Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Rachel’s Haircut VoiceThread exceeds 15,000 views

Back in August 2007 when Karen Montgomery suggested I share photos of my 3 year old daughter, Rachel, getting a new haircut on her Flickr group “Tell a Story in 5 Photos for Educators” as well as a VoiceThread digital story I never imagined it would be seen by so many people around the world. Another Missouri educator, Cindy Lane, brought to my attention this evening that this VoiceThread digital story has now been viewed over 15,000 times! Wow.

Rachel's Getting a New Haircut VoiceThread: Now over 15,000 views

Although it doesn’t have the same “cute factor” and hasn’t had nearly as many views, my 10 year old son Alexander’s VoiceThread refection from our Washington DC trip last March for the COSN conference is the other VoiceThread digital story we’ve created on my account that continues to get regular comments from different people about every other week.

I end up deleting some of comments on both these VoiceThreads when commenters mainly doodle on the photos rather than provide meaningful feedback. I still have both of these open for unmoderated commenting. Of the hundreds of comments we’ve received on all our family-published VoiceThreads, we’ve only received a couple inappropriate or rude comments. On the few occasions I’ve contacted VoiceThread support staff about these issues, they have been VERY prompt to respond and exceptionally helpful.

It might go without saying (but I won’t let it in this post) that I fully support substantive conversations and discussions about issues in digital stories which students and our children create and share online. I am not just an advocate for “cute” uses of technology. I do perceive that modeling of potential and actual technology uses is very important, however, and I hope both of the above VoiceThread digital stories continue to further that goal in many classrooms and homes. The VoiceThread for Education wiki has an extensive collection of examples by students in different grade levels.

I dearly wish my own children were able to share the excitement and motivating power of online digital storytelling and educational networking with their classmates at the public school they attend here in Oklahoma. We’ve told their teachers about our family learning blog and forwarded one VoiceThread my eight year old made several weeks ago as part of her book study activities for Charlotte’s Web. These at-home digital publishing and sharing activities have been basically ignored by their teachers, not because they are unsupportive of their learning– quite the opposite– but rather because I think my children attend school in a learning culture which views digital publication, collaboration, and online sharing as irrelevant to the real focus of public education.

Little Pencils box - open close up

I could be wrong about this, of course, but that is my perception.

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5 responses to “Rachel’s Haircut VoiceThread exceeds 15,000 views”

  1. Karen Montgomery Avatar

    It is great that most people seem to view VoiceThread as a place for contributing appropriate and positive comments. I am asked every time I show teachers VoiceThread about ways to protect students and keep the activity safe while still allowing collaboration. VoiceThread has so many levels of security and built-in features making it a great online tool for educators. It’s terrific Rachel was able to share her haircut story and receive such positive responses from all over the world. Amazing, a 3-year-old who is so 2.0!!

  2. […] Re­a­d m­ore­:  Rac­hel’s Hai­rc­ut­ V­oi­c­eT­hread exc­eeds 15,000 … […]

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  4. Heather Avatar

    So, I guess the question becomes…how do we change the learning culture to value online sharing? Or should we? (I think we should, but do others agree?) Do we have to wait until social scientists publish peer-reviewed journal articles on how digital publication improves learning? Or should we, as educators, take action because we know the value?

    Ok, so I guess my one question is actually many questions! I love the tools we have available for learning and I’m ready to use them with students. But my challenge is to inspire other teachers to use them, and I haven’t figured out the best way to do that yet.

  5. diane Avatar

    Interesting that you mention this now: a few days ago, I was showing a teacher how VoiceThread might be used and went to Rachel’s Haircut. She was intrigued by the concept and amused that she could hear my voice mixed in with comments from around the world.