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LISA MILLER JUNE, 2012 VoiceThread and Student Engagement.

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1 LISA MILLER JUNE, 2012 VoiceThread and Student Engagement

2 Inquiry Question What happens to the engagement of reluctant responders in my English 12 classes when I incorporate dialogic instruction into their units on Othello and All Quiet on the Western Front?

3 Definitions Engagement The frequency and depth of responses to literature-based questions Reluctant Responders Students who never or rarely volunteer an answer/ opinion and/or who give only superficial responses to these types of questions Dialogic Instruction The responsive interweaving of multiple voices in the “classroom” (whether this be physical or electronic) ~ Heintz et al (2010)

4 Increasing Flow and Depth…

5 Assessment Descriptors 1’s Body language is “reserved”; often a lack of eye contact after a question has been posed; answers tend to lack depth 2’s Readily respond with thoughtful answers but tend not to self-initiate their responses 3’s Frequently contribute to class discussions on their own initiative and their answers tend to be well thought out

6 The Usual Suspects… Technology Glitches The VoiceThread server was down the one afternoon I’d put aside to explore it. My first creation was cumbersome and visually unappealing. The computer lab at school was completely booked the week I needed it, so I had to rethink my presentation format. Participation Glitches No flow! My regular 12’s were clearly in stage 3 water restriction mode and required major prodding to begin posting.

7 Assumptions… 1.Students in an honours class are more likely to be “high flow” responders 2’s – 68% 1’s – 11%

8 2.Students who are “low flow” responders in an in- class, oral discussion setting will be more enthusiastic participants in an on-line, “anonymous” setting. Regular 12’s

9 Literacy as a Social Process “Those who write from a critical literacy perspective suggest that teachers need to uncover [the form of “literacy” that appeals most to each child] and that all voices in our classrooms need to be allowed to be heard, regardless of preference of medium” ~ William Kist (2007)

10 In general, the VT topics a) added to my appreciation of the literature. 42% (honors)52% (regular) b) took away from my appreciation of the literature. 0% (honours)5% (regular) c) did not influence my appreciation of the literature. 58% (honours)43% (regular)

11 In general, reviewing my peers’ responses a) added to my appreciation of the literature. 70% (honors)85% (regular) b) took away from my appreciation of the literature. 0% (honours)10% (regular) c) did not influence my appreciation of the literature. 30% (honours)5% (regular)

12 Back to the Question Frequency of the responses using VoiceThread: In both classes, the majority of “low flow” students produced a greater volume of responses to literature when I posed VoiceThread topics than when we had in-class discussions. The greatest increases in responses occurred amongst the “2’s” in my honours class, however.

13 Depth of the responses using VoiceThreads: The quality (depth) of the responses increased as their familiarity with the process increased Towards the end of each unit, students began commenting on each other’s posts without me making it a “requirement”

14 Preliminary Conclusions The use of VoiceThread increased the engagement of 60% of the 1’s in my regular class and of 33% of the 1’s in my honours class. The true potential of VoiceThread seems to lie in the richer peer-to-peer discussion it encourages. VoiceThread is a valuable teaching tool because it addresses multiple learning styles: students can leave written, verbal, or “kinesthetic” responses.

15 From the Students’ Perspectives… “I prefer VoiceThreads to in class discussion because I like having the time to reflect and I find it easier to write my opinions than voice them (when it comes to literature).” “Since there is not always enough time in class to have discussions, I like having another way to talk about stuff we’re doing in class.” I like listening to class discussions, but found VT’s to be more thought out and insightful.” “It gave me new ideas about the literature…[and] gives me a different perspective on what other people think…” “It makes the class interesting sharing ideas through a joined forum.”

16 Program Capacities Creative and Adaptive Educator I had never used this approach to literary discussion before o It has provided me with a new method for engaging more students o It tested my ability to incorporate technology in to my curriculum in a meaningful way Reflexive Practitioner Working through my own technology anxieties made me more attune to the “performance” anxieties I suspected many of my reluctant responders suffer from

17 Strategic Educator Before doing this field study I was skeptical of the meaningful role technology could play in my subject area One of my goals was to experiment with content delivery to see if this technology could have a positive impact on those students who rarely have anything to contribute about the literature we study

18 Works Cited Brunvand, Stein, and Sara Byrd. "Using VoiceThread to Promote Learning Engagement and Success for all Students." TEACHING Exceptional Children 43.4 (2011): 28-37. Print. Heintz, Anne, et al. "Video-Based Response & Revision: Dialogic Instruction using Video and Web 2.0 Technologies." Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 10.2 (2010): 175-196. Print. Kajder, Sara. Adolescents and Digital Literacies: Learning Alongside Our Students. Urbana, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English, 2010. Kist, William. New Literacies in Action: Teaching and Learning in Multiple Media. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005. Myers, Jamie, and Richard Beach. "Constructing Critical Literacy Practices through Technology Tools and Inquiry." Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 4.3 (2004): 257-268. Print

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