Sunday, January 13, 2008

When kids create digital content

I spent some of my weekend at a meeting hosted by the Bureau of Instruction and Innovation within the Florida Department of Education. I always love going to these meetings because I get to connect with others who are passionate about students using technology and because I get to keep my pulse on where technology is going in the State.

Of course, there is also the Mommy Guilt of not being with my boys for part of the weekend and the messy house phenomenon to deal with when I get home. (Yep, you Moms know!!)

Nonetheless, a major topic of the meeting was the importance of getting students to create their own digital content (sometimes also called media assets). In fact, the DOE is currently processing grant proposals designed to support such creations and has some very forward thinking plans to help teachers support the process.

As I was listening to all the talk about the power of having students create digital content I kept thinking about how many Moms would interpret the phrase "student created digital content." It sounds a bit daunting. In fact, I bet it is daunting to more than a few professional educators too!!

Yet, it doesn't have to be complex and it can be FUN. So, I have decided to devote the next couple posts to examples of digital content created by my boys using free, simple web tools. (Of course, if you have looked at dates on my postings this may take me until summer to get done :)

But, Drew (4) and I created one this evening before he went to bed. We used a program called VoiceThread which is amazingly simple to use. It is basically a combination of a very simple online presentation tool and an audio discussion forum minus the threads.

Drew selected some pictures he wanted to tell a story about and then talked into the internal microphone of our computer to tell the story. Drew practiced his story once and then we recorded. Older children could write simple (or elaborate) scripts to narrate a story. They could even illustrate their story.

Interestingly, before every story I reminded Drew to start with "Danny and I" rather than "Me and Danny" but he got so excited to start talking that he forgot every time :) However, this is a still a great opportunity for Moms to talk with their children about proper grammar, story structure and elaboration. I didn't do much of this with Drew because of his age but the opportunities are there.

It is also a great opportunity for relatives and friends to communicate with a child. It is simple to create an account and comment. Go ahead, give it a try!! Drew would love to hear from you!! (If you want to comment you will need to access the presentation directly so you can create your account)