Students tell their own stories with Adobe Voice!

May 27, 2014

Link: Adobe Voice website

Quick overview: Adobe Voice allows your students to narrate in conjunction with images, icons, and text. The app is incredibly easy to use, yet produces very polished results. Great for ANY language classroom and encourages a student-centered approach. Free!

How did we use it in the classroom? I first used Adobe Voice with Megan Maclean, an English teacher at the New Horizons Adult Education Centre (ETSB). Megan’s learning objective was to help her multilevel English students (Secondary Levels 4 and 5) articulate their ideas in an organized, concise manner. In preparation for the Adobe Voice activity, students were asked to research information to support their viewpoint(s). They then used the app to put together a complete presentation. Here is an example from one of Megan’s students:

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How did it go? Adobe Voice took the pressure off the students as they no longer had to stand up in front of the class and present. The students could re-record each spoken segment until they were happy. This gave them more practice speaking compared to the “one-shot deal” of an oral presentation. The following week, I worked with Darlene Brown (SWLSB/TLE) to adapt this activity to her multilevel CCBE class at CDC Vimont. I should note that before either class touched any iPads, we spent time helping students develop their viewpoints on a paper sheet. We formatted the paper sheet so that it would help keep the students on track as they were recording in Adobe Voice:

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Benefits: The app is free and easy to use. Both groups of students were up and running in less than ten minutes. The app includes access to a plethora of copyright free images, icons, music. Activities done in the app can scale from Literacy to Secondary level language students. Our test students liked the app so much that they kept asking how to download it on their own devices! While the interface is in English, it could also be used in a second language classroom too. For those of you teaching at the elementary level, I successfully tested it out with my 5 year old daughter and (with a little help) she created a simple story about loosing her first tooth.

Limitations: Students must create an Adobe account or log-in with a personal Facebook account to save and share their work on-line. Currently, you cannot save projects in the iPad’s Camera Roll. That being said, you can still view completed student projects in the app without saving them on-line. At the moment, the app is only available on Apple’s iOS platform.

Downloadable resources: Darlene and Megan have generously offered to share their lesson plan and prep sheet so you can reproduce or adapt the activity for your own class. Huge thanks to both Megan and Darlene!

  • Adobe Voice lesson plan by Megan Maclean
  • Adobe Voice paper prep sheet concept by Megan Maclean, updated and adapted by Darlene Brown (for the students)

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Mobile Monday: Using Videolicious to help students with oral presentations in a language class

February 20, 2012

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: Videolicious for the iPad, iPhone, iPod.

Cost: Free

Quick overview: An overview of how we’ve used the Videolicious app with FSL and English students to help develop writing and communication competencies. An advantage to using Videolicious is that it allows students to present an oral presentation without being put on the spot in front of the whole class.

How can the app be used in the classroom? Students were paired into groups of two and were provided a topic by the teacher. Before recording anything on the iPad, the students were asked to research their arguments and write out a bullet point list of what they’d like to communicate. In the next step, students used the iPads to select pictures, videos, and music to support their spoken text. After everything was recorded, the class reviewed the videos together. The entire activity can be done in about two hours.

What about different levels of students? For higher level students, the activity was geared towards using English language to persuade or arguing a viewpoint. Lower level FSL students used the app as a springboard to get them talking in a second language about a particular theme (i.e. – what I’m doing over the holidays, what I saw on my way to school, etc..)

What advantages did the mobile technology bring to the classroom? The app limits the student to 50 seconds of speaking time, similar in format to a TV commercial. This forces the students to present short, concise speeches. It was not uncommon that the students had to record multiple takes to get things right, providing them with lots of practice! The way the app is designed, it does not allow the students to fiddle with editing, which could take away from working on the language. Last but not least, if you’re considering this activity with your students, it’s VERY important that each group of students has a quiet place to record their videos. (Special thanks to following teachers who graciously invited me into their classrooms to try this activity: Shanna Loach and Megan Maclean, New Horizons, ETSB – Stephanie Sabbagh, Place Cartier, LBPSB – Darlene Brown, The Learning Exchange and CDC Vimont, SWLSB)

Interested? We have enough iPads and iPods to accommodate your FGA classroom. Please contact me to discuss how we can adapt this activity for your classroom!

Video: To see a 1 minute video demonstrating how the app works, please click the play button below:


ICT Tip: Exploring different approaches for oral presentations using Voki

November 29, 2011

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Link: http://www.voki.com/Voki_for_education.php

Quick overview: Do you have students that are uncomfortable with public speaking? Using Voki, a student can create a virtual animated avatar that “speaks” a recording of your student’s own voice or written text. Works in French too.

What does it do? Voki allows students to customize a unique looking virtual person, called an avatar. The avatar could be a representation of the student or a fictional character from a book. To make the Voki speak, students either type in text, speak into a microphone, or call in their recording with a cell phone. The Voki avatar is limited to 1 minute of “speaking” time, which helps students keep things concise. A Voki can be embedded into blogs or sent by e-mail. Free. (Source: Dr. Kipp Rogers, ISTE Philadelphia 2011)

How can this be used in the clasroom? There’s a huge bank of lesson plans for using Voki in an educational context, but one approach I like is using Voki to help students that are uncomfortable speaking in front of the class.

A sample lesson idea: Let’s say your students are assigned a book to read and are asked to provide a viewpoint from the story’s protagonist. If your focus is helping your students develop writing skills, you could ask the students to write their viewpoints for their animated Voki to speak. Once complete, the students’ Vokis are presented to the class using a projector and speakers. Alternatively, if you’re focusing on helping your students develop oral skills, you could ask students to speak and record their viewpoints using a microphone with Voki. The Vokis are then presented to the whole class and “speak” on their behalf. The point of the exercise is to get students sharing their viewpoints (formulating thoughts, mobilizing writing and/or oral competencies) without actually having to be put on the spot in front of the other students.

Something to consider: I highly suggest that you set a short time limit when students create the look of their Voki Avatars. The goal of using Voki in a language classroom should be to get students better at writing or speaking, not creating pretty Avatars!

Video Tutorial: For more information on how to use this Voki, click the (3 minute) video link below:


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