Sunday, May 30, 2010

Creating Collaborative Audio Slideshows

Creating Collaborative Audio Slideshows

One month ago I received my new iPad and immediately scoured the App Store for interesting free or low-cost apps. I downloaded the usual arsenal: GoodReader, iBooks, Twitter client (Twitterific), Amazon Kindle, and USA Today. Then I happened on SonicPics, which I discovered in my search to determine why enhanced (chapter) podcasts do not correctly display on an iPad. (I have reported this issue to Apple.)

Computer software provide tools to create audio slideshows typcially requires several steps: organizing the images, setting up a microphone, narrating while the slides displays, exporting the file, and then finally publishing it to a web site. The process is cumbersome and portability is limited. In contrast SonicPics for iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad (although not yet native) is an elegantly simple, all-in-one mobile solution for creating audio slideshows — still images synced with audio as they relate to each image — that provide enhanced online and mobile learning opportunties for students as compared to audio only media. The slideshows can be exported as QuickTime chapter videos or uploaded directly to YouTube for instant sharing! SonicPics requires a microphone and imports images from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad's Photo library.

Tip: There are a number of iPod touch microphones available, varying in quality and price - some up to $40 each. I have tried these low-cost mics with good success. For under $5.00 on Amazon the Mini Capsule Microphone is of surprisingly high quality, although it is really small and easy to misplace.

Even though the app is not yet native, SonicPics runs without issue on an iPad, which is a natural for annotating audio to images because of its larger screen and built-in microphone. In addition the iPad Camera Connection Kit allows direct transfer of photographs from a digital camera to an iPad Photo library. Consider these uses to assist with your personal recording, notetaking, and tour guides:
  • Lecture recording - Use a set of related images or export a series of JPEG's from a PowerPoint or Keynote export and record notes as you touch drag through each image.
  • Conference notes - Take photographs during the conference and then record your notes and reflections.
  • Photo tours - take photographs of tours such as hiking and then record your experiences as they relate to each photograph.
The Real Excitement: Collaboration!

I look forward to creating audio slideshows on my own for instruction, sharing experiences, and exploring new ways for engaging learners. However, imagine the possibilities when audio slideshows are created in collaboration, especially on an iPad. Students can create group recordings by touch dragging through images, recording their reflections either spontaneously or by reading from prepared text, and passing the iPad on to the next person. Projects can can be uploaded to YouTube for sharing or exported as an.m4v chapter video, which can be played standalone in QuickTime or Windows Media Player or embedded in a web page. Can you add to this sampling of project ideas?
  • Tours or field trips - students take photographs, which are uploaded to the iPod touch or iPad using Apple's Camera Connection Kit.
  • Create audiobooks - students create their own digital image (photograph, drawing, scan, downloaded file) and then upload them to a or Dropbox share. Using Dropbox or Droppler app upload the images from the share directly to an iPhone, touch, or iPad Photo library. Students can record poetry or sing songs as they relate to each image.
  • Language instruction - Using the same scenario as an audiobook expect that students record in a foreign language that they are studying.
  • Digital Story Telling - Students take their own photographs and then record a story, slide by slide.
In the recent time that I have been using an iPad, I would say that SonicPics has been unexpectedly one of my favorite and most useful apps. I wait in anticipation for the iPad native version.

Improving SonicPics

I have written to the publisher of SonicPics with the following recommendations:
  • Create an iPad native app, which would improve the interface, add new features such as App sharing and of course improve the resolution.
  • Provide an option to export slideshows as enhanced podcasts so they can be played back on a mobile device.
Currently iPhone OS 3 does not allow third party apps such as SonicPics to directly transfer media content to iTunes, which would eliminate the currently cumbersome process of file export, Wi-Fi sharing, entering a URL, downloading, and copying to iTunes.

SonicPics Tutorial

Thursday, May 20, 2010

E-Portfolios with Google Sites EDU

It has been generally acknowledged that e-portfolios are primarily developed for ongoing learning, showcase, and assessment and that one e-portfolio system does not fit all purposes. Full abstract below slide presentation ...


