Growth and learning does not come without challenges...
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I hope you have enjoyed my reflective slideshow. As I have challenged myself to offer a variety of communication tools to share my reflections I can say this week’s choice was not my first intention. I had a vision to provide a slideshow with embedded speech whereby the viewer could select a voice button and listen to my reflections while viewing the slide image. I searched throughout the internet in hoping to find an open source avenue that would offer me a viable tool to meet my expected task. I was sadly disappointed. This week’s content talked about open source content and sharing; the overarching perspective that there are an array of tools widely available. However, I was unsuccessful in locating an open source tool to fit me need in totality. Frustration would be a term that described my emotions.
The tool that I wanted to use was called Voice Thread, however the cost ranged from
$79-$99. If I was currently teaching in the online environment, the purchase would have been completed; it was the exact tool I needed, but it had a hefty price tag attached. Since I am not in the position to use such a tool at this time with regularity, I needed to sadly pass by the option.
It remained very important that a free resource could be used. As CGP Gray points out within Digital Aristotle: Thoughts on the Future of Education, for a technology tool to make a dramatic effect in education, it must be inexpensive, easily accessible and hold the potential for personalization. Though I am not aligned with CGP Gray's perspective that teachers will be in less demand in the future nor students can learn by a digital aristotle, his points for ease of technology accessibility, flexibility and customization are important in student learning within the setting. It is these features that I am seeking as an educator and student myself.
I discovered some tools that provided the slide show, but as a video. Since last week I uploaded a video, I wanted experience using another type of tool. I tried to use a few web-based programs but they didn’t include speech or would resize my images. I contemplated using PowerPoint presentation and embed speech, but there were issues with embedding it into a website. I could have shown an image of the first slide but the viewer would have needed to select and download the presentation to watch it. Once again, that was not the experience I was seeking for the end user. My grandiose vision what that the end user would select the slide, select the voice icon to activate speech and move through the presentation all while remaining on my blog site.
After tireless hours with no success, I chose to move to Plan B. The website I am using for my portfolio included a slideshow tool so I thought, “why not, I don’t know how to use this so this will still remain to be a learning experience”. I postponed my thoughts of speech and decided to use my graphic background to include visuals with text to share my thoughts. This presentation was created by using PowerPoint slides. I took screen shots of each slide and converted them to jpeg images. I then uploaded each jpg to my portfolio site and used the advanced features available to pick my format and transitions. I was pleased with the content and aesthetics. I thought I was finished...but that was not the case.
I began by blog post and could let go of my desire to add audio. I remain mindful to ensure my materials are appropriately aligned for ADA compliance. Adding my audio track would provide access to information for low vision learners. Since the text was embedded into the graphics, and I knew screen readers would not be useful. My last option, if unsuccessful with audio, was to upload a transcript file that could be used by a screen reader, but it truly was not what I wanted to offer. So, plan C went into action!
I returned to the drawing board, per say, to brainstorm how to add audio. I recorded my reflections using the standard sound recording software on my computer. I knew that my blog site had the option to upload a sound file, so I began the upload yet to be confronted by another obstacle. The sound file was .wav yet needed to be a .mp3. Ugh, frustration again.
I sought further to find and download (for free) a sound editor program that I could convert .wav to .mp3. Finally, a small success! I discovered Sound Editor in the Microsoft store. This program, not only converted files but also allowed me to record. So, I started again and recorded my audio track using the sound editor, saved my files and was able to upload my audio track to my blog.
In reflection, though not exactly what I intended I am pleased with the final product. I have visuals, text, and audio. I will continue to seek open source resources through the rest of this course to share my reflections weekly.