This evening my 2nd grader finished writing up an assigned book report about “China’s Bravest Girl,” a book which relates the legend of Hua Mu Lan on which the Disney movie “Mulan” was based. I helped her select five pictures to accompany an image of the book cover to use for a digital story about her book report, using the Flickr Creative Commons image search. I prefer using (and did use) the “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License” search option, since there are now approximately fifteen million images with that license. We wanted to create this quickly before bed using VoiceThread, but for some reason the site wouldn’t work in either the default or classic mode to upload images. We couldn’t upload pictures directly from our hard drive or from a Flickr set we created with the images. I am guessing there were some temporary problems with the VoiceThread website, because we’ve used it to create 15 different VoiceThreads in the past two months and never had a problem before.

As an alternative, we used GarageBand to record and create an enhanced podcast, and I posted this to my .Mac website using iWeb. I hadn’t published an enhanced podcast there in over a year, since July of 2006, so perhaps this was a fortunate circumstance which prodded me to again give iWeb a try. iWeb certainly is the most streamlined way I know to publish an enhanced podcast like this, especially if you have a .Mac account. Still, I would have preferred to create this more quickly on VoiceThread, especially since people can leave audio comments there but can only leave text comments on .Mac published podcasts. I also love the option to EMBED media directly within a blog post, and unfortunately that can’t be readily done at present with a .Mac posted podcast. I did post a converted version of the video up to TeacherTube, but the synchronization of voice and images got messed up in the online conversion to Flash format. As a result, I deleted it.

I learned tonight that a webpage which includes embedded media in it is a compound document. I hadn’t heard of that term previously.

I added this digital story book review as the 12th example now on the “Great Book Stories” project. Remember this is an OPEN project and you/your students are welcome to join in by posting links to your own stories created on VoiceThread or with other tools, and posted elsewhere! The password to the wiki site to edit pages is on the project guidelines page.

I converted this m4a enhanced podcast to a Windows Media video file using QuickTime player, and burned both files to a CD that my daughter is taking to school tomorrow. Her elementary school uses all Windows-based computers, and since I’m doubting her teacher has QuickTime player installed I wanted to provide a version of her book report digital story which the teacher can readily play on her computer. I’m able to export QuickTime files to Windows Media format because I have Flip4Mac’s WMV Studio installed on my computer, which came free as part of the game “The Movies” which I purchased at MacWorld in January. No one in our family has honestly spent much time learning how to play that game, but the WMV export option is certainly coming in handy tonight!

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5 Responses to 12th “Great Book Story” project example

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Wes,

    It seems that there’s an issue between Flash and the new Mac OS, Leopard. I, like you, was intrepid enough to install it yesterday and the uploader is broken for me as well. The bad news is that it’s out of our hands and in Adobes. Hopefully they’ll be a fix soon, as this same issue is affecting every site with a Flash uploader, i.e.Flickr, Zoommr etc. Luckily I’ve got a laptop that’s got 10.4 on it so I can upload from there, using windows via Parallels or similar would work as well.

    Thanks,

    -Steve

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Wow, thanks for letting me know about that Steve– I guess I’ll have to use my HP laptop when I want to create a VoiceThread until this gets fixed. I REALLY appreciate the heads-up on this. I’m glad the issue is with my operating system rather than with VoiceThread! I’m sure the Apple folks are on this and are working with Adobe for a resolution/fix.

  3. I giggled when I read this post Wes, teachers must really appreciate (not) having the kids of edtech teachers in their classes. My daughter created a podcast for her teacher which she was very proud of. She took the link to school and gave it to her teacher. To this day the teacher still hasn’t looked at it. I asked my daughter why and she replied, “oh mum, she just doesn’t do computers”.

    How sad.

  4. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  5. Paul Bogush says:

    I totally forgot about voice thread until I read your post — and then quickly cooked up a couple of things for my kids to do with it. There some examples at the top of the page on the following link:
    http://collaborationnation.wikispaces.com/How+to+use+Voice+Thread
    I love them…my daughter also had to write a poem with 10 of her spelling words — she did a couple of Haikus on voicethread instead:
    http://voicethread.com/#q+haiku.b14948.i91723

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