Virtual Reality:The Cardboard Revolution

About Virtual Reality Virtual reality allows students to take classroom field trips to places that they may never have the opportunity to visit (perhaps due to economic means- this will be different depending on the demographics of the school) and also into fictional realms. In ELA, students can enter the worlds inhabited by characters of the great works of literature or experience the day in the life of a professional working in an industry that they are interested in learning more about. It can serve as an alternative method of conducting research besides search engines or unreturned emails to managers or secretaries. In Affordances of Mobile Virtual Reality and their Role in Learning and Teaching, Shailey Minocha also describes how this technology can support those who are unable to attend schools as a result of illness, imprisonment, and other factors (p. 9). Minocha also reports that an additional pro for those who are in classrooms surrounded by other students is that VR will allow users to become oblivious to their surroundings (their distracting neighbor) and focus on their exploration (p. 5).

Analysis of Google Cardboard In order to discern just how easily one can become oblivious to their surroundings, I evaluated VR using Google Cardboard. I was either about to be wow’ed or disappointed that I just spent $15 for some cardboard (although actually, it is apparently inexpensive to encourage interest in VR). One thing that I did not initially know is that it is best to stand up when using Google Cardboard (but don’t walk!). I initially explored the pre-loaded tutorials/demonstrations before even realizing that I would need to download the Google Expeditions app to greatly expand my journey options. However, the pre-loaded tutorials are a great way to get a feel for the program.

Some notes on the pre-loaded demos: This adventure is called “arctic journey.” Users can choose to fly, play, learn, create, and/or relax. The “fly” option allows you to feel like you are a bird flying over a cliff. “Play” is a game where you get to go fishing in water surrounded by icebergs. Unfortunately, I was not very successful at fishing! “Learn” gives users the names of animals/plants such as- the arctic fox, the arctic tern, the Atlantic mackerel, reindeer lichen, and arctic poppy.

Screenshot of Arctic fox in “play” option. There was one point when I felt that it was going to charge at me!

The “create” option allows users to plant flowers on a landscape and the “relax” option is an awesome view of the stars/galaxy (along with a return from the Arctic fox).

“Relax” option

Outside of the “arctic journey,” there is an option to watch any videos that you have recorded on or downloaded to your device on Cardboard. It feels like watching your homemade videos in a movie theater on the big screen!

A hiking video from my personal collection…now on the big screen…water sounds and all!

When I discovered Expeditions, I search for “Atlanta” (for local purposes) and “Shakespeare” (because he is an ELA staple) and discovered that there is a tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and an opportunity to watch the Royal Conservatoire rehearse “Macbeth,” respectively. Unfortunately, these tours are currently waiting in my queue because I frequently had difficulty establishing an internet connection with Expedition. It seems to only support Wi-Fi, which I do not have access to at all times. In my time of Wi-Fi availability, I was able to download a tour of the American Museum of Natural History, where I was able to learn about the American Bison (among other animals). I have been to this museum before and this seems like an interesting way to maybe learn what a museum is all about when planning a trip to a place like Washington DC. However, it can’t beat the real thing! I was not able to see as many parts of the museum as I had hoped and found the tour to be rather constraining with being able to select pathways around the museum.

Affordances
  • Allows students to virtually experience places that they may not ever get the chance to visit. This includes historical events and settings of the past.
  • Has a “colleges” category. Students would be able to investigate what some college campuses physically look like as they consider their applications. I could not find KSU.
  • Permits students to explore what a day in the life would look/feel like in a range of various careers.
  • “Locks up” phone in the box, preventing students from using them for non-educational purposes during the VR lessons.
Constraints
  • Because we become so glued to our phones, there was one point when I was using Cardboard that I was wanting to check something on my phone and for the life of me could not find it. Then it dawned on me where it was hiding.
  • Really have to make sure that the lenses and your phone screen are both clean….otherwise, it will hurt your eyes!
  • Uses up a lot of the cell phone’s battery.
  • Only seems to work with Wi-Fi and not the phone’s internet.
My Suggestions
  • Connectivity issues are likely (especially if Wi-Fi is poor at your school). Make sure to test technology ahead of classes and to have a backup plan for if some students cannot connect.
  • Find ways to utilize the available games as many students love competition and interactivity.
  • Would be great to use as an entry point for descriptive writing compositions. Students could explain what they see on their tours and how they believe they would feel if they were actually in that place.

Cautions

  • Protect your eyes! Be careful with prolonged usage or dirty lenses to prevent eye strain.
Questions for Teachers
  • What types of assignments have you used Google Cardboard for in your classroom? Was it effective? What did you do when some students experienced technological difficulties?
  • Is there a tool/platform that you feel is superior to Google Cardboard that your students have used?
  • How frequently would you recommend employing VR activities/strategies in the classroom?

References

Minocha, Shailey; Tudor, Ana-Despina and Tilling, Steve (2017). Affordances of Mobile Virtual Reality and their Role in Learning and Teaching. In: The 31st British Human Computer Interaction Conference, 3-6 Jul 2017, University of Sunderland’s St. Peter’s Campus, UK.

Parallel Pedagogy: Make New Friends…But Keep The Old…

About Parallel Pedagogy …One is silver and the other’s gold. In Digital Literacies: Social Learning and Classroom Practices, Kevin Leander defines parallel pedagogy as “a way of describing how old and new literary practices, including print texts and visual texts, may be fruitfully taught side by side, rather than the ‘old’ being a precursor to the new or being replaced by it” (2009).

I decided to explore how to potentially use such parallel composing in the classroom for vocabulary instruction. Unfortunately, a lot of vocabulary instruction (presently and for many years) looks something like this book below…

Definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and complete the sentence…You would think that Vocabulary Workshop must be effective as many schools have been depending on this little orange book for decades. Well….WRONG! (probably, mostly…) Students memorize the words to get the grade they want on a quiz/test and then “dump” the knowledge! In other words, there is not continued application. So how can learning transfer more effectively occur in classrooms?

Wiggins and McTighe (2011) discuss that learning transfer is more likely when students are given multiple opportunities to apply their learning in meaningful (authentic) contexts or new situations (p. 4).  Using digital platforms is extremely authentic for Gen-Z. Furthermore, when the learner is able to understand underlying concepts and principles, transfer is much more likely to occur.  Wiggins and McTighe offer the flip side by examining that poor conditions for learning transfer include when knowledge is learned at the level of rote memory (p. 5) (i.e. memorizing words from an orange book) .  An example of proper transfer conditions would be using these new vocabulary words in multiple contexts and to continuously employ them throughout not only the semester, but also across grade levels.  Otherwise, students “dump” words that they have memorized as soon as the corresponding quiz has passed.  Wiggins & McTighe cite experiential learning as a method of avoiding memorization-only knowledge as it stimulates multiple senses in students and it is likely to be stored in long-term memories (p. 6). 

So while some of the activities in the orange book may be beneficial, for students to gain long-term transfer and to move beyond memorizing words just for an assessment, students must apply their learning to other contexts in the classroom and also to their lives. Many teachers are having students create vocabulary flashcards where they draw a picture depicting a word’s meaning (or they can paste on computer graphics). I decided to take that a step further and investigate using storyboards for vocabulary instruction. Enter StoryBoardThat.com. Before I started making my own storyboard, I selected six commonly taught vocabulary words for ninth graders: absolve, escalate, mediate, alleviate, mortify, and pacify. The story that I wrote is about a student who gets his calendar dates mixed up and shows up to school dressed as a cowboy and utilizes/revolves around these words. In my model, all vocabulary words are underlined and in all caps to make them stand out for the student.

Panel #1 of my storyboard creation. Using the 9th grade vocabulary word- “Mortified.”
Panel #4 of my storyboard. Using vocabulary words- “Escalate” and “Pacify.”

VIEW MY FULL VOCAB STORYBOARD!

About/Analysis of StoryboardThat:

StoryboardThat is relatively easy to use and the free option includes a large image library and flexible layouts. There are specialized versions available for the education, business, and film industries. Constraints Teachers get 2 weeks for free and then can choose to pay monthly or annually based on the number of students in their classroom.

Affordances The free version allows you to select from a number of Scenes, Characters, Textables, Shapes, Infographics, etc.. In my example, I mainly just used scenes (different school settings- music classroom, basketball court, hall with lockers, etc.), characters (can select adults, teens, jobs, sports, cultural, etc..), and textables (where I got the speech bubbles and a banner that I used in the final panel). With the characters, users can select a color for their hair, eyes, clothes, and shoes). There are also options to record audio and to comment on your own and other users’ creations. Users can run their storyboard as a slideshow presentation on the site, or download the individual panels and insert them into a program such as PowerPoint.

A blank storyboard with the image library and layout options listed across the top two menu bars.

StoryboardThat serves as a strong example of using parallel compositions in the classroom because it takes the traditional strategies of writing a sentence (print texts) and/or drawing a picture (visual text) using a vocabulary word and fuses them together with digital technology (animations). Students (especially those who love animation) will have a fun time creating their own characters and placing them in various situations that may either mirror their lives or implement some fantasy options (monsters and myths option). Because students/users are coming up with an original, continuous story across several panels, they are more likely to remember the words and their definitions beyond a quiz as they are using them in multiple contexts and are stimulating multiple senses. Furthermore, students can print, download, and share their storyboards with each other, permitting them to learn from each other as some may be using the words in contexts/situations that others had not considered.

Connection to Standards:

Using storyboards as a means of parallel pedagogy aligns with the following ELA/Georgia state standards for 9th and 10th grades:

  • ELAGSE9-10RI4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.
  • ELAGSE9-10W3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • ELAGSE9-10W6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
My Suggestions: 
  • Have students plan out their storyboard on paper first (how they are going to use the necessary vocab words and what their story is going to be about) prior to creating it on the site (in the event that their work does not get saved/technology issues).
  • Be Flexible! While there are a lot of options available with the free version, there will be some characters/settings that are not possible. Adapt/overcome!
  • Permit Student Choice! Don’t confine students to StoryboardThat. Perhaps they know of another storyboard platform or another way to parallel compose that will better suit their preferences/learning/creative approaches and allow them to transfer their knowledge using the old and the new.
  • Have students share their storyboards with one another as this will allow them to question how might different people understand this message differently from me? (Bruce, p. 40).
  • Save Money!!! Be strategic and utilize StoryboardThat just a few months out of the year to either stay with the free version or just buy a few months of the pay version.
Cautions:
  • Users must sign-up for a free account with an email address and verify that address prior to saving their work. It would be best for teachers/students to go through this verification process prior to spending too much time on their creations to ensure that everything gets saved! If you do not push “save,” your work will be lost (constraint).
Questions for Teachers:
  • What types of assignments/activities have you used storyboards for in your classroom? Which have you found to be successful and which would you advise against?
  • When using parallel compositions, do you find that students tend to embrace/push for one (perhaps the contemporary/digital) over the other (traditional print)? (Potenital constraint to parallel pedagogy).
  • Have you experienced students having too much fun with storyboards (creating big characters and grand adventures) to the point that they miss the learning objectives? (Potential constraint).
  • How often would you employ storyboards for vocabulary instruction? Is it best to keep trying other forms of parallel pedagogy in order to connect with a variety of learners?

References:

Bruce, D. (2012). Learning Video Grammar: A Multimodal Approach to Reading and Writing Video Texts. In Multimodal Composing in Classrooms: Learning and Teaching for the Digital World (pp. 32-42).

Leander, K. (2009). Composing with Old and New Media: Toward a Parallel Pedagogy. In Digital Literacies Social Learning and Classroom Practices (pp. 147-163). 

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2011) Understanding by Design, Modules A & B

Remediation: My Steer’s Waltz

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Keep reading to see who these guys are!

Introduction/Background I selected to remediate Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” as we have been discussing it in terms of literary meaning in ENGL 7721. One of the main talking points in regards to this poem is that most modern day readers believe that it is a tale of an intoxicated father physically abusing his child (lots of discussion on whether the child is male or female). However, earlier audiences did not speculate violence at all, but rather just a nice little evening dance between a father and his child. Why the change? Sheridan D. Blau explains, “before the mid-eighties, ideas about abuse and dysfunctional families and discussions of alcoholism in one’s family were not part of the public discourse” (2003). With that in mind, consider how one might have viewed this poem in the 1950’s, 1990’s, and today.

My Papa’s Waltz

The whiskey on your breath

Could make a small boy dizzy;

But I hung on like death:

Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans

Slid from the kitchen shelf;

My mother’s countenance

Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist

Was battered on one knuckle;

At every step you missed

My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head

With a palm caked hard by dirt,

Then waltzed me off to bed

Still clinging to your shirt.

