Monday, November 26, 2012

Uses of VoiceThread in the MFL

VoiceThread is a handy web2.0 tool that can be used in various ways in the language classroom.  After viewing a powerpoint presentation on web2.0 tools, I realized that I have only used VoiceThread one time this semester with my Spanish 4 students.  Since today is still part of my Thanksgiving vacation, I had time to be creative and find a new way to use VoiceThread.

I started four stories with different themes I'll play the VoiceThread in class for the students to listen to the beginning of the 4 storiesAs a class, we'll brainstorm some possible endings to the stories.  The following day, I'll take them to the computer lab and they'll have the opportunity to choose one of the four stories and create their own ending to the story, preferable with a verbal comment instead of a written comment.  

I know this isn't classified as a pure CI activity because it requires output from the students.  However, at the Spanish 4 level, I like to provide them with different ways in which they can demonstrate their verbal skills in the TL.  Also, when we listen to the recordings in the classroom together for the first time, I will use CI methods, as needed, to assure that the students understand each of the situations.  The group response and brainstorming possibilities provides even more CI as I review and provide support when needed.

Other ways I and others have used VoiceThread in the classroom:

1. Mini-lecture.  I created a VoiceThread on customs that pertain to superstitions and rituals surrounding the death of a person, which included uploaded images and my recorded voice to expalin them.  I had a student that was not in school for several weeks due to health reasons.  Recording on VoiceThread allowed me to provide the notes in a comprehensible way as the student listened to Spanish instead of simply giving a handout with written notes.  

2. A TPRS Story.  In the VoiceThread site I searched the keyword "Spanish" and I found this TPRS story told by the teacher.  

A variation on this is to put sketches on the VoiceThread and the students need to tell the story, (with X number of comments from each student).  HERE is an example of this in an elementary school.  I did something similar to this using the story Clic Clac Moo in Spanish that I found on the internet.

3.  Connect with Students around the World. Last year my students were involved in 3 different VoiceThreads with students from Taiwan, Mexico, Spain.  Two of the VoiceThreads were ones that I made for the students to share with others about their schools, communities, hobbies, etc.  The third one was created by an Spanish teacher in Taiwan in which students used the video feature to show a gesture and then explain its meaning in Spanish.

4.  Conditional Tense.  I uploaded pictures of odd happenings and asked the students, ¿Qué harías tú en esta situación? and they commented on X number of photos using the conditional tense.  (It's a little centered on the grammar side, but the odd pictures provided motivation for the students to share what they would do in that situation.)

5.  Student Projects. (such as a photos and audio to explain how to make a recipe common to a particular country) I have reduced the number of projects that I do in my language classes because, after looking at them carefully, I felt few of them were accurate assesments of the students' skills.  However, if you needed the students to create a project that included pictures, written and/or verbal comments, and an opportunity to allow others to collaborate with them on project, whether the others are members of the classroom or are students in another part of the country or world, VoiceThread would fit the requirements and is easy to use.   

Are there other ways of using VoiceThread in the classroom that I have overlooked?  

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