Lubo's Dream - First Grade English by Katie Stover
By Katie Stover
This is a great example of the use of VoiceThread because it showcases young students who want their voices to be heard. As part of my dissertation research, first graders used VoiceThread to publish their writing to advocate for social justice with a wide audience beyond the four walls of the classroom. In their VoiceThread titled, Lubo’s Dream, a group of first graders tell the story of a former Lost Boy named Lubo who is working to raise money to build a school in his home village in South Sudan. The first graders use VoiceThread as a way to bring awareness to Lubo’s cause and persuade people to participate.
I knew from the onset that I wanted students to publish their writing using VoiceThread but I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. Once students selected a writing topic and created a traditional book, we took pictures of the pages of the book and uploaded them to VoiceThread. Each student then recorded him/herself reading the pages. In many cases, they elected to rerecord to improve their oral reading. When the students were pleased with the recorded reading, we published the book and shared it with the students’ families, the community, and other educators.
The goal of the project was to raise awareness about Lubo’s cause to raise money to build a school in his home village in South Sudan. Through the use of writing and recording their voices using VoiceThread, first grade students were able to share Lubo’s story with a wider audience outside of the four walls of their classroom. In the end, they successfully raised enough money to pay for approximately 80 cement blocks for the foundation of the school.
The entire process was very easy which is one of the reasons I selected VoiceThread as an online space to publish the students’ writing.
We were disappointed with the lack of comments and realized that even though it was viewed by many people, they did not leave feedback because they either didn’t have an account, didn’t know how to set up an account, or didn’t want to take the time to set up an account.
I highly recommend the use of VoiceThread in the classroom. In fact, I conducted another study to see how teachers across the grade levels (K-12) used VoiceThread with their students and saw numerous examples of effective implementation. VoiceThread is a fun and engaging online tool that has the potential to enhance students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills which are all important components of the new Common Core State Standards. The use of VoiceThread meets the key technology standards as well. We learned that VoiceThread is an effective tool to improve students’ reading and writing skills. For instance, the ability to listen to themselves read and rerecord provided students with an opportunity for self-evaluation and growth. We also learned that students were highly motivated to use technology and publish their writing for an authentic audience. They couldn’t wait to send the link to family and friends who live across the miles. Knowing that they were writing for a public audience beyond that of the teacher motivated students to do their best writing… and they did!