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

In my initial reading (and mostly now), I certainly saw the poem as a story of abuse. It would be nice to see it as just an innocent dance, but being a millennial, I suppose my mind did not stand much of a chance on settling on that sort of interpretation (too many “After School Specials”). Words such as— whiskey, death, romped, not unfrown, battered, knuckle, buckle, beat, and palm strongly lend to the case of the poem’s predicted violence.

My Remediation I chose to use Screencast-O-Matic for this assignment as I wanted to experiment with a different video recording platform. I wanted one that was free and would permit me to produce a MULTIMODAL TEXT with the inclusion of video, the recording of my voice and soundtrack. The free version permits minimal editing, but I did not find any to be necessary. Out of all the platforms/tools/apps that I have experimented with so far….this was by far the easiest! Affordances I would like to create an additional project with Screencast-O-Matic to try out the screen capture function as I only used the webcam function for this creation. The tool allows you to use both simultaneously. The free version permits recordings lasting up to 15 minutes and has a closed-captioning option. Constraints The only downsides were that the background music was not as loud as I had hoped for and I could not embed the video on this site. I had to upload it to YouTube in order to present it to you here. Screencast-O-Matic Users also have to subscribe to the pay version in order to feature other multimedia text in their recordings and to alter the speed of the video. Without further ado…ladies and gentlemen…My Steer’s Waltz...

Soundtrack courtesy of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaxTRX9oAV4

Reflection

Okay…I know…that got kind of weird. It was definitely TAKING A RISK!

Because I interpret “My Papa’s Waltz” as a story of violence and abuse, I wanted to capture that in this remediation. However, I did not want to just straight up declare that as the only interpretation. As a result, I decided to “cast” stuffed animals as the three mentioned characters. The Steer as The Father, The Deer as The Child, and The Dalmatian as The Mother. While I am having the stuffed animals do things that could be construed as a literal interpretation of violent acts, because of the waltz music and silliness of this cast of characters, there is an ambiguity left to the work. While using stuffed animals may make a difficult topic such as child abuse easier to handle, others may think of actual animals and struggle with the “suggested” content as much as if it were done with human portrayals. Luckily, using the mode of video grants continued uncertainty as far as interpretation is concerned, as shared by Jones and Hafner, “images tend to be more ‘polysemous’, that is, they are capable of sending numerous messages at the same time” (2012). While it seems on the surface that the Steer character is intoxicated and beating the Deer character, it remains uncertain to the viewer and perhaps the characters are just goofing around or putting on a show for the Dalmatian character? So while I see the original text being about abuse, I wanted to leave my remediation open to different interpretations based on continued changes in public discourse and the consumers’ life experiences. I would categorize the relationship between my work and the original poem as COMPLEMENTARY.

This would be a robust assignment to employ in middle and high school classrooms. Because modern day adolescents have grown up in an image-driven world (there are fewer words on websites today than several decades ago), making a multi-modal text would help them to more easily attach meaning to the written text, exercise their creative muscles, and interact with the text as individuals. It would place the story in their world and through their eyes.

Affordances:
  • Selecting the video (sequence of images) mode allows for the affordances of images to be mixed with the affordances of writing (Jones & Hafner, 2012).
Constraints: 
  • Sending multiple messages at the same time through multi-modal texts may distract from the main message of a text. May be inappropriate for some readings.
Questions for Teachers:
  • What type of assignments have you utilized Screencast-O-Matic? Have you used it for purposes beyond video-style lectures?
  • Have you allowed students to remediate texts in your classroom? If so, how often? What are some of the challenges faced? What kind/how many limitations do you place on them?
  • How do you discuss literary meaning in your classroom without opening the doors to- every interpretation is valid?
My Suggestions for Using Screencast-O-Matic & Remediation in the Classroom:
  • If possible, teachers should look into the pay version for the benefits of longer videos, more editing features, and usage of additional multimedia text. The free version should be sufficient for students.
  • Have students write about the decisions they have made regarding their remediation to ensure that all components of the product have a purpose and relate back to the original text.
Cautions for Using Remediation in the Classroom:
  • Parameters must be well-defined. While such assignments would provide a strong creative vehicle for students, they also may go too far out in left field if not reigned in a little bit.
  • Students may be indecisive about whether or not their work is meant to be ambiguous. Have them state definitively which direction they have chosen to go with their interpretation.

