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Ford Institute and Best Practices: Part II – Graphic Organizers & VoiceThread

voicethread

The ultimate history geek dream – insider access to a Presidential Library archive.

We’ve spent the day listening to Dr. George Herring and poking around in the corners of the Ford Library in Ann Arbor. It doesn’t get much cooler. Finding out more about little known events (i.e. Operation BabyLift) and playing with documents.

We’re also having some fun conversations about effective strategies.

Cinthia Salinas together with Ryan Crowley, both from the University of Texas and the very sweet Presidential Timeline website, started by highlighting a variety of useful graphic organizers handy for primary source analysis.

Developed by the College Board as a way to help AP kids master the process of analyzing primary sources, the APPARTS strategy works well when working with text documents.

SOAP and SOAPSTONE also help kids work with textual resources.

OPVL. This is a new one for me but I like it. Probably better for high school. It focuses on the origins, purpose, values, and limitations of a document.

There are others such as TACOS, POSERS, and MUSEUMS. Find out about these and more types of graphic organizers specific to different types of primary sources.

Cinthia and Ryan transitioned into how to use these types of thinking skills with a Web 2.0 tool called VoiceThread. Many of you may already have an idea of how it works but if you’re new to VoiceThread, it’s basically a quick way of encouraging online conversations:

Create
Upload, share and discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files and videos. Over 50 different types of media can be used in a VoiceThread.

Comment
Comment on VoiceThread slides using one of five powerful commenting options: microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload.

Share
Keep a VoiceThread private, share it with specific people, or open it up to the entire world.

Get a sense of the possibilities by checking out some examples from the classroom. Get some suggestions for help here and here.

I hadn’t ever thought about using VoiceThread to create digital primary source analysis “worksheets.” But we played around a bit with it and this seemed like a very cool way to have kids think about primary sources. Post a guiding question on a shared VoiceThread, attach a document / photo / video / audio or any combination of those, and let the students respond.

This would fit in a variety of places in your instructional design – as a hook or measurement of prior knowledge, a way of interactive direct instruction, or possibly even as an assessment tool.

The assessment idea might include asking kids to create VoiceThread “movies” – have kids add multiple slides to their VoiceThread and include their own narration / text.

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