Teaching summer school to students who were mostly retaking the course allowed for some experimentation over the last few weeks.
The first is Comiqs.com. My students used this tool to summarize their understanding of the events of the French Revolution. I provided links to a number of French Revolution-related images and gave them a basic tutorial of the tool (which I had played with for about 20 minutes before giving the demo). From there the students put together short comic books, complete with voice bubbles and other text. The only problem that they experienced was about 5 of 35 students were unable to save and therefore publish their project. Saving errors were displayed causing them to lose some or all of their work. That number of students who had problems is somewhat concerning, especially if I used it during the school year with 120 students. The main lesson: save often. So even if something goes wrong, you don’t lose much. Given the amount of time I provided them (about two hours), I was happy with the final products. Like many of the other online multimedia Web 2.0 applications, you can embed the finish comic in your blog, web site, etc.
Below is an example. There is a lot more here.
The second tool my students used was Jumpcut. For this project students had to first read a number of poems written by World War I soldiers and select one. Next they reviewed hundreds of images from WWI from a list of image sites I provided them. They were specifically looking for visuals that connected to the imagery described in their poem. Once they had their images, they set up an account at Jumpcut.com (owned by Yahoo so you need a Yahoo login). Then they could import their photos and add their poem to the images. It also does video, but because of our time constraints, I did not have them even look at some of the cool WWI footage out there on the web. The editing process went very smoothly – many of the students have iMovie or Windows Movie Maker experience, and Jumpcut is even easier to user. Overall the editing is a bit clunky and doesn’t allow for much finesse. Adding the text was also a bit difficult in that you could only add a limited amount of text.
Here is a sample, click here for a bunch more.
During the regular school year my students actually write their own poems add images to the text at my WWI Poetry Wiki. If I can squeeze the time in, I would love for them to use Jumpcut in this same manner. Perhaps I could set up a record station and the students read their poems (you can add sound to your Jumpcut video) that immortalize their poems even further. To keep all the poems in a centralized location, the finished products could be embedded into the wiki.