In my adventures in iPad apps, I have consistently ran into the same problem. What do you do when you have a great app you would like students to use for a project when not all students have and iPad? In my iPad adventures, I have found that several of the Interactive Whiteboard apps have amazing potential to be linked to project-based learning but virtually all of them involve owning an iPad. Now, with the iPad 2 now selling for a cool $419.00, the price is dropping but the majority of students still do not possess these nifty devices.
So I began searching for apps that students could use on an iPad or on a computer. One of my administrators, directed me to a cool app called Voicethread. The program allows you to upload pictures and make handwritten annotations on the picture while also recording your voice or recording video. You can upload several pictures to make a sort of…well…story. As a language teacher, I thought that this would be a great tool to use for my Japanese class, so I pitched it as an optional way to complete the Japanese Festival Project in my Japanese 30 class. Many of the students opted out of using the new app and stuck with the familiar PowerPoint program but I did have a couple of students who gave the new program a shot and it made marking an absolute breeze! The students who used the program used it in two different ways. The first did it on her computer and was not able to make the written annotations but was able to record her voice while advancing through her uploaded pictures. The second student actually used his Blackberry tablet to complete the assignment and he was able to make written annotations while also recording his voice. While it was unfortunate that the written annotations were not available using a computer, I was pleased that a $199 device like the Blackberry tablet was able to incorporate this feature (a world of caution…one thing that some of you may not like about Voicethread is that you are not able to get the video as a file. You instead, have to share the link which does not allow you to save the video file. Although this is typical to almost all of the interactive whiteboard apps out there, it is still something that I believe limits the flexibility of this particular application. In addition, if you want to see one of the videos that your student has shared with you, you must already have a Voicethread account to watch the video.).