Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer Reading 2.0 Part II

As I mentioned in my June 27 blog post, I wasn’t too happy with the summer reading options I posted on June 11. I have been trying to come up with an alternative that would not require gobs of code writing. In my quest, I was reminded of VoiceThread, which is a simple discussion board that accepts visual threads (images or video) to which registered members can post text, video or voice (microphone or mobile phone) comments.

So, It is done. Last week, we posted our summer reading list to a thread in VoiceThread. Each book is posted there, with a link to its LibraryThing post and a description posted by Ms. Block, from the NCHS library. I also added more books. Students and teachers have been emailing me about what they have been reading and I added those books too.

You do need to register to post comments on VoiceThead. All you need is a name, an email address and a password. I urge students to use the same password they use for the NCPS network (what they use to log on to a NCPS computer).

VoiceThread is fun and really easy to use (see instructions, if you need extra help). You can post your comments using your voice, video or text. If your computer has a built –in mic and webcam, it is a piece of cake. You just click on the record button or the webcam icon and record. If your computer does not have a mic, you can just use your phone to record. All you have to do is click on the phone icon, and enter your area code and phone number. VoiceThread will call you within minutes. When you answer, it will give you instructions, but basically, it tells you to record your comments after the beep, and then hang up. Your comments will instantly appear on the thread.

Please continue to email at me about books you are reading, if they are not already posted to the New Canaan High School Summer Reading 2008 thread. Please post comments about what you are reading to our VoiceThread. As promised, participating students will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 iTunes gift certificate. I will also give a list of participating students to all New Canaan High School English teachers in the fall.

Happy reading!


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