References

Blau, S. (2003). The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Jones, R. H., & Hafner, C. A. (2012). Understanding digital literacies: A practical introduction. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Let’s Get Ready to ARGUE (or persuade)!!!

Mr. Michael Buffer all set to announce our opponents in the ring!

Introduction When setting out to review the affordances (the aspects that extend certain parts of us) and constraints (the aspects that amputate certain parts of us) of using GroupMe for class communication, I decided—what better way than to search for a digital tool that would help me to visually distinguish and display these two sides. First, a little bit on GroupMe…

About the Digital Tool of GroupMe GroupMe is a mobile messaging app that specializes in creating group chats in lieu of texting or emailing large numbers of people at a time. For younger generations who are not embracing email and are looking for alternative ways to mediate their relationships through technology by communicating with various groups, GroupMe is certainly a viable option. Jones & Hafner write, “human beings are continually creating and adapting cultural tools to meet the needs of new material or social circumstances or new psychological needs” (2012). Adolescents quickly disregard or seemingly deny the technology of their parents or even the next generation up. The current generation is searching for applications that both simplify systems and create community. Apparently, GroupMe has been quite popular since 2010. I just heard about it for the first time last year…guess I’m getting behind the times….or set in my ways….yikes!

About ReadWriteThink’s Persuasion Map The digital tool that I found to exhibit the two sides of the argument of using GroupMe for classroom communication is the persuasion map, an interactive graphic organizer from ReadWriteThink. This was not the first platform that I came across to outline positions. I looked at several argument map applications, particularly one called MindMup, but really struggled to find one that was not a headache to use, free, and/or visually appealing. GroupMe is such an easy app to use and it felt irregular to review it on a platform that was not.

Compared to some of those other argument map tools, ReadWriteThink’s persuasion map does not allow one to place two sides of an argument on the same presentation. I was really looking for a tool for mapping arguments and not persuasion, but using either tool could be a way to open a class conversation on the difference between argument and persuasion. This improvisation aligns with research provided by Jones and Hafner, “constraints, on the other hand, can sometimes spur us to come up with creative solutions when the tools we have at hand do not allow us to do what we want to do” (2012). Next, some students could create a map with pros or affordances and the other half of the class could create one with cons or constraints. Students could be paired off after individually composing their maps and debate one another using the strengths of their points. Or it can be used as a partner or group exercise where each member comes up with a reason or fact (as modeled in my example where some fields have been left blank). Ultimately, this provides a great way for students to digitally fill in maps to plan out their points for argumentative (or persuasive) writing. Applications such as MindMup do allow the user to control how many stems are added to each side, which makes it a little less restrictive than ReadWriteThink’s product.

It would be best for students to either print out their persuasion map or to share them at their computers because embedding and direct links are not available options. There are options to 1.) email it to the teacher (or classmates) and 2.) save your map as a PDF and upload it to a site such as Google Drive….which is exactly what I have done!

Click the following links to view my persuasion maps on Google Drive:

Affordances of Using GroupMe for Class Communication

Constraints of Using GroupMe for Class Communication

How it Works/Components of ReadWriteThink's Persuasion Map:
  • THESIS- compose a statement that describes one side of an arguable point.
  • 3 REASONS
  • 3 FACTS or EXTENSIONS (to support reasons)
  • CONCLUSION

Affordances 
  • One can compose their own titles/descriptions, creating more of a personal connection.
  • Because different sides of the argument are composed separately, students can use their maps for persuasion/debate exercises.
  • Can share via email or Google Drive.
  • Students could compose while doing other activities. “Because they facilitate new ways of distributing our attention, they allow us to participate in many practices simultaneously- we can work and study and shop and hold conversations with any number of people all at the same time” (Jones & Hafner, 2012).
Constraints 
  • Students may be less likely to complete work as it requires having access to the technology (versus a printed hand-out they could fill out easily on-the-go).
  • There is a limited number of characters available for each field. Therefore, it would only serve the purposes of drafting. It is also limited to the pre-designed format. User cannot add extra stems.
  • Have to create a separate presentation to map out the other side of the argument.
 Questions for Teachers about Using Persuasion/Argument Maps:
  • Is there something lost when activities are digital and students do not have to draw the boxes and write with a utensil (re: research regarding the connection between memory and recording information by hand)?
  • Have you found an argument or persuasion map application that is free, user-friendly, and has many features?
  • What are some of the best “warm-up” activities you have executed in your classroom to teach persuasive and argumentative writing?
  • Do you use GroupMe for communication in your classroom?
My Suggestions for Using Persuasion Maps from ReadWriteThink:
  • Only use for pre-writing. It is a great way to have students map out what they will ultimately write about, but character limitations minimize this tool to that purpose.
  • Keep searching for higher quality tools/applications.
Cautions for Using Persuasion Maps from ReadWriteThink:
  • Students will need to share their work with the teacher (or print it) to verify productivity and appropriateness.

