Best of 2013 So Far…Four Good Ways to Use Media In Classroom Blogs

We’re half-way through 2013. Like I’ve done in years past, this week I’ll be featuring some of the best new tech tools of 2013 as well as some of the most popular posts of the year.

Watching videos and commenting on them or looking at a picture and
commenting on it are the most common ways that teachers have students
use media in blog posts. There is definitely value in those activities
as they do get students to think, write, and share. These are some other
ways to think about using media in your classroom blog.

SoundCloud is a great tool for creating short
audio recordings. Those recordings can be embedded into blog posts. The
feature of SoundCloud that makes it worth using instead of just
embedding a recording from another service is that listeners can tie
their comments to an exact moment in a SoundCloud recording. This means
that if something twelve seconds into the recording triggers a thought
in a students’ mind she can tie that comment to that exact moment. I’ve
seen SoundCloud used by world languages teachers who have students make
short recordings and post them on a classroom blog. The teacher then
used the comment tool to give feedback to students.

is a free tool for creating interactive images. To create an
interactive image upload an image from your computer to your ThingLink
account. After uploading the image you can add pins to the image. Each
pin that you add to your image can include a video clip, a link to
another site, a SoundCloud recording, a block of text, or another image.
You can make your images collaborative by allowing others to add pins
to the image. Images can be embedded into blog posts for students to
view and or add their own pins. A few of the ways that I’ve seen
ThingLink used by teachers is to have students add multimedia labels to
diagrams of cells, to label geographic features, and to label historical
images like that of the signing of the declaration of independence.

VoiceThread and Narrable
provide platforms for uploading images and hosting discussions around
them. VoiceThread offers more commenting options than Narrable, but I
find Narrable easier for new users to master. Both tools allow you to
embed your image-based stories into blog posts where students can
comment on those images. Students will have to have an account to do
this. VoiceThread allows three free projects before requiring you to
upgrade to a paid plan. Narrable gives you one project before requiring
you to upgrade to a paid plan.

Your classroom blog doesn’t have
to be serious all the time. In fact, one of the ways that I used to make
one of my blogs more appealing to students was to embed a game and or
entertainment news widget into the side column of my blog’s homepage.
One semester I had a group of students that enjoyed playing simple games
online so I would grab a free game embed code from Novel Games
and put it on my blog. A couple of years ago I put a news widget, a
sports stories widget, and a TMZ feed on my blog. My goal in doing these
things was to give students another reason to visit the blog besides
just, “Mr. Byrne said we have to visit the blog.”


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!