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K12 Online Conference 2010: Free professional development!

What it is: K12 Online Conference is a completely FREE online conference for educators around the world.  The conference focuses on innovative ways that web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning.  The conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone.  This year the theme of the conference is “Cultivating the Future”.  Yesterday was the kick off to the conference with a pre-conference keynote by Dean Shareski.  In the next two weeks (October 18 and October 25), 40 presentations will be posted online for participants to view, download and discuss.  Live events happen in the form of “Fireside Chats”, there are three live events this year.  The first Fireside Chat is scheduled for October 15 and will be hosted by Dean Shareski.  I have attended the k12 Online Conference every year since it started (2006) and each year I am inspired, and fueled with new ideas.  I am excited to see so many student voices and presenters this year, there is just nothing like hearing about education from the student perspective!  I am also excited to see so many familiar names from my PLN…there just isn’t anyone I would rather learn from! How to integrate K12 Online Conference 2010 into your classroom: Check out the 2010 Schedule now and choose some sessions that you are most interested in.  Commit to viewing 2 or 3 (or if you are OCD like me, all of them!).  Take charge of your professional development and be inspired by fellow educators and students.  Make it fun and invite a friend to view some sessions with you.  Play sessions in the teacher’s lounge during lunch, take over a classroom with a projector and provide snacks, or invite a colleague over for PD and cocktails (for the record, that is the option I would choose!). Don’t keep all of this great learning to yourself!    In the past, I have found the student presentations to be inspiring not only for me, but also for my students.  Last year there was a presentation about applications called Wizard of Apps or Will they have an app for that or What we are loading (and learning) along the road presented by Joyce Kasman Valenza and students.  The presentation was a fun Wizard of Oz type play about different web 2.0 applications that they were using and learning with.  My students loved the idea of students putting together a play and teaching teachers.  If you are an administrator, be sure to let your staff know about this truly amazing professional development opportunity.  The line up of presenters is fantastic!  Then, encourage your staff to start building up a PLN (personal learning network) on Twitter.  They can start with the k12 Online presenters! Tips: You can view the archives of past k12 Online Conferences for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Please leave a comment and share how you are using k12 online conference 2010 in your classroom!

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Ed.VoiceThread

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-08-2008

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What it is: I have posted about Voice Thread in the past, but Voice Thread has added a new education community that has some pretty incredible features. Ed.VoiceThread is a secure collaborative network designed specifically for the k-12 school environment. Teachers and students can collaborate around almost any type of media including voice, text, webcam, and drawing commentary in a secure environment. Access is restricted to k-12 educators, students, and administrators to ensure safe classroom collaboration. Ed.VoiceThread is an accountable environment, which means that all users are responsible for their content and behavior. Some added features that you will find on Ed.VoiceThread are, students have individual accounts that are easily viewable to educators, students can create, edit, and manage their own portfolio, students cannot add contacts or send invitations to any users outside of the Ed.Voice Thread community, and they cannot view any content that is not created by an Ed.Voice Thread member. Teachers can quickly view and access all students’ Voice Threads. Voice Threads can be made private or public depending on the assignment and requirements. Ed.VoiceThread comes in two packages one free and the other, called Pro, for $60/year. Free users can only create 3 VoiceThreads, have 75 MB of storage, no uploading of MP3 comments, 30 min of webcam commenting, advertising will be present, single file size limit of 25 MB, and no downloads of the media. In the Pro version, students can create an unlimited number of Voice Threads, get 10GB of storage, can upload MP3 comments, have unlimited webcam commenting, 30 archival movie exports, no advertising, single file size limit of 100MB and allows downloads of media.

How to integrate Ed.VoiceThread into the classroom: Ed.VoiceThread is the ideal place for students and teachers to collaborate and interact with digital media. The added functionality for schools with Ed.VoiceThread is very useful. Students can use Ed.VoiceThread to create digital stories, documentaries, practice and document language skills, explore geography and culture, solve math problems, and much more. As a teacher, I like VoiceThread as a place to teach. Because everything is web-based, you can upload a days lessons to Ed.VoiceThread for students to refer to and collaborate with while doing homework. I well remember the days when I would sit in math class learning the days equations. Everything made perfect sense to me while I was sitting in the classroom watching problems being worked. But at home, with no guide homework seemed impossible. Ed.VoiceThread makes you your students personal tutor. The self paced learning is amazing! I love giving students tools that allow them to be in charge of their own learning. Is there any better lesson in life than knowing how to learn?

Tips: Try out the free Ed.VoiceThread account and see how it could work for your classroom. If you are like me, it becomes addicting and 3 VoiceThreads won’t be enough!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Ed.VoiceThread in your classroom.

Comments (2)

I have some questions about using Ed.VoiceThread that I’m hoping someone can answer before I begin using this in the fall:

1) With comment moderation, teachers can moderate comments made by students about the teacher’s voice threads, but can they also moderate/hide comments made between students voice threads?

2) Can students email links to their voice threads to me even if they didn’t register an email address at VoiceThreads? I know that with Ed. VoiceThread they don’t need email addresses to participate.

3) Can you keep the sharing/commenting of voice threads closed to just a class, or does it have to be open to all Ed.VoiceThread users?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

I am planning on using VoiceThread a bunch this coming year (just as soon as I confirm that it isn’t blocked by our filter) and this is how I’m planning on doing it. I’ve already done a trial run with a few lessons in this format and I think it will work.

I am posting lessons in VoiceThread format. They consist of some short videos imported and converted from YouTube, the handouts/worksheets that they have to complete that are imported from Word files (made by me) or from websites that are imported as pdf files.

The students will find all necessary instruction on the first pages of the VoiceThread.

Then they will find one handout that tells them what information they need to leave in a comment. They may also encounter a worksheet with related questions or math problems that have to be turned in. Paper versions of those sheets will also be available. But, all of the handouts and reference materials will be available in the voice thread and they will be read out loud by me. For most units, students will be asked to create their own VoiceThread that explains the concept.

I teach a special education class where many students are reading significantly below grade level and a major problem is literacy. They can’t read directions or explanations on handouts or websites. VoiceThread not only offers them a new way to communicate their ideas, but it allows them to communicate in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve reading or writing.

[...] Ed. Voice Thread [...]

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