Nov 29 2011
Well, I toyed with calling this post “Dumb and Dumber”, but decided against it! Some of you may know that I have been struggling with my health for some time. I was off work last year for some months and am now managing to get in every day, which is great. However, my illness has resulted in me losing my voice for about the last eighteen months. I can only speak in a breathy whisper and cannot project my voice at all. This is very difficult for a school librarian. No, we don’t merely sit behind a desk stamping out the occasional book! In my school, I was just beginning to develop some classes teaching research skills and supporting reading development work before I was absent. This has been extremely difficult to pick nup again in my present circumstances.
Also, without a strong voice, I have felt unable to speak in other ways. I have neglected this blog and have not written much or communicated with many of my friends – I cannot really use the phone either! As you can imagine, this is very frustrating and annoying – particularly for someone like me who loves to talk.
It has been difficult to watch classes coming in to the Library and know that I cannot engage with the students in the way I would like. In my first couple of years, I was beginning to develop some nice teaching materials and plans to use with them. So, I got to thinking about how I could at least try to do some of the teaching again, whilst being careful not to strain my voice until the therapy I am having starts to have an effect.
One thing that was very successful with our students was using a wiki to engage them in writing about their reading development. I decided that I would try to introduce this to our Year 7 and 8 students. I had made a PowerPoint a couple of years ago and wondered if I could manage to use this to present to the classes. Then, I had a brainwave – why not record my commentary and play it back to each class? That way, I would only have to do this once and I would be able to re-use it as many times as I liked. Also, I would be able to do the recording at home in peace and quiet and take my time over it.
I know there is a function on PowerPoint itself to record a commentary, but I like to do things a bit differently. One of the ideas I have had throughout this new job is that I try to model examples of Web2.0 tools in my own teaching so that our staff and students can see them being used in practical situations. I have already used VoiceThread to do online presentations and I thought that our students would quite like it, so I used it to record my comments on each slide. In the lesson, I showed the class where I had the VoiceThread embedded in the Library Online website, then I ran it as a presentation. Our students are generally great and they showed such patience in listening to my strange voice. And they were allowed to giggle a bit!
Anyway, here it is:
Introduction to the wiki on VoiceThread (I can’t seem to embed it at the moment, for some reason!)