Monday, March 24, 2008

Multimedia Sharing Sites

Blog Posting #7

Well I cannot say that I was beyond impressed by the idea of this particular Web 2.0 tool, not because it could not be useful, but rather because I have seen it used innappropriately so many times it has lost its appeal. You tube is an example of a multimedia sharing site that has been more than controversial at my school. Students spend a lot of time perusing music videos and funny clips rather than using it for educational purposes. I have decided to take my negative feelings about You tube and not let them sway my opinion while I research other multimedia sharing sites. In stead I will try and remain open-minded and develop educational uses for this tool in my library or classroom.

Having said that, let’s start out with a basic definition of Multimedia sharing sites. One of the websites I discovered that gave me the most understandable and basic definition was http://pmguide.wetpaint.com/page/Multimedia+Sharing?t=anon. The definition they used was “Multimedia sharing sites facilitate the storage, sharing, and sometimes creation of audio, images/photos, and video.” This definition seems to include all of the benefits of multimedia sharing sites I have thought of while learning about them.

One of the first questions I asked myself when inquiring about multimedia sharing is why wouldn’t I just have my photos stored on my home computer and make a slide show from the program already on it? Well the answer is simple…It takes up way too much of the available storage space on your computer. Also you could not share these photos with the public, including friends and family, without e-mailing them. So if you use a multimedia sharing site you can not only save massive amounts of space on your computer, but you can also easily download photos and videos onto one of these sites to share with the public.

Voice threading is another reason that these sites are useful and one of the main reasons I can see them being useful in the classroom. Voice threading is when you can record an audio commentary that relates to an image you have uploaded to your computer. For example I could have a slide show of my family and have all members of my family record a voice commentary on their take of the picture. My mom and dad would obviously come from far different perspective than my sister and I.

What I Learned:

From researching some of the multimedia sharing sites I have learned you can do the following;
- You can upload pictures directly from your scanner or camera
- The up loader can create a movie for you with your own pictures (A fantastic option)
- You can “grab” any video, audio or picture clips to use in your own sites. This is an incredible tool for the classroom because students or teachers could “grab” pictures of videos of the resources relevant to their presentations.
- You could make your website/class website public so that you can get feedback from others.
- Voice Threads can be available all the time to create dialog for others and get feedback on your own.
- You can make voice comments on videos (FUN!)
- Security features allow you to decide who can do what. I still don’t know how “secure” these are.
- You can “doodle” and edit pictures and video files. So a teacher presenting can use the multimedia site like they would an overhead projector.
- One account can have several different identities. This would be beneficial to students collaborating on a project.

The above mentioned ideas are just some of the benefits of multimedia sharing sites offer.

How can these sites be beneficial in the classroom/library?

If you explore the suggested websites (Jumpcut and Voicethreads) you can see several examples of what I have just mentioned. I was very impressed that I could move around and zoom in and out while listening to commentary about the picture. I can see this being beneficial in classrooms in the following ways;
-multimedia sharing sites allow you to share ideas, information, charts, images and videos in an efficient and easy way.
-Students could learn from digital lessons i.e.; a scientist could show a science experiment on a multimedia sharing site and the kids in the classroom could add comments to it.
-Multimedia sharing sites would be great teaching tools for visual learners.
-Students would likely have an increased interest in presenting information in this digital format.
-Essentially, teachers could use these sites as digital whiteboards. For example a teacher could create a slideshow and the students could brainstorm ideas that could be presented on the site.
- Voice threads would capture the attention in any classroom and a human voice is a lot warmer than text in a book.
- Voice Threads could be presented in a style that would promote collaboration within classrooms and groups work.
- The flexibility to take part in the presentation at any time from any computer makes this a great web 2.0 tool.
-Students in a classroom could use their own voices to tell a story to the entire world via a multimedia sharing site. This would be a great idea for pen pals from anywhere in the world. Students could show pictures and describe them in their own words to pen pals that live in other cultures.

These are just a few ideas that I have considered using multi media sharing sites…the possibilities are endless.

Problems!

Two major problems that I can foresee would be security and wrongful use. I researched a few possibilities for securing one of these websites because I could see students taking advantage of their ability to comment publicly on these sites. This could end in disaster if students decided to use these sights for the wrong reasons or make inconsiderate comments where they don’t belong. It seems to me that even if you secure your site there would be ways to get around this.

Also, as I have witnessed on You tube, these websites can be carried too far and be used for purposes that are far less than educational. I guess these web 2.0 tools are like anything else we are teaching our students…we can give them the tools and the best we can do is teach them to use them appropriately.

Setting up my own voice thread!

To set up my own voice thread I did the following;
-Went to www.jumpcut.com and registered for a Yahoo account (Easy Peasy)
- Once registered I chose to create a “wizard” account to make a movie
-I uploaded the only 2 pictures I had on my computer from a recent trip to Mexico
-I went to Audacity to create an audio file for each picture. I created audio files with my computer microphone and saved them to my computer desktop.
-I re-opened my Jumpcut account and uploaded the two audio files I had made.
-I clicked on the picture and chose to “add an audio file”.
-Once I had added the audio files I had a very short example of a Voice Thread.

Although I would like to spend more time with this tool and try it out in the classroom, this brief introduction allowed me to remove purely negative thought in regards to mulitmedia sharing sites. I have such a negative feeling about Youtube that I had a hard time realizing the real benefits of this type of site in the classroom. Now I have already decided that I will create one of these movies to show my students a few amazing sites I have pictures of from a trip to Europe! They will likely benefit more from seeing my real pictures than that from a history textbook!

3 comments:

Linda Morgan said...

Isn't it nice to feel the thrill of being converted?! (I'm referring, naturally, to your about-face attitude toward multi-media sharing.)

Have fun with your Europe pics - what a good way for students to see their teacher in a different light!

Cindy said...

I enjoyed your shots of Mexico you shopaholic! I am curious Jean as to why you chose JumpCut over VoiceThread to do your voicethread?

Val said...

Hi Jean:
Yes security is an issue with jumpcut and voicethread. I like ed.voicethread that will make things more secure and in the control of the teacher. I would not make a class voicethread public unless we were soliciting opinions from around the globe.

It was good to see a jumpcut as most of us chose voicethread. Did you like the process?
Cheers
Val