If you call 213-221-3802, you can create your own voicemarks. A voicemark is an audio "blurb" posted on a virtual free verbal message board ... for exchanging location-specific community information ... any place with any mobile phone! This is made possible by a site called Geograffiti. I have been playing with this site a bit and found it engaging. What I like is that you can create audio "geo tagged" projects with this resource. This means that every audio file is immediately put on a private google map in the place where it was documented (or you can assign it to a specific zip code/phone number if the audio file is being documented in one place but referring to another. Such as students creating a "walking tour" of history in Spain from a classroom in Kansas. After they record their voicemark, studnets can submit the location where they want their voicemark placed on the google map! Super Cool! AND you can do this from any basic cell phone (even a landline!)...Great for including those without cell phones.
Geograffiti also allows students to publish "breaking news stories" on-the-go! Students can become instant mobile citizen journalists! And create their own News Map, like this one.
Additionally, students do not have to have an account in order to use Geograffiti (just call the number). But I found it works best if the teacher creates one account, and then adds their student's cell phones into the account. Also, students can all call in to the same account to create their voicemarks (which will automatically be placed on a class google map). I immediately thought of the Murmur project in CA, as a great example of how schools could take advantage of a resource like Geograffiti. Murmur documents oral histories by asking people to recount events in the geographic location that the event occurred (making the oral histories richer by being able to walk through history).
There is also a comment/response feature for each voicemark. So students can comment on each other's voicemarks and give feedback or their opinion on a story. Since the teacher has control of the account, they can monitor the comments and delete any they think are inappropriate.
Did I mention tagging? Yes! you can also create tags and keywords for each voicemark so that you can ask students to use specific keywords/tags for each post...which makes it easy when someone calls in to Geograffiti to hear the voicemarks (YES! you can listen to voicemarks on your phone as well as view them on a map...great for visually impaired students).
Finally for students who do not have cell phones or schools that do not want phones in the classroom (although you can easily do all the mobile posting outside of the classroom), students can click on any point on the Geograffiti map, and it will let them type in any phone number (even a landline) and record Geograffiti will call them to record their post! Fantastic! Saves on long distance fees for landlines!
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