Friday, January 27, 2012

Puppet Pals, the iRig microphone and digital storytelling projects

Since I first posted about it back in March 2011, I haven't actually used Puppet Pals again with my students at school. On 19 January, 2012, Wes Fryer posted on his blog "Moving at the Speed of Creativity" about his experience of using Puppet Pals with an afterschool program at his church. He has some good suggestions for making the process work smoothly. One interesting detail in his post is the fact that he has uploaded 3 student-made videos. One of them was recorded using an iRig microphone. The others used the microphone in the iPad. Clearly there was background noise going on in all three videos, but the one recorded with the iRig microphone is noticeably a MUCH better recording! I have the luxury of working with small groups of students and a small, quiet, space to work in most of the time but after seeing/hearing these videos on Wes' blog I think I'd like an iRig microphone anyway - and for working in a regular classroom where several groups might be working at the same time I would DEFINITELY want a good microphone. I will certainly be recommending to the classroom teachers I work with that they try to get one. At $59.99 apiece maybe DonorsChoose can help!

Wes also commented on the need to get the students to plan their play. I agree with him 100% when he says:
"With just about any multimedia project, getting students to plan, get organized, and in some cases WRITE is the hardest part of the entire experience. It’s also the most important, however, because it contributes the most to the eventual success and quality of the project."
Lisa Johnson, blogging at techchef4u, has written a very helpful article on using Puppet Pals with students. Her suggestions for topics to use with Puppet Pals would work equally well with many of the other storytelling apps.

If you are looking to sell the idea of more technology to your school/school district, storytelling projects like this clearly show the students using important skills for academic success - planning, writing, organizing . . . And yet, despite the work that goes into a project like this, most students will still perceive the project as being fun.