CHATTERPIX AND THINGLINK: THE PERFECT COMBINATION?

Task: Students provided evidence of learning by uploading digital media to a shared image.  The videos were created with the Chatterpix app, which allows users to give any object the illusion of speaking.  After taking or uploading a picture, students drew a “mouth line” on the object, and recorded their narration of a problem or skill they generated on their own.  Chatterpix synchronizes the moving mouth of the object with the speaker’s voice, which can be very entertaining.  PAP students concentrated on probability, as they designed and solved problems using cards, dice, coins, popsicle sticks, jelly beans, and spinners.  Accelerated students recorded the skills they learned on the graphing calculator this week.  Once the videos were created, students launched the Thinglink app, and uploaded their creations to a common digital image pictured below.  Each class had its own image to upload media to.  By the end of class, the goal was for each student to have a video posted to the Thinglink image, resulting in a diverse set of learning experiences that everyone could share.

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Reflection: Today was truly a learning experience.  It was the classic case where the end result did not live up to my initial vision.  When I originally planned the lesson, I was excited about having an end product that would allow my students to learn from each other.  It was going to be the ultimate collaborative effort that we could only accomplish with the technology available to us.  There were several obstacles that prevented us from realizing my goal, but that does not take anything away from what the students accomplished.  The first sign of trouble was when the Chatterpix app could not transfer some of the videos to the Camera Roll.  Without this task, there was no way to upload the video to the Thinglink image.  Half of the iPads worked perfectly, but the other half prevented the class from having the experience of a complete Thinglink.  Our brilliant digital coach, Janie Stach was able to solve the problem by rebooting the iPads that didn’t work, but by then it was the end of the day and the students’ work was done.  However, next time I will be ready for this issue.  (Thanks Mrs. Stach!)

The next problem was with Thinglink.  I do not believe Thinglink was created to be edited by an entire class at the same time.  Videos that were posted to the image randomly disappeared and reappeared.  By the end of each class, we did not have a complete set of videos for the students to watch.  The most important part of the lesson was supposed to be when the students watched every video on their iPad.  They would see the complete puzzle put together by the class, and take pride in the piece they contributed to the project.  Instead, we ended up with a handful of videos that left out a big part of the complete learning picture.

Although we encountered unexpected difficulties, today was not without its successes.  First of all, Chatterpix was very popular with the students.  I saw so many creative ways to use the app.  Students found funny pictures on the web, drew talking whiteboards and desks, and experimented with the special effects of the app.  They made a big effort to ensure their presentations were entertaining and informative.  In addition, students demonstrated their knowledge of probability and graphing calculators verbally and in writing.  As I have mentioned before on this blog, communicating mathematical ideas and concepts is very powerful, and the Chatterpix app provided some much needed motivation for the students to show what they learned this week.  Even though we did not get the end product I was hoping for on Thinglink, the individual results proved there was a deep level of conceptual understanding, which made today successful in my opinion.

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Conclusion: Today was a reminder that I will need to be flexible when I start my digital classroom.  Technology will not always work as planned, just like our traditional lessons don’t always play out as we expect.  They key is being able to make quick adjustments that allow the students to accomplish the same objective.  Chatterpix is a great app that can be used for any subject.  It is user-friendly, and the students enjoy using it.  Now that I know how to troubleshoot the Camera Roll issue, I will not hesitate to use it again one day.  As for Thinglink, I need to make some adjustments to use it to its potential.  Next time, I will have each student create their own unique Thinglink image.  This should solve the problem of losing content with multiple editors.  I truly believe these apps were made for each other.  They are both easy to use, and Thinglink is the perfect platform for the creative Chatterpix videos.  At the end of the day, I was very excited about the quality of work I received, and the conceptual understanding of this week’s content that I observed.

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