Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reflection on student videoscribe projects

My sixth-graders are about to finish up a project using Videoscribe to create plot diagrams. Working cooperatively, they have created original images to represent the main events in a novel they read, written a script for the events, and placed the events on a plot diagram in the form of a movie. Today I hope my students will be able to AirDrop me their product.

We have two more steps as a class. The first is to debrief. I intend to ask the students about the problems they encountered and prod them for solutions or ways they can foresee these problems in the future. The second step as a class is a celebration party where we look at all of the finished products. I hope to post them on a blog I just created for student work (empty still) at

Here are some of the lessons about cooperative work and technology that I have observed with my students. I look forward to hearing their feedback about what they think did not go as planned and what did.

1.     During class, students may need to call parents for passwords.
This is okay.

2.     Some students will be technologically ahead of others.
While using videoscribe, one group realized that they could not pause while recording audio and video. They realized they could record their audio using quicktime instead and then import it and match it to their pictures. This was a good solution for them.

Another group with a similar problem tried using vokaroo, but it would not import for them.

And a third student is still struggling with the fact that he can’t pause videoscribe while recording audio and video. He hasn’t figured out that he should use a different application for recording audio. (In the end, he found a very good workaround.)

3.     Students don’t think of the same workarounds that I do.
One student found that her app would only record for five minutes. Instead of seeking a different app that would allow her to work longer, she made two separate recordings. In my mind, I was thinking, “Why don’t you use Quicktime instead?” I think Quicktime would have provided a better alternative because she could have accomplished the same task with one file and no significant additional work, but my students don’t know about using Quicktime this way. The bigger problem, in this case, is that they don’t seek out better answers and they don’t use each other as resources.

4.     Trial apps expire.
While I love the app Videoscribe, the cost is high, so we used the trial version which was only valid for seven days. I alerted students numerous times that they had only seven days with the app, and that they should not download the program until they were ready to record, but several students had their trial expire becaue the timing was off.

My students realized they could email the app creator and get a two-day extension (kudos, students!), but that did not last long because Videoscribe was getting too may emails from sixth grade students in Korea and started emailing back that he would not extend their trials.

5.     Students will need extra time.
My sixth-graders don’t have great time management skills. They have had plenty of time in class to complete this project. They spent too much time on the drawing part and did not foresee that the later parts of the project would take time. Because of this, it has been a rush to finish last minute, even with extensions.

6.     Students have trouble finding time outside of class to work cooperatively.
My students had ample time outside of class to work, but as sixth graders who don’t necessarily live near one another, there are factors other than time at play. Many students were away for the past week on Lunar Break.

Others live far enough away from each other that they can’t work cooperatively if it means they have to be in the same room. This is a big problem with Videoscribe. My students are used to cooperative work using google docs, with enormous flexibility, so they can easily spot the limitations in Videoscribe.


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Albert brain said...

That’s a really interesting article.

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