Using Yodio for Digital Storytelling & Poetry

During the last few weeks of school, I had my students play with a few new-to-us web 2.0 storytelling tools that Alan Levine introduced in his 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story wiki. Although we first tried JayCut, many of the students couldn’t get the program to load, so we moved onto Yodio.

When students registered for a free account, they were asked to provide their email address (yes) and a cell phone number (NO!) which the user is expected to record from.  Instead, I had my students record what they wanted on each image as an mp3 using Aviary (part of their Google Apps) or Audacity.  The mp3 can then be uploaded and added to the appropriate image.

As students discovered the steps needed to create the mp3 and upload it to their Yodio, they added their “how to” steps into a shared google docs.  This is the part that I loved the best about discovering new programs – students sharing their learning.

We used Yodio to visualize their poetry. As part of our science unit on ecosystems and watersheds, our class had the opportunity to plant trees for our local conservation authority and a farmer. Afterwards, students wrote free-verse poetry on the experience, then chose relevant royalty-free images for their Yodio.  Students were guided to choose a an appropriate number of images based on the length of their poem, and then record their poem as an mp3.

Tyler’s Branches of Hope (embedded in his blog)

Kori’s Caring Hands (posted on the Yodio site)

We also used Yodio to digitalize a shared writing story.  Students were shown an image taken by Colin Jagoe and as a class we brainstormed ideas for the beginning, middle and end in a shared google doc (another Alan Levine idea). Students then moved into their chosen groups of 2 or 3 and wrote their story based on Colin’s image and any ideas from the shared google doc.  After the shared writing was completed, each group found additional royalty-free images for their story.  Next, they divided their story into a script and recorded it as an mp3.

Colin Jagoe: Holding the Line

Ed, Tanner & Tyler’s narrative: The Forest Race

Yodio provides embed codes that do not work however smoothly with WordPress.  It does however allow you to autopost, but that wasn’t my preferred option, since the entire blog post was published online as soon as you hit post.  I’d prefer it to be saved as a draft first for further editing.  As an alternative, you can do what I did, add a hyperlink to the Yodio site.

Now that we’ve got a good idea of how to use this program, and the students like it, I’ll add it as another option for my students to use in order to support their learning and presentation skills first term.

Unpacking from #Unplugd11

Sitting on the train, on the last leg home, I want to secure the magic of UnPlugd11. It’s nourishment that I’ll continue to reflect upon as I challenge myself in my personal and professional life.

Held at the Edge, a beautiful “off-the-grid” retreat in Algonquin Park, Unplugd11 was a three-day meeting of 37 Canadian education advocates – teachers, administrators, parents, trustees. We all came prepared with an essay and narrative entitled, “Why ________ Matters”, which we shared with our peers for further editing. No internet, no cell service, no devices. We were truly unplugged, but very much connected.

During the group meetings, the layers were peeled back as participants shared successes, stumbles, frustrations, questions, guidance and feedback. We were challenged to travel down new paths, even if they were steep.  Disturbance.  From “Cut the fat” and “Claim it, you’re the expert” to “I love you guys”. We recharged.

On a morning run down the long gravel road, out in the blue Swift canoe, sitting on the dock as the afternoon passed by. These were the settings that framed some of those moments when the magic appeared with these passionate collaborators. It was a place where I finally got to meet my teaching partner, and friend, Clarence Fisher, face-to-face.

Some of the first items on my list as I begin to unpack from the #unplugd11 process:

  • Read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, recommended to me by @Stephen_Hurley during an evening conversation.
  • Dig through the Livescribe instructional resources. First use for me, pencasts to support students in my triple-grade math class.
  • Put apples in my basket (@joevans)! Register & train for the Run-off-the-Grid trail race with Alana Callan on Sept.  24. If we can’t convince @charbeck to be our pace bunny, we’re counting on him for his continued inspiration. Anyone else in?
  • Absorb, reflect and question each message in the soon-to-be-published, “Why ___ Matters” essays. How does each message relate to my students, beliefs, and professional development?
  • Deepen connections with the participants, and other educators who push my thinking, as we continue to take risks in an effort to transform our practice for our students.

My friend, Andrew Forgrave recently wrote about unleashing creativity. “Frameworks and boundlessness need to co-exist. Discipline and chaos can sit side-by-side and juxtapose to make something.” Reassurance for taking risks. Moving forward with renewed confidence, I’ll share the messages that for me, define unplugd11. Thank-you Rodd, Ben and the entire organizing committee for a memorable experience.