References:

Jones, R. H., & Hafner, C. A. (2012). Understanding digital literacies: A practical introduction. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

The Differentiation Dragon

The Differentiation Dragon presents… 5 GOALS for Using Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom. Check out The Differentiation Dragon’s video on Blabberize.com

Introduction The Differentiation Dragon is a character that I have created to do exactly what his name suggests…magically differentiate! This vehicle of differentiating using technology is made possible through the talking animation capabilities of Blabberize. This photo editing tool is a potentially fun way for visual and auditory learners to both consume classroom content.

The content of this video presents goals for using technology and digital media in the classroom. I decided to keep it simple with a list of five to demonstrate appropriate lengths of lists to use with students. These are goals that I hope to return to and flesh out in upcoming blog posts.

Here are the 5 goals that are verbally listed in the video…a transcript if you will….for further differentiation:

  • 1)Allow students to feel that they are in the modern world and haven’t jumped in a time machine to a 1970’s schoolhouse. Kids feel a disconnect in school when it doesn’t match the present culture.
  • 2) Link the technology’s usage to career paths the students may be considering.
  • 3) Mix it up frequently to keep students surprised and to appeal to multiple learning styles.
  • 4) Provide a platform where students can communicate with those that they may have not ever chatted with-allowing new friendships to be formed.
  • 5) To always stay up-to-date- exploring the best new ways for students to learn through interaction with one another.

About the Technology Blabberize is a free site that allows users to insert a picture and record a voice-over. After registering for an account, users upload an image of their choosing, crop it, and signify where they would like the “speaking” to come from on the image (may or may not be from a mouth). In a classroom, this would allow students to learn lessons from talking animals, celebrities, and even inanimate objects. There are certainly many comedic outcomes with these creations. There may be other sites that produce less clunky-looking creations, but I think that it is that awkwardness that is a part of this tool’s charm and one that will grab students’ attention.

Affordances In addition to presentations from the teacher, Blabberize would be a great way for students to create their own characters to help them learn course material or make voice-blogs for characters from literary studies (a student could have a pony playing the part of Jay Gatsby). Additionally, because the students themselves are not on a camera, it may help those who are nervous about public speaking as they can use a pretend voice as modeled with the Differentiation Dragon. This tool would permit students to respond in a manner beyond a standard writing entry and could assist them with developing their public speaking skills. Furthermore, Blabberize creations energize content that tends to be dry, such as vocabulary lessons or writing a list of goals.

Constraints The biggest restraint to using Blabberize in the classroom is that it may become so zany that some students may struggle to be serious when necessary. I feel that characters like the Differentiation Dragon can be recurring in classroom lessons but must be used in moderation to prevent things from becoming stale. As I mentioned above, I believe that many students would embrace the “awkwardness” of these creations, but there would certainly be some who would roll their eyes and prefer something more “high-tech” looking. In keeping with the goal of mixing it up, I would try and find a tool that would serve those preferences for some occasions. It would also be nice to be able to include text (captions or additional unspoken notes) that would allow further differentiation. Finally, the recording process can be a little frustrating. The buttons at the bottom of the player do not always do what it seems like they are going to do. I had to re-record my video two times.

Questions for Teachers about Using Blabberize: 
  • What activities or assignments do you find the usage of Blabberize to be appropriate for in your classroom?
  • When would you never use it?
  • Is there a photo editing tool that is more effective with high school students? One that is more high-tech? Is there one that includes more features (such as the inclusion of captions with the video)?
My Suggestions for Using Blabberize:
  • The “crazier” the character….the more memorable! Allow students to exercise their “imagination muscles!”
  • Have students create character journals using this tool.
Cautions when Using Blabberize:
  • Students need to be closely monitored and the teacher will need to screen the videos prior to being presented as there is an “adult” category option and students may take advantage of the liberties available with this tool.