Photopeach is an online interactive slide show maker.
Take a look at this short slide show by Clare: http://photopeach.com/album/16y6v8n
This collaborative research project from 2 years ago was eye-opening for me in terms of how motivating digital presentations could be and reinforced my early interests in Web2.0. When I met with the classroom teacher, we decided to divide the lessons into these parts:
I would help with:
- finding a “just right” book on each student’s chosen animal
- using the IWB to show how to find important words and ignore the rest
- making sure that the notes included the elements chosen by the class (habitat, diet, features)
- reinforcing the idea of crediting the author
- making the slide shows with the help of 4th and 5th grade Library/Tech helpers
The classroom teacher handled:
- guiding the questioning process to define the information sought
- writing the notes into rough drafts and helping with edits
- giving the class time to make big posters
We discussed having the class choose online images, but we both felt that their drawings were good and the process of drawing and explaining the content solidified their understanding. After the class finished writing and drawing, I showed my upper elementary library helpers how to take pictures of different parts of the posters, how to upload the images to Photopeach and how to type the sentences into the caption boxes. We had a few parent volunteers and the whole process went very quickly. I think I did Clare’s in 7 minutes!
Although Photopeach allows you to choose background music in the 2nd step of the process, we pulled individual students out of class and let them choose their music as we edited the choice. Also, students read aloud to the “keyboarding helpers” as they typed the sentences.
Finally, we sent home the links to parents and had a viewing session to project the shows for the class. Here’s where it got interesting. When we showed the slide shows, even the slowest struggling reader focused hard on the scrolling words and praised each show. The classroom teacher said she had never seen such absorption in reading text on a screen. Then she asked if we could work together again on integrating technology. From being one of the most technology averse teachers in the school, she has become willing to try new things and ask for help! I’ll be showing some of our Skype sessions to the faculty next month.
This project also marked the first time that I asked for – and got – a company to add features! I emailed Photopeach and asked if they could add the ability to slow the speed of scrolling text and they were wonderfully responsive.
Looking back on this project, I see only a few things I would have done differently. Now I let students take the pictures for projects whenever possible. Also, although I think it is efficient to have the whole group learning the basic note-taking steps together, I like the idea of following up on this early research activity with another one in which each student follows their own interest and builds their own note-taking template.It is tempting to have 2nd graders type their own sentences, but with many students this quickly becomes a matter of volunteers and I pointing to every letter so the student can touch it ….
There are plenty of other slideshow makers, but Photopeach is one of my favorites for its ease of use and simple steps.