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In Part 3 of the Web Tools Collective, I suggested some tools and resources for helping you and your students collect and organize information. But, what do you do with it? In this post, I will present tools and resources that will help students synthesize information and create new things.
When I first started teaching 15 years ago, a teacher was considered tech savvy if he or she was using presentation software instead of a chalkboard. You were on the cutting-edge if you were having your students create digital presentations instead of using chart paper. Of course, anyone who tried this quickly learned that these presentations could be abused!
I guess it is a bit of an understatement to say that things have changed. For example, a couple of years ago, Eric Marcos and his middle school students began creating video tutorials to help other kids learn mathematics concepts.
In another example, Lee Kolbert, an elementary teacher in Florida decided to use the "Common Craft" style of video to create a student project. She challenged her students to make "in Plain English" style videos related to the earth science concepts. Students were able to apply their knowledge to create excellent videos. Watch them here, and here.
Two elementary teachers in Ottawa combine a class blog with podcasting to have students make meaning of current events. Their blog is called PortableRadio.Ca These podcasts are frequently broadcast on local radio stations. Check out this podcast on the Future Voter's Pledge.
There are many web tools that can be used to help students showcase their thinking. You might want to start with reading a little about digital storytelling
You can upload a presentation into VoiceThread, but first you need to save slides as images. You can do this in PowerPoint by selecting "Save As" and then selecting .jpg as the file type. Newer versions of PowerPoint also have "Save as Pictures" under the file menu. Once you do this, you can easily upload them into your VoiceThread.
Please see Edutopia's New Teacher Boot Camp Week 2 - Using VoiceThread for a guided exercise in creating a VoiceThread.