SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2009

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Technology Storytelling with VoiceThread The recordings were done in groups of two-to-four students who sat around a table taking turns recording their stories. After showing each group how the VoiceThread site worked and creating identities for each student (something the site allows you to do easily), I let students do the recordings on their own. I felt that putting students in charge relieved the possible anxiety of recording their stories with me, a stranger at the school, and would increase their sense of ownership of the project. Furthermore, it helped some students to know that if they "messed up" while recording their stories, they could simply cancel the recording and try again. Anjali Balikrishna, grade five. Craig Roland R ecently, I had the opportunity to work with fifthgrade students at W.S. Ryan Elementary School in Denton, Texas, on a VoiceThread project. VoiceThread is an online tool to share images, documents, and videos and have conversations about them. The project involved a collaboration between art teacher Nancy Walkup, her students, and myself. It was as much a learning experience for me as it was for Nancy and her students, as this was the first time I worked with a group of young students using VoiceThread in the classroom. creating childhood Drawings Students began the project weeks before my arrival by viewing and discussing the work of Carmen Lomas Garza, a Texas artist known for creating paintings of her childhood memories. Students created their own childhood memory drawings and wrote rough and final drafts of descriptions of their pictures. Cindy Hasio, a student-teacher in Nancy's 8 March 2009 SchoolArts A School-Wide collaboration All in all, the project went smoothly. I must admit that getting through the number of students we did in three classroom, scanned students' artwork days would not have been possible so it would be ready to post online. without the cooperation of classroom teachers who permitted some of their Recording students to come to the recording I arrived at the school early each studio outside of art time, and others morning to set up the recording who excused students for returning to equipment. Over the course of three their classrooms late. days we were able to record twentyOne of the unexpected surprises six stories to accompany each stuthat occurred during this project was dent's picture. an interview by a local newspaper We decided to reporter. Subseturn a small refer- VoiceThread is an online tool quently, our Voiceence room in the to share images, documents, Thread project school's media ended up on the and videos and have center/library into front page of the conversations about them. Denton Recorda recording studio. This was benefiChronicle. Nancy cial for several reasons: (1) a number also sent students home with the web of students expressed concern about address for VoiceThread so that they having to record their stories in front were able to share the site with famof the whole class; (2) the small space ily and friends. of the reference room allowed us to To view students' work and hear better control ambient noise during their comments, go to voicethread. recordings; (3) the recording space com/?#q+Denton.b189859. was in close proximity to the artCraig Roland is associate professor of art room; and (4) most importantly, the education at the University of Florida in room we used had an Ethernet conGainesville and an advisory board memnection allowing access to the Web. ber for SchoolArts.

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