Connecting Voice

Today Kevin via #CLMOOC’s daily connect asked us to consider adding a recording. It was from an older session where podcasting was the goal. The result was there were not many takers. He posed it again this year and offered vocaroo as a quick way to record. I started thinking as it resonated with the idea of “voice” and “choice”. Why weren’t there takers? Certainly it couldn’t have been the tool as there can be no simpler online tool. I wonder if it goes deeper. I’m reminded of an activity I did with students – no matter the age the results upon hearing their voices was always laughter or in some cases, absolute horror. It was how their voices sounded that was affecting them. Singers are taught to listen to themselves and others. But we aren’t, so listening to ourselves is a new experience. It’s something to take into consideration when we ask our students to record themselves reading a passage or practicing a speech. We may want to connect the term “voice” as an instrument, with the ability to adjust with practice how it sounds. If I stuck with this analogy, then the content we speak are the musical scores leaping off pages.

So to dive in, here’s my #DailyConnect. I use Online-Voice-Recorder, which gives a cleaner recording and offers a bit of extras and  just as simple to use. (On ipad, we use VoiceRecordPro.)


Add Layers to Images to Create New

Have you hunted high and low for the perfect image to use? Besides trying to photograph the image there are many options with varying levels of complexity that can be taken. I lean towards simple, yet with a small bit of


My last post, “Intro to #CLMOOC” used a bunch of images in a collage and
accented with thumbtacks (to create a more defined area for additional information to pop. I used (an online image editor) Collage and Overlays.

In Collage view, import your images. I decided on using an Andy Warhol effect (done by first individually editing the original image of paths with a variety of EFFECTS).


When you select EDIT COLLAGE, you return to the original picmonkey view. Select Overlay for choices. Since I preferred my own thumbtack image, I chose OWN. (Be aware that you need to use png files so they can be layered without showing any of those white box areas you normally would get using a jpg file.



The final image looks like this, which can be downloaded.path_4square_ed

However, while this may be fairly simple, I prefer to add a few more skills without making it onerous. This doesn’t even require access to the internet. Rather than looking for png graphics, why not make them yourself? Then you can be really flexible especially if the images are of simple shapes, like a thumbtack.

This process uses paint.NET (a simpler version of photoshop), which can be downloaded for free and MS Word. (AAAhh, I can foresee these images in powerpoints or a host of other venues…)
Click here for the instructions. We’ve done this with elementary students and they’ve been really successful.

Creating a Maker Space With Heart

summer funI’ve been part of an online MOOC – Making Learning Connected on google plus (#clmooc on Twitter) this summer.  OK maybe participating is a bit overboard as I haven’t been able to do many of the activities. Summer schedule of in-and-out travel has curtailed access; however I’ve loved poking in at every chance. I’ve gained access to a growing bank of tools (some I’ve used, others brand new) and how people are using them to create. I also get a chance to view peoples thinking process as comments are open and honest – yes I’m more interested in the “fails” than the polished product.

The idea of “Maker Movement” has taken on with lightening speed. While no stranger to new things I’m blown away by how many content areas can relate with the overall process (literacy, arts, science, music, social studies). It certainly allows all the kinesthetic crafty people an opportunity to play. And maybe that is what I find appealing – the opportunity to play and explore without the stress of having to be perfect. (My primary teachers would say “play  is the work”.) Or maybe it’s the sense of community I find here – everyone is incredibly supportive and generous in both ideas and suggestions. The leaders have made life super easy to connect whether on G+, Twitter, on blogs… in whatever spaces you inhabit.

Having been a part of other MOOCs (all well designed), there is something quite different about this one that makes me wanting to return. It is the mix of discovery and community that bring learners together. There’s a lesson here for our classrooms.  I doubt that the sense of community happened without a lot of thought and planning ( shoutout to those brilliant facilitators). Creating an environment that is inclusive of every skill level and all risk levels is extremely challenging – any teacher can atest. So many people talk about the importance of community, yet don’t discuss the hows or whys. What’s unique here is that this community invites you to experience the community of learners as equal participants. Though there are goals, the flow nature drives the journey making one feel almost anything is possible. They model connectedness (reminds me of the work of my friend Bev Ogilvie at where creating relationships are foundational) by doing it transparently. You can live it through their live Hangouts – they question themselves, they share experiences from perspectives, they honour each other in their comments. The same is reflected in the G.Plus community. Comments are enticing, challenging, yet extremely supportive. Learning and “can do” success happens in these safe environments.

The challenge will be to actively and purposefully create these environments in our workplaces where discovery and community go hand-in-hand. Interested in thoughts you have around this or for other examples you’ve encountered or even for questions you have?