Category Archives: Tech Tools

Tech Tool: Voicethread

Tool: http://www.voicethread.com/

Cost: FREE (for up to 5 files), see levels of subscription at http://voicethread.com/products/k12/

What is it?
With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. All with no software to install.

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.  (taken from voicethread site)

How I am using it:
To be honest, I’ve only used Voicethread for my classroom curriculum one time.  I used it as a station to help show how the artist Henri Rousseau shows space in his work.  I only took advantage of uploading images, recording sound and drawing on the images.  There is so much more you could do with this!

Click the link to see the voicethread:
http://voicethread.com/share/999930/

Teacher Tips:
Use a voicethread to bring together a vareity of media files on one topic.  I find it works well for the visual side of things- reading diagrams, critiquing artworks, etc.

Create a voicethread to introduce, reinforce or close a topic in class.  If used to introduce a topic, students could post questions.

Have individual students or small groups access voicethreads to get instruction directly from you (recorded into the voicethread) while you work with other students.

Give students access to a voicethread (simply use the web address) and they can leave comments (audio or written) of their own.  Great way to document participation or understanding.

Have students (if they have email addresses and create accounts) create a voicethread on a certain topic to share with the class.

Have students create a voicethread to share their work.  Have other students log in and use the comment feature to give peer feedback.

Parent Tips:
Have students make voicethreads about what they are learning in school.  Share with the teacher!

Families could create voicethreads to send to family and friends far away.  It could include pictures and narration of things happening in your life!

Tech Tool: Symbaloo

Tool: Symbaloo.com
Cost: FREE!

What is it?
Symbaloo is a cool site that allows you to save and share collections of links in a visually interesting way.

How I am using it:
I created a Symbaloo for the art center sites that my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students are allowed to use during center time.  I thought it would be better than the list of sites I used to have them access.  The images help them remember what the sites are!

Click the link to see the Symbaloo we use for centers:
http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/artlinksforkids

Teacher Tips:
Create a symbaloo webmix of kid-friendly links on any topic (or find one that is already made)!

Create a symbaloo webmix of teaching sites you use frequently.

Create a symbaloo webmix of homework helper sites for your students to access from home.

If you teach olders students, have them create webmixes (Symbaloo collections) on topics they are researching or learning about.

Parent Tips:
Look for webmixes that may help your child with his/her school work.

Create a webmix of favorite home sites.

Encourage home use of webmixes made for and used at school.

Tech Tool: Google Maps

Tool: Google Maps
Cost: FREE!

What is it?
A place where you can view and create maps for whatever your heart desires!

How I am using it:
I totally got this idea from another teacher, so I take no credit!  I’ve created RPE’s Google Map of art and linked it to my blog home page.  You can view it here.   Parents, teachers, and students can send me information about artwork, art museums, architecture and other artistic sites that they visit.  I add it to our map and others are able to take a virtual visit to those locations!

Teacher Tips:
Plug your new Google map in your school newsletter, website, classroom newsletters, etc.

Take some time to show your students the map, don’t just tell them about it.

Include pictures to make your map more interesting.

Parent Tips:

 


Cool Tech Tool: Artsonia

Tool: Artsonia.com
Cost: FREE!

What is it?
Artsonia is an online art gallery for teachers all over the world.  Student work can be uploaded and viewed around the world.  Guests can join fan clubs, leave comment, and even order product with the artwork printed on it (with parts of proceeds going to the artist’s school).  A feature I really like is that the site tracks the artist from one grade to another and keeps a running portfolio.  Artsonia also has new features that make communicating with parents about published work and account status very easy!

How I am using it:
It is my hope, with lots of help, to get most of my students’ work up on Artsonia this year.  Once a blog post goes up about a project, the work has already been uploaded onto Artsonia.   Check out our school’s page here: http://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=2193

Teacher Tips:
Get parent help!  I once tried to do the uploading myself and it can get overwhelming with 14 classes of work!  I send home a letter recruiting parent volunteers at the beginning of the year.  Usually it works out that I can get a parent per classroom.  I meet with them once to go over the steps and have an area set up with necessary equipment and instructions.  (My “kit” includes digital camera, cord, batteries, USB flash drive, notebook paper, class lists and baskets for work.)

Have students write full names on artwork.

Publicize your school’s involvement.  Kids LOVED seeing this site in action and are very anxious to see their work start appearing.

Parent Tips:
Find your students artwork (using the above link), then activate your child’s account.  This is the only way guests can leave comments and join your child’s fan club.  A security key will be sent home with your child when their first work is published.  If you have missed this note, email me and I’ll send it your way.

Encourage your family and friends around the country (or world) to check out your child’s work online!

Make gift-giving extra personal by purchasing products that showcase your child’s artwork!  (If you have something that your child has created at home that you would like me to upload, send in a high quality digital picture or the work itself and I’ll upload it for you.)

Save the RPE Artsonia page as a favorite and visit it often.  Encourage your child to view works, leave comments, and join fan clubs of other students at RPE!