Let’s Give Em Something To Talk About!Tools to Promote Social Communication

On this post, I want to share two great tools that I think will be very helpful in getting some of our shy and less expressive students motivated to share their thoughts and stories.  I’ve been working with two great tools that can be used with laptops or tablets (I really like the web based tools), to make creative videos and video blogs.  One of the tools has been around for a some time, while the other tool is new and is in beta form (so it’s in testing mode as it redefines the tool to work more efficiently).  

Without further wait I’ll present Adobe Spark

Adobe spark was formally Adobe voice, and it was a good tool then but as I was using the tool with the librarian, for creating book trailers, we noticed that Adobe Voice now had a web-based interface and other tools were added to the suite.  Spark is free for anyone to try at spark.adobe.com .  You have three choices, Post, Page, and Video.  Each option has a plus sign and a short description.  The Post tool is designed to help you create a social meme; Page is for portfolios, catalogs, and info pages; and Video is for tutorials and presentations.  For this post I will focus on the Video portion of spark.

Using Spark as a tool to promote social communication

One of the integrated projects I assisted with in the library setting is assisting my students with making a book trailer.  The students chose their favorite book or a book that they have read and their task was to; make a script that they would use to make their video, chose pictures that would connect to the paragraphs in their script, make slides with the pictures and text and narration on them.  This sounds somewhat easy but it was quite a challenge for many of the students, especially my diverse learners, and students with communication and Autism disorders. I got to work with most of my students in developing a book trailer which gave me loads of social emotional skills to work with the students on.  

Students used the skills of: collaborating, making decisions, taking turns, using reciprocal conversation, waiting, expressing ideas, using their voice to get their point across active listening, following instructions, etc..  Great for goal attainment. Here is a link to one of my students videos, and this took a lot of effort for him to make this short clip.  (it’s under the teacher’s name as we used a new email and password that all the students made videos under so that we could access them for review and keep control of the content.)  https://spark.adobe.com/video/HyBm9y8Q  


Students collaborating on making a book trailer

This video is from Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne


Read more about ways to use Adobe Spark on Richard Byrne’s    site http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2016/05/10-ways-to-use-adobe-spark-in-school.html#.V05t4VUrLIV

New student reflection tool – Recap

I have to say as soon as I viewed the videos and comments on this tool, I could see the social emotional uses.  Recap is a video reflection tool where you can develop a class of students and give questions that the students will answer via the Recap tool.  So lets suppose you read a social story to the students and you want to assess, if they were the character, how would they handle the situation or dilemma?  The students would then use the sign in pin and go to the dashboard on the Recap site and there they will see the question you have posted.  Students then would video tape their answer, which they will love to do!  Instant feedback and promotion of using their voice, to share their thoughts. This could be very encouraging and motivational for students that are shy or struggling with sequencing their thoughts.  Below is a video made by a student on how a student would use Recap.


Review video of Recap for the instructor


 As you can see, the possibilities are endless for this tool.  As stated earlier, the tool is in beta and currently free.  Teachers and students can use Recap on desktops, Chromebooks and any laptop. Currently, Recap for iPad supports student accounts only.  Give it a try.  Sign up at letsrecap.com  

Leave a comment as to how you would use these tools in practice


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