It has been generally acknowledged that e-portfolios are primarily developed for ongoing learning, showcase, and assessment and that one e-portfolio system does not fit all purposes. If we are interested in the academic success and co-curricular accomplishments of our students through self-motivation, engagement, reflection, and ownership, then a learning portfolio nurtured over time has significant potential in being developed for life after graduation.

There are many e-portfolio tools and systems available, none of which provides the perfect solution to all institutional assessment and student learning needs. Google Sites for Education has only recently been considered for portfolio development but offers promising solutions to effectively build learning and showcase portfolios including artifact storage, privacy control, collaboration, reflection, and ownership. Although orientation, training, and ongoing support is strongly recommended, Google Sites is easy-to-use and provides built-in tools to insert evidence of extended learning from sources such as social media sites.

SUNY CIT 2010: E-portfolios for Learning – Google Sites for Education
Where: SUNY Plattsburgh, Yokum 201
When: Friday, May 28 9:15- 9:45 am

Assistive Mobile Technology to Help Students Succeed

Title: Assistive Mobile Technology to Help Students Succeed
Format: Poster Presentation PDF of actual poster
Where: SUNY Plattsburgh, Angell College Center
When: Wednesday, May 26, 6:30 - 7:45 pm

The iPod touch is a multipurpose mobile device that provides easy access to text, images, media, and an enormous library of free and low-cost educational apps. The mobility and relative affordability of an iPod provides opportunities for students with assistive learning needs to succeed in the classroom using technology that was previously limited to a computer, was difficult to use, and expensive. The iPod's touch screen interface reduces anxiety for students by empowering them to quickly master essential tools that facilitate learning and engagement.

Using a combination of free or low-cost applications the iPod touch can be transformed into a video player, audiobook player (with or without text), voice recorder for recording lectures, specialized e-text reader, text-to-speech converter, speech dictation device, sound amplifier, and online reader of reference materials. Aside from its obvious use as a stand-alone mobile device, the iPod is an ideal companion for a laptop or desktop computer because of its portability, touch screen interface, and on-the-go access. Listed below are a number of scenarios that provide opportunities for students to improve their success in the classroom.

For many students comprehension of printed text materials depends on reading and listening to the text at the same time. Although it is possible to scan printed materials into electronic format the process is tedious and inaccurate. Read more ...

A number of instructors are recording their lectures for course casting that provides opportunities for students to review materials for reinforcement or that they missed. If course podcasts are not available, then students can request permission from their instructor, especially if they are registered through their office of accessibility services. Read more ...

Blogs provide important opportunities to reflect and write in an open environment for learning through feedback, revision, and sharing. Converting a blog to spoken text provides many opportunities for students to reinforce learning. Read more ...

Although desktop software such as Flame Reader and iSpeak It! provide more features, control, and organization of text-to-speech recordings, they typically require a three-step process: convert text to speech, copy the recording to iTunes, and copy the spoken text to an iPod touch. Read more ...

Electronic readers provide students access to an enormous library of free and electronic books, periodicals, and newspapers that can be directly read on an iPod. Although the use of e-books is already growing, there is expected to be a substantial impact when the iPad and other touch screen tablets reach the market in early spring. Read more ...

The potential for speech recognition is significant and already practical with new apps such as Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search, although the free version has limitations. Human speech is processed and recognized through online servers that provide opportunities for inputting text without having to type. Read more ...

Except for the lack of a built-in camera and cell phone capability, an iPod touch connected to a Wi-Fi network and equipped with an optional microphone is closely functional to an iPhone — without the monthly wireless costs. Refer to the section Microphones for a listing of recommended iPod microphones.

There are a number of iPod touch microphones available, varying in quality and price - some up to $40 each. I have tried these low-cost mics with good success.
  • For under $2.00 at Amazon the Mini Capsule Microphone is of surprisingly high quality, although it’s really small and easy to misplace. Buy more than one.
  • The $8.00 Headset Adapter + Microphone includes a 30" cable and clip-on mic that claims to work with the 1G iPod Touch in addition to the newer 2G-3G models. Plug in a stereo headset and you have a hands-free speaking and listening device - really handy when carrying on phone conversations with Skype.
◄Design by Pocket Distributed by Deluxe Templates