Playing with PhotoStory as a Vodcast Platform

Having got my experimental blogger podcast underway and working, I decided to play with a few of the other tools I have been using with the students in class this year and to see how these might be used to make a simple vodcast that could be developed and embedded into a series of classroom activities. Taking inspiration from the work Anthony has done this week on the new literacy framework and bearing in mind the multimodal and cross curricular nature of this new documentation, I chose to play with a script I had already uploaded as an audiocast, about Henry VIII and his six wives.

Exploring the life and times of the monarch will be an extension of first term work exploring the lives of ordinary folk who lived during a period of time presided over by the Tudor Royal Family. Chronology, supporting a sense of time, change over and location in time are essential skill sets and concepts to be developed through the context of a historical investigation, but as well as their historical context these ideas are also mathematical in nature, so the use of timelines to support the sequential ordering of events from the period, needs linked not only to the historical aspects of the theme but also to measuring and telling the time through the creation of personal timelines and timetables that support the practical use of appropriate language, and which in turn can can be drawn upon to support work around recount organisation within literacy focussed sessions .

Chronological ordering and the use of timelines will be integral to the Literacy and ICT activities which stem from it, and this is where the vodcast example comes in, in using PhotoStory I have engaged with a recount, but rather than writing and presenting it in oral text format, I have extended this to create a short documentary about the life of Henry.

The images I have used were downloaded from the web, following a search for Henry VIII and his six wives, they can also be found on pages linked from the Y3 community pages on our school website, and from the history section of the school resource bank.

Having a script already I used these images with Photostory and imported them before using the "timeline," to sequence them by drag and drop. With the students however getting to this stage in the process will require classroom preparation time and planning. It will also require us to set up the final project in stages as we go. Since this will be their first time using PhotoStory, I will probably choose images before hand and rename them to match the characters, in a shared folder, for use in the skills teaching part of the process that will support the progressive preparation of the PhotoStory documentary Project.

While introducing photostory as a tool to develop the final documentary idea I will want to engage the students with the genre and help them prepare their scripts in class. So I will prepare the ground, by printing out copies of the images that the students can use practically in table top, sequencing and ordering activities to construct a storyboard (timeline of events). Engaging with the original written text and the audio text I have included in my Podcast we will organise the images and begin to explore and identify the structural features of a recount, gradually applying these to plan and develop a script to support the story presented by the images and experienced through shared text activity. By placing the emphasis on telling the story, we will be shifting the focus on the purpose of the students written text to support the audiences engagement with the images they are using, and enabling discussion of how the language and structural features we use will be presented and performed in order to engage their listeners or viewers. This will provide opportunities to review other visual documentaries, such as those available on Espresso, or perhaps engage with, explore and evaluate the presentation techniques used in the oral delivery of news based recounts from for example Newsround.

Alongside this we can begin to introduce PhotoStory in the suite and extend work within the classrooms ICT area, as the children import the images and sequence them chronologically on the time line. We can also use the prepared vodcast file and perhaps a Powerpoint Show on the IWB to support text level work as we rehears, and share scripts as we prepare them while thinking together as a class, about the features of voice we need to use in recording our own documentaries, for our vodcasts episodes as the final writing outcome of the unit. The students can also spend time rehearsing and preparing with the purpose of the presented outcome secure their texts for recording, before working together in groups to use the direct audio recording tool in PhotoStory, to narrate their documentaries.

The presented PhotoStory Project on my podcast experiment had to be converted to quick time format from .wmv the native export format generated by Photo Story at Zamzar, before I uploaded it to my webspace, and linked it into the blog for feed.

Podomatic will also accept .mov files, so once the photostory files have been exported to windows media video, these will also need to be converted to quick time files (.mov). once you have your files from Zamzar, saved to the computer these can then be uploaded and integrated into your podcast station there. The classroom process I have described above is I think more than plausible, if we see the ICT used as supporting or stemming from our Literacy and Historically based classroom tasks. The outcome is also potentially quite powerful. The latter part of the process as described seems convoluted, but after my trial and error process in getting here is now actually a lot easier than it may first appear. Here are my current experimental files from the Podomatic Space.

Click here to get your own player.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Hi Simon,

Great use of PhotoStory with Zamzar and Podomatic.

You could also use SlideCast or VoiceThread to do the same thing. Have a look at these examples:

Have a look at these tutorials for using FlickrStorm with PhotoStory. They're great. I've put them on my VodPod blog widget.

Here is a post about 50 tools for digital storytelling. Enjoy!: