Thursday, March 6, 2014

New (to me) Technology

This year I am trying a modified version of Genius Hour with my four 4th Grade classes.  Each class has 23 or 24 students and I see them once a week for 45 minutes pending any schedule changes, meetings, or workshops.  Genius Hour is when you give your students time to become a "genius" about anything they are interested in and allow them to share their new knowledge with their classmates.  While I plan to post more about my modified version in the future, if you want to know more about Genius Hour, check out, My students will be required to present using some sort of technology.  I want to be able to give them as many options as possible so I've learned a lot while researching options for them.

1. Brainybox-
This tool is a cube creator. The user can take any content, text, images, a slideshow, or video, and add it to one side of the cube.  The user and viewer and choose to view any side of the at any time. It is easily edited and is shared simply through a link.  This would be great for book reports, social studies reports, science reports, in fact any presentation.  Students could grab videos from YouTube or TeacherTube or create them on their own.

The problems I see with a student using BrainyBox are that is will need to be created in a single sitting.  It does not look it can be saved and then continued in the future.  If students choose BrainyBox as tool for presenting they should plan out all six of their sides in a word processor first and then create their cube.

2. Tellagami- 

Tellagami lets your create short animated videos called Gamis.  The app is free and tons of fun.

First you start by creating your own avatar. Students will enjoy creating themselves. Then you choose a background from their choices or your own camera roll.  After you can have your character speak by recording your own voice of using their text to speech option.   The text to speech has a variety of accents for both male and female voices.

The students can use this to pre-record presentations on any topic.  It would be great for biographies, book reports, poems, famous speeches, and science concepts.   If your students are adventurous they can set it up to have a conversation with someone while they are presenting.

Animating instead of getting in front of a video camera will be a great opportunity for some students.  Being in front of your peers is hard but if your an animated avatar you are freed from many of your nerves.

As a teacher this is great as an introduction to a topic or way for students to listen to something you already taught again.  Using QR Codes or Augmented Reality, this can be used to give directions to different stations around the room.  The possibilities go on and on.

(Since the Gami's are short, my students will also use iMovie to piece them together. You can too.)

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