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Stories of Learning: Antarctica Inquiry Unit and the Power of Twitter

In addition to iLearn Technology, I keep two other blogs (about to add another): Dreams of Education and Stories of Learning.  Stories of Learning isn’t really my blog, it’s your blog.  It is a place to share what is working in education.  I don’t plan to post my original work often. It is a place to collect and gather guest posts and re-posts of what you are doing every day in the classroom that transforms learning.  The most recent post is a must see, it is from edublogger alliance member Henrietta Miller and is a re-post of a post that she wrote for her excellent blog, Classroom Chronicles.  This story of learning is about an inquiry unit that Henrietta did with her students about Antarctica, as you will read, the learning stretches far beyond your typical unit on Antarctica thanks to the Power of Twitter. If you have a story of learning you would like to share as a guest post or as a re-post, let me know about it via my contact form here.

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Fotobabble

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 23-03-2010

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What it is: Fotobabble seems to be everywhere I am lately, and now that I have had a minute to play with it, I can see why.  Just upload a photo, record your voice, and send or embed away.  It is very simple to use and has really fun results!  The only downside for use in education are: 1. on the home page of Fotobabble you can see other members creations, at the time of writing they are all clean but I would hate to send my kids here without knowing exactly what content they would run into; 2. To use Fotobabble as a student, you must first sign up. This requires an email address :( Which means that under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, that children under the age of 13 cannot sign up for an account on the site for their own creations.  I would love to see Fotobabble create an education version that can be used by students under 13 if monitored and signed up by an adult, and without the other user generated content on the home page.  That being said, Fotobabble is a fantastic tool for the classroom.

How to integrate Fotobabble into the classroom: Fotobabble can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom.  For students over 13, it is a great creation tool.  Students could take pictures, or find creative commons images that illustrate vocabulary that they are learning and record themselves saying the definition and using the word in a sentence.  Students could collect and trade Fotobabble vocabulary with other students in the class and embed them in a blog or wiki to create their own visual talking dictionary.  If you teach students younger than 13, have teachers or parent helpers build audio visual dictionaries that can be added to throughout the year.  How neat would it be to have a talking, visual word wall?!  This would be helpful for math, science, social studies, history, and regular vocabulary words that students learn.  The format will be so valuable to your audio and visual learners.  Did you take pictures of that field trip? Upload them to Fotobabble and students can record thoughts, observations, and lessons they learned on the field trip.  Consider creating a class Fotobabble account that you (the teacher) are in charge of.  Upload student illustrations and record a story that they have written using their own voice.  This is the perfect type of project to share at parent teacher conference time.  Parents can get a good idea of their child’s writing, reading, and fine motor skills all in one spot.  If you complete a similar project several times through the year, both students and parents can see the growth and progress that has been made during the school year.  Fotobabbles are an outstanding way to send your young students on an Internet scavenger hunt.  Along the way, record directions with Fotobabble and embed on your class website, wiki, or blog.  Non-readers will be able to listen to, and follow directions for any assignment.   Upload a picture of a landmark or map and have students record fun facts that they have learned about the place.  Send special messages from your class home to parents in the weekly newsletter.  Take a picture of a project that the class has done, or of a fun activity from the week.  Students can record a message about upcoming events, fun highlights of the week in learning, and a list of helpers who have signed up for the week.  Parents will love hearing their kids give the news updates for the week!  Are you wracking your brain for a fun Mother’s/Father’s day activity?  Why not record the kids leaving a special message to their parent with a special picture made just for them? Now that is a keepsake!

Tips: Because younger students can’t sign up for their own Fotobabble account, consider creating a class account that you can be in control of.  For younger students, having a Fotobabble recording center set up on one of the classroom computers might be appropriate.  Since you will control the account, you will be in charge of what content is added by students.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Fotobabble in your classroom.

Comments (10)

Hi Kelly,

My Grade 2s are working on a collaboration blog with a class in California. The blog is called Collaboration Corner http://collaboration-corner.blogspot.com/

Our first project we’re collaborating on is a lunch box project where we share what we have for lunch. We’ve been using Fotobabble a lot for the students to narrate a picture of what they have for lunch. It’s a great simple tool for younger students.

Thanks for another excellent review of a useful tool,

Kathleen McGeady
Australia

Your points are very valid. My students don’t have email addresses either. I will check and see if Fotobabble is blocked at school. Many times it takes a certain number of hits before it gets blocked. Thanks for sharing this.

I think it’s very easy to underemphasize the importance of speaking/listening in the face of the crucial importance of reading and writing to our students. Tools like Fotobabble and Blabberize provide such a fun way to redress the balance.

Thank you for the great post. We are very excited about the prospect of Fotobabble being used in education. We hope to have the opportunity to work closely with the educational community to address some of their specific needs and perhaps develop solutions specifically for teachers and students.

We do work hard to moderate the content on our site and keep out inappropriate content, but your concerns are heard loud and clear.

Please email all thoughts, ideas, suggestions to support@fotobabble.com so we can incorporate them into our planning.

Sincerely,

Kamal Shah
CEO, Fotobabble

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Sandra McCarron, Greg Bird (Birdy), michael chalk and others. michael chalk said: RT @ktenkely: Fotobabble: great uses in classroom, audio/visual wordwall, exciting newsletters, digital storytelling http://bit.ly/9jN97T [...]

We look forward to hearing about education friendly updates!

I agree, we are often overlooking the importance of both speaking and listening in schools. Both are so important to growth and development!

What a neat project, thank you for sharing it Kathleen! It is fun to see what others are doing with these great tools.

I’ve played with this a couple of times, but have not used it in class yet. This post gave me some ideas for class. Maybe something with The Catcher in the Rye. Hmmmmmm. Thanks!

Using with Catcher in the Rye is a great idea, I look forward to seeing that!

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