Sunday, July 13, 2014

Adobe Voice Virtual Vocabulary Process and Class Summary

This is a screen shot of the window that opens for the Adobe Voice video to play in.
For my project I decided to do a virtual vocabulary, where I could present spoken vocabulary words, online to support my ELL students.  I wanted to do one video, containing all of the vocabulary words, for each of the 9 units of our 9th grade Foundations in Physics classes.  I am in the process of writing our new science curriculum, as we are converting to the NGSS standards with the coming school year.  My preference was having the vocabulary lists in video form so that I could upload or link them to my class website.  I wanted them to include the word in English, the word in Spanish, a sentence, a definition and a picture.   One of the major reasons I chose this project was I wanted something elegant and simple, that I could actually get done in a shorter amount of time, so at least one piece of the new curriculum, the vocabulary, would be completed.  This project helps me with four of the major areas I am concentrating on for my classes right now;  1) Converting to/writing the Next Generation Science Standards curriculum, 2) Supporting my ELLs better, in particular in the areas of speaking and listening,  3) Adding more vocabulary support, and 4) Continuing to add resources to my class website for my students to access outside of class. 

From a curricular perspective, the reason to do a vocabulary list this way is to give my ELLs the extra support they need with what is one of the most challenging parts of my course.   Some of my ELLS are reluctant to speak and use their physics words in class because they don't know how to pronounce them.  This method of presenting the words supports my students' listening and speaking skills as well as their reading and writing skills.  The virtual vocabulary list gives them a chance to practice as much as they want outside of class.  It also gives them a chance to practice in private without any peer pressure.  

I was very fortunate to find the Adobe Voice app.  It is a slick user friendly app, that in my experience is bug free.  Voice combines pictures, text and recorded voice in an easy to use, elegant format.   The only faults I can find with Voice are that I can only include two lines of text, and that I can not upload my videos to YouTube from Voice.  Videos have to be watched through the link Adobe sends you, as they are compiled onto an Adobe owned website.  

I can see many additional possible educational uses for this program; from story books read to children to storybooks made by children.  I will definitely have using it as an option for future projects that my students do.  The ability to add narration to the slide show makes it ideal for classes with ELLs or foreign language classes.  I am very interested to see where Adobe goes with this program in the future.  Being familiar with Adobe I am sure this is just the beginning with this product.  Hopefully it will come out on other platforms besides iPad in the near future.

Due to Adobe Voice's ease of use I have already completed 4 of the 9 unit videos that I need to get done for next year.  The other five are started and more than half way finished.  I just need to review my textbooks and notes to make sure my vocabulary lists are complete and then fill in the missing words.  One of the joys of using Adobe Voice is that I can edit the videos at any point after I am using them, if I want to add words or think of any changes, as I continue to work on the curriculum.  In the meantime it is great to have one piece of the curriculum almost done.  Because of the limitations of Voice I could not add definitions for each word, only sentences.  I decided to look upon this as a positive as it keeps the text simple which is better for my ELL students.  

With my Pecha Kecha presentation I deviated from the Pecha Kecha format as I made mine more like the classic PowerPoint with words and animations.  If I had known when I made it, what I knew now, about Pecha Kecha I would have just done large pictures or split screen pictures.  Although I would have spent a significant amount of time looking for and picking out my pictures, this would have been much less work than the way I did it.  My problem with using just big pictures in my presentation is it wouldn't have detailed and communicated my project and process to the rest of the class as well as I would have liked.  Although I enjoyed the challenge of doing this format I don't think it (at least doing it right) is the best format for a final project like this.  I didn't think it made sense to show a presentation about short videos without at least showing a short piece of the videos.  My slide show was set to show a less than 20 second clip of one of  my videos but it didn't work at presentation time.  I do think Pecha Kecha is an awesome format for possible assignments in my class however and I'm sure it will be a format choice for my student projects in the future. I just need to make sure that I match the project requirements to the format.  

There was a lot of other exciting learning that went as I was working on this project.  I found some other great apps while I was searching to find one that would work for my project.  I learned how to do animations and Smart Art in PowerPoint while making my presentation.  I also refamiliarized myself and fell in love with my iPad again.  I hadn't used it for teaching in a few years.  I resorted and organized my apps and loaded some of the new apps we talked about and some I found in the search.  I am going to try to switch for next year so my iPad is my primary for class and my computer is my secondary.  The iPad is easier to carry around my classroom and, since our student information system is now completely online, I can input grades and checks as I walk around my classroom.  Imputting them directly to the iPad saves me the step of transfering them from paper.  This will help me with my goal to work smarter and not harder.

With what I have learned about digital media and its use from this class I have many more tools that I can use to make sure my students become "digital natives" who understand digital media and its uses.  It is my responsibility to make sure that I use the tools at my disposal appropriately in order for my students to learn and communicate content rather then just "how to make cool videos."  I also have to make sure my students view the media critically.  I loved all the discussion around the topic of Disney Princesses but at first did not think I could take it to my physics class.  I later realized that a perfect way to bring critical consumption of the media into my class would be a few lessons on the "image of the scientist in the media."   I think doing that might be a great hook in the very first days of class since one of my goals is for all of my students to be scientists and think like scientists.  

I guess I will leave with a few questions:
What does a scientist look like?  How do you know?
I see a curated collection of media in my future!




  1. I cannot wait to use to use this to create vocabulary cards with my students. I'm so glad that you were able to have the word in Spanish and have it used in a sentence. Not only does this promote reading and vocabulary skills, but their listening skills as well since they can hear the word being pronounced.

  2. Great reflection on the strengths and struggles of this project! I really hope it proves useful for you and your students in September!

    1. Thank you so much Lesley. Class with you was really a great joy. I can't remember when I've enjoyed a class more or learned more that I could actually apply immediately. I have loads of ideas from your class that I am excited about trying in my class. I hope in the future we get to work together again.