Your talent scouting has hopefully provided you with a great location for your class narrative and perhaps you have even plotted the journey the main protagonists will take during the tale. What’s next? Today we continued our Google Earth storytelling as we added audio to the placemarks.
In my opinion children’s writing, whether digital or otherwise, can be greatly improved through the use of purposeful speaking and listening activities about the narrative prior to doing any individual work. Photostory and online resources like Voicethread provide us with a great set of tools to allow technology to further impact in this process. My aim in planning this unit was to include audio within the children’s Google Earth placemarks, I wanted their rehearsed, spoken parts of the story right in the place it happens.
Noel Jenkins must have been on my wavelength as at much the same time he posted on the excellent Digital Geography about the use of Vocaroo and audio notes in Google Earth. Vocaroo is simply ideal for classroom use and it could not be any easier to use. No login or sign-up, no profile or saved content – just hit record and then grab the code to embed elsewhere. Here is how to add audio to a GE placemark.
My class of 30 9/10 year olds went through this process today as we explored the 6 placemarks in the story we wanted to use for the story. I wanted to keep these the same for everyone so that we had some control over what people were doing and so that we could also share ideas amongst the class. They found the process simple, the audio is not great, but it is so easy to do it’s worth it. The Vocaroo site held up very well with 30 children working on it at much the same time.
It was a great lesson and the children will have some more time tomorrow refining their audio and perhaps adding a second piece of audio improving and building upon the sentences they did today. I worked with a small group of boys on a shared story – we had so much fun telling parts of the escape and adding chicken sound effects for the location in the last image above. I encourage you to give this a try and the clear potential for a huge variety of stories situated in Google Earth is boundless!
The next steps will be to refine some of the audio as I said and to begin to add some written text in the placemark that is scaffolded by the use of the Vocaroo recordings.
This is part 2 of a series of posts documenting our Google Earth Storytelling unit.