This week by far has been my favorite. I had so much fun creating my Thinglink and Spark Video. I always wanted to use Thinglink since I learned about the tool this summer, but I never set time aside to actually create a project myself to see how this tool could work for my students. I decided to choose the Unit 2 Descriptive Writing assignment I assign my students during the Romantic period unit for this particular project, and it turned out great. I choose the beach as my initial image and picked the time I went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic as my topic. I was able to tag a video of the resort, an image of Romantic writer Henry D. Thoreau, and even include a video on sensation and perception to show the connection between our senses and descriptive language.
The Spark Video was quite enjoyable as well. I’ve done something similar with VoiceThread before, but I found Adobe Spark Video’s record and upload features so much easier to use; the simplicity was very nice. My greatest challenge was finding CC licensed and/or Discovery Education images that coincided with my topic, but I think I did pretty well. When I watched the final preview of my video, I was very happy. I’m looking forward to using this video as a introduction to my students upcoming research paper due in March.
I would definitely use both tools in my virtual room for my students. For Thinglink, I wanted to choose a boring portfolio we have the English 11th graders do every year, and that was the Descriptive Essay. We always tell the students to choose a picture (preferably one they took), embed in into a Word Document, and then to use descriptive language to describe the image and the story behind the picture; it always turns out odd due to the image being out of place in the Word Document. To me, this portfolio could always be much more, and Thinglink would allow my students that needed freedom. They could tag other pictures from their trip or experience, include videos pertaining to the picture or topic of descriptive language, and even tag media that focuses on the Romantic period if they wanted to make that overall connection. As for the Spark Video, I don’t think our students have ever submitted a project where they create a video or do a voice recording; since my students aren’t obligated to speak during LiveLessons, I rarely hear their voices. Adobe Spark Video can provide those opportunities and much more in the areas of presentation.
I always tell my students I envy their advantages surrounding online schooling since they have access to a computer, printer/scanner, and internet 24/7; our school also grants them free accounts to Discovery Education, EBSCO Host, and other programs for reading and arithmetic. Another advantage of CCA is the individualized learning experience put in place, so though each student have a daily planner and lessons to complete, it’s done at their own pace. Portfolio assignments, depending on the teacher, have its own deadlines/policies, but most teachers understand they take time to complete. These tools used in the form of a portfolio assignment would be treated just the same. As far as assessment practices, I can see both tools in the form of formative and summative assessments; both a Thinglink and Spark Video project could easily measure a student’s ongoing progress on a concept, or their overall level of achievement at the end of a semester. It all depends on the topic of choice and task.