Monday, 24 September 2007

Interactive presentations

I’ve just been looking at a really interesting on line tool called Voicethread.

What's Voicethread?
Voice thread enables users to create online presentations using their own images. It also allows the creator to add audio or written text to the images and give access to other people to leave audio or text comments on the presentation. This is a really nice way of creating presentations that can interact and create dialogue with an online audience.

Here’s a couple that I’ve created. I decided that I wanted to use this tool for a class of students I teach in Second Life. I wanted them to explore various islands and take snapshots of what they found. They would then be able to upload these to Voicethread and record audio reports, which they could then share with the class and leave comments on. I thought this would be a good way to get them to really concentrate on producing a high quality fine tuned finished product, as they would know that there was and audience for these presentations.

I created these two presentations of examples of what I wanted them to do.
  • Example 1 This one is a tour of Edunation II in Second Life.
  • Example 2 This one is a visit to Vassar Island and you’ll see that a few people have already left comments.

How do I use it?
In order to help them understand how to use the tool I also created this movie tutorial.
I really think that this is a remarkable tool. It’s been specially created for educators and so it has some really nice features.

How can I use it with my students?
Here’s a few other things I think you could get students to do which would help to develop their language abilities.

  • Ask then to upload some images of things with personal significance and create a kind of online show and tell.
  • Get students to create and tell a story using pictures. If they have access to digital cameras, you could get the students to work in pairs or small groups to produce a story together.
  • Upload two images and ask students to record what they think is the connection between the two images
  • Upload images for students to describe, such as rooms or people etc.
  • Upload images of people speaking and ask students to add a dialogue. They could also add text bubbles of what they think the people are thinking
  • Ask students to research a member of their family then upload an image of the person and tell about them.
  • Get students to upload pictures from around their town and create a sort of interactive tourist guide
  • Upload some images of graphs and statistics and see if students can describe them appropriately
  • Upload some images with incorrect descriptions and see if they can spot and correct the errors
This page is also well worth looking at:
It has some user guides which you can download and also shows you how to set up identities for your kids so they don’t have to disclose any personal information.

I hope you find this useful and do let me know how you use it.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Subtitling your video clips

I’ve just been looking at a really excellent Beta site called Dot Sub

The site is an interesting adaptation of the Youtube model. People can upload videos (up to 300Mb) and share them among limited groups or with everyone.

What’s really interesting though about Dot Sub is that it is aimed at subtitling and translation for people with hearing problems. The video tool allows you to input subtitles beneath the clip. These can either be translations or transcriptions. Users can also upload clips for others to translate for them. The site isn’t limited to English only and so the translations or transcriptions for the subtitles and film clips could be in any language.

This is really a marvelous idea and has bags of potential for language teaching and development.

Here’s a few ideas off the top of my head.

  • Upload a film clip (in English) and ask students to translate or transcribe it. They can then compare with your own translation / transcription.
  • Transcribe a clip with some errors and see if they can spot / correct them.
  • Ask students to independently translate a clip of a poem and then compare their different versions.
  • Ask students to create their own video clips (If students have their own cameras or webcams) upload them and then get another member of the class to transcribe it.
  • They could just browse and translate or transcribe one of the existing videos.
  • Transcribe in what people are thinking as opposed to what they are saying

Here’s a video produced by the site with a very fast explanation of how it all works.

The site is free and registration is quite quick. So check it out at:
By all means let me know what you think and post a comment here.