For a recent assignment in my Information and Learning Technologies class (for which this website and blog was created), I chose to check out an educational sharing website called Vialogues.com. I chose it because at the beginning of the course we were asked to create an account for it, and it seemed like an interesting and easy way to teach video literacy. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I believe that technological literacy is the future (hence, the grad program of choice), and if standardized tests like PARCC are any indication, students will be expected to collect information and compare the structure of written text versus visual text for much of their educational lives. After all, aren’t they both core resources in terms of research?
Here is my humble review of the website and how I think it could be used:
The purpose of the website is to create discussion through video. A moderator can post their own video, or a pre-existing one, and then add questions, polls, or comments throughout the video. After deciding whether the video is private or public, your audience or group members can contribute to the discussion by responding and adding comments of their own.
- One feature that I really like is that anytime you post a question or comment, the time of the video when posted appears at the beginning of text, so your viewers can easily return to that point of the video at any time to respond to that question or comment. This will definitely be handy for students who need to watch a couple of times in order to fully process the information. For example, I created a vialogues discussion with an Edgar Allan Poe biography. One of my questions was about to explain how Tuberculosis, although never having contracted it himself, greatly affected Poe’s life. Although I posted this question early in the biography, my students will be able to return to the very first mention of TB after having watched the entire video with this question in mind.
- I also like that you can post polls with multiple choice answers. I see this as purely fun, although I suppose it could be used as practice for students to evaluate the text with pre-determined responses. At the end of my Poe biography video, I created a poll asking which actor they thought should play him in a movie (choices were Daniel Radcliffe, Johnny Depp, Jared Leto, and Kit Harrington. Even though John Cusak has played Poe before, I left him out as I tragically do not think my 8th graders would know who the hell I was talking about).
- As a moderator, a teacher can create specific groups by adding a title, video, and a collective of usernames. This will come in handy so that I can have each class start a fresh conversation for each of my blocks.
I think Vialogues is a great educational tool and I’m excited about using it. Once my students get signed up and logged on, they can participate in discussions from videos I post or even post their own videos and get feedback from other students. As a lesson, it’ll be an awesome way to present content and questions for students who can then move at their own pace. This is great for my mission to help teachers save time and avoid hassle while providing engaging, differentiated, technology-based learning to their students. It’s also a great sub-plan as it is a shiny new tool to get caught up in while watching a video and answer rigorous questions instead of throwing erasers at the sub (true story).
Here’s the Edgar Allan Poe biography vialogue I created for my class this week! Feel free to take a look at how the discussion works and answer questions or leave comments to get a feel for it.