was written for grades K-2 and kept to about 350 words. I reminded the students to look for the five W’s and to note the organization (introduction, 1956 Olympics, 1960 Olympics, and life after the Olympics) and information provided in the introduction to guide them as they wrote their own drafts.

Once they felt they had enough notes to work on the project, as outlined in the assignment sheet, they filled in the same graphic organizer they used for their earlier investigation of biographies. This was so they could find any gaps in their research; several had to go back and research some missing details.

By Thursday most of the students had begun their drafts. The original plan was to wait for the drafts to be done and peer reviewed before talking about digital tools, but they needed a break and exploring tools seemed like the best idea. I reminded them that one of the objectives for this project was to present the biography using a digital tool that needed to be viewed online and allowed for comments. We went through some of the tools they had used previously. Then I briefly discussed Vuvox, Voki, and StoryJumper.  They I had about 45 minutes to explore the tools and come up with any of their own discoveries, which we added to the list.

By the end the day on Friday, all but one student had completed his or her draft, many had chosen his/her digital tool, several had begun gathering images or creating avatars, and one has peer edited with a partner (the partner was from 7th grade, thus only one from my class).

Course 3 Reflection and Lesson Plan



So far Course 3 has had the greatest impact on my teaching. I was finally able to use the image I had chosen for week two’s task of finding an image to include in a lesson. I have been amazed at how interesting the students have found Diego Rivera’s Great City of Tenochtitlan. They have made some really wonderful connections between the market scene in the mural, and those that they have experienced themselves in different parts of the world, from Bali to China to right here in our own city in Indonesia. Their favorite detail has been the severed arm. They were able to discuss so many more aspects of the mural than I thought they would. I find myself wondering (and looking forward to) how I am going to find such interesting images for all of the topics we are going to cover in Social Studies this year.


Each year our middle school students go on a week-long trip that is geared toward exposing them to some sort of cultural or natural aspect of our host country. Last year they went to see orangutans in the north of Sumatra. This year they are heading to the island of Java to take in the heritage site of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple at the time of its construction in the 9th Century. When they return they are required to share their adventure with the community at one of our monthly Community Time meetings.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I found the digital storytelling assignment to be my favorite. So with that in mind, for the final lesson plan, I have the students working on creating a personal narrative using VoiceThread as a way to share their experience of the trip.  I have taken the Language Arts aspect of the assignment, and our Performing Arts teacher has taken the same idea and tweaked it to meet his standards. My own digital story was created using VUVOX, but I chose VoiceThread for the student project because I really like the idea that their friends or family members that live back in the U.S. could leave them an audio comment.

Digital Storytelling


Digital story telling has been one of my favorite projects in our COETAIL course work. It allowed my partner, Andrew, and I to contribute in ways that best suited each of us. I enjoyed working on the storyline and finding applications to share our story, and Andrew liked being able to use his creative talents to work on altering our images in Photoshop.

I thought we could use my mom and her iPad for our storyline. We talked about the different ways we could present the story. Both of us really enjoy graphic novels, so we thought it would be fun to present our story as one. We also wanted to record our story so that we could take turns telling our parts. Andrew searched for an application that would also us to do both. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find one that combined both of those aspects. We then decided that he could use Adobe Photoshop to alter the images to give them a graphic look, and I went searching for an application that would then allow us to combine a slideshow and audio. Two stood out: VUVOX and VoiceThread.

We put our images into both applications to get a feel for how they would look as a final product. I really liked that voice thread allows viewers to contribute audio comments, but we preferred the way VUVOX had a linear flow to the presentation of the images.

Once we had decided on VUVOX, we finished dropping the rest of our images in and then worked on making sure the order followed our storyline. Up to this point we both had our stories in our heads. We looked at the slides to make sure we were clear on which ones belonged to each of our storylines, then we set about writing the story out on sticky notes, each note representing a slide. This helped us work out some of our order.

Next we used Garage Band to record our story. This worked really well because we were able to edit the bits where we had a long pause or change the way we wanted to say something. When we tried to upload our audio to VUVOX, we didn’t have the right type of file. Then I remembered that in Garage Band you have to share the file and send it to iTunes. Once we did that we were able to save the file as an MP3, thus allowing us to drop it into VUVOX.

Now we had all of our parts, and we set about trying to match the timing of the images with the audio we had recorded. This proved to be much more difficult than we had expected. VUVOX allows you to adjust how fast or slow you want your images to scroll by. We spent hours getting it worked out, and then when we would view the presentation, it wouldn’t match up anymore.

Finally we thought we had worked the timing out satisfactorily, but when we had our friends view it to test it out, it was all wonky again.  We forgot that VUVOX is an interactive slide presentation, which means that the viewer can make the images move across the screen just by moving his or her curser across the presentation. With this in mind Andrew went back in and made some final adjustments where we had some unnecessary black space.

We were disappointed that we couldn’t set the slideshow so that images and audio were locked into the timing that we wanted. Having viewed it several more times since, it doesn’t bother me as much. I will keep this in mind for my next creation. I am thinking of one to share with our families documenting our Halloween adventures.

Digital storytelling will be a great way for students to share stories in my classroom. The students could set images to poetry, write biographies or autobiographies, write historical fiction using an image from the Revolutionary War, or tell a personal narrative. I look forward to creating a project for them, since I had so much fun myself.

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