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You’ll hardly ever find my students using technology without a good reason. There’s always an important learning objective at the core of what they’re doing. In fact, I’ve been working hard to stick to the principles of “backwards design,” at least as I understand them. What I mean is that I don’t just randomly use technology or introduce the “next big thing.” Instead I start with an objective, the thing I want the kids to be able to do when all is said and done, and THEN I figure out how technology can support and enhance that. Being deliberate and intentional in my planning isn’t something I’m perfect at, but I’m working on it.
That being said, an added bonus of having kids use technology to help them achieve learning objectives is that it can be pretty fun. Take, for example, a book project we did earlier this year. I had a small group of kids reading the classic mystery novel The Westing Game. One of my objectives was characterization. I wanted the readers to pay attention to characters, analyze their personalities, notice how they change, and make inferences about them. So my project at the end was for them to create a “talking photo” of some of the characters using Blabberize.
Here’s how it worked:
Students chose 3 characters from the book. Then they were given this prompt:
Once that was done, they moved on to creating their “talking photo” using Blabberize. They found Creative Commons images to match their character, uploaded them to Blabberize, and brought them to life by recording their answer to the prompt.
They did a great job, met the objective regarding characters, and had a ton of fun, creating some pretty hilarious talking photos. Here’s are a few that turned out well:
I thought this was a great culminating activity following the reading of a fairly complicated book. I think whether it’s talking characters or historical figures or whatever else you can think of, adding a dash of fun using Blabberize could work out really well for your students. If you’d like to read more about Blabberize and another talking photo site, Fotobabble, check out this post. And be sure to subscribe to our blog for more stories From the Classroom!