Wordle and Voki

I chose to work on the Wordle and Voki this week.  I feel that both of these tools have many uses in early elementary classrooms.  I enjoyed Wordle and see great potential for this tool.  First I explored the word clouds created from the Inaugural Addresses. What a great tool to compare texts.  I like that the product is a visual representation of the text.  It conveys the message of what could be a long (and sometimes boring) text into a visual representation that students can easily connect with.  For my lesson using Wordle, I focused on kindergarten standard K.8.  This standard addresses the idea of being a good citizen, one of the first topics covered in kindergarten.  I would use this tool as a culminating activity at the end of the unit.  For my word cloud, I enlisted the help of my children and nieces.  Each provided me with a list of words or phrases to describe what it means to be a good citizen.  The kids really enjoyed seeing the resulting word cloud.  The possibilities for Wordle seem endless even for the primary grades.  A great thing about Wordle is that it allows students to publish their work.  Publishing student work gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment.  When students have an authentic audience, they are more engaged in their work and more committed to their creation (Solomon & Schrum, 2010).  If I completed this activity with a class, I would display the word cloud in the classroom.  The class could then compare it to the classroom rules, noting similarities and differences.

My second mini-project for this week was the Voki.  This tool would also be useful in the primary grades, when students may still have difficulty reading text.  A Voki on a webpage allows students to be more independent and will help them feel more confident when working with technology.  My idea was to create several Voki characters based on Standard 1.2.  This Standard states that students will learn about American leaders with emphasis on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver and Eleanor Roosevelt.  A webpage with a Voki of each of these historical characters would be a great way for students to review concepts at the end of the unit, perhaps before a formal assessment.  Check out George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on my web portfolio.

I realized this week that we are halfway through the course.  I am amazed with all that I have learned already and am excited to see what the second half has to offer.  Although I have been frustrated with technology many times over the past 8 weeks, I have also been given numerous tools that will add great value to my classroom.

References

Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0 how-to for educators. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education.

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