I love apps which are open ended. They allow students and teachers to be creative with their use. I also love apps which are free, don’t contain advertising and promote digital citizenship. Adobe voice does all of these things, providing a simple platform to create stories composed of images, music, icons, text and most importantly your Voice!
Adobe voice has been around since 2014, where it was named one of Apple’s Apps of the Year. After having a play with it, I soon realised its potential in the classroom and added it to my essential iPad app Toolkit – from where I got the idea for My top 10 apps for a Primary School iPad. The app is completely free, but requires an Adobe account sign-up. Now, there is an age restriction on having an adobe ID, but on their website, they recommend a teacher setting up a shared class account which should be supervised. Here is the Educators guide to Adobe Post, Slate and Voice
Voice is super simple to get started up with. There is little need for typing or even reading. What I think makes it fantastic though, is that it can be used to create any type of ‘text’ with your voice. This could be a science report, a set of instructions, a piece of persuasive writing or a setting description. Voice presentations can be created so quickly that it could be done as part of the planning process, which students could then flesh out later by adding more detail when writing it down.
What’s your story about?
When you open the app, this is the first question you are asked. Give your story a title or get inspiration from the ideas section at the bottom. These are all arranged into different categories…this could be perfect for teachers who are suffering from back to school blues and are lacking imagination!
Choose a structure
One thing I really like about Adobe Voice is the ability to use a writing frame, built right into the app. There are a lot to choose from which students could use to help structure their story. For a full list of the story structures available on planning sheets for students, click here.
Start telling your story
This is a screen shot of what you see when you start the storytelling process. It is extremely stripped back, with just three options. Add an icon, photo or text. By clicking on icon or text, students are prompted to search for content. Icons are sourced from thenounproject.com (I love that site!) and all photos are tagged as Creative Commons License. A great thing about adobe voice is that all resources used are automatically cited in credits at the end of the presentation! A great example for students.
Photos can also be added directly from the camera roll which is useful if you are writing a recount of a school trip etc.
Image vs. Icon Search
There are some fantastic images around that students can incorporate to their stories. I have to say, I prefer using icons. I think these can really help students break down their stories into little chunks and they can be used for even quite abstract terms which a photo might not do justice to.
When students are creating the different sections to their stories, they may wish to have some look different. By selecting ‘Layout’ at the top of the screen, they are able to select from 5 different options. I really like the fact that these options are limited as it means that students won’t end up wasting time considering all of the different possibilities. I particularly like the fact that the titles of the layouts are so simple: one thing, two things, Fullscreen photo, thing + caption, Thing + Photo…does exactly what it says on the tin!
Music & Themes
The last thing I get my students to do is select the music and the theme for their presentation. Themes change the colours of the backgrounds, text and icons as well as fonts and animation styles. This means that students can choose which theme would fit the genre of their text. Music allows even greater control. All of the available soundtracks (which are also Creative Commons Licensed) are organised into different genres. These can then be selected in order to maximise impact. The genres available are: Rousing, Thematic, Thoughtful, Happy, Playful, Relaxed, Uplifting and Warm. Alternatively, students can use music they have on their own device.
Once your story is completed, it can be very easily shared in a number of different ways. Most importantly, it allows saving to camera roll. This means it can work with whichever workflow method you choose to use in your classroom.
After giving training on Adobe Voice recently, I was reminded just how good a tool it was. I’m sure most of you will have heard of it but it may be time to give it another look!
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