Daily Archives: January 25, 2011

Via ReadWriteWeb, news of a service called Qwiki that "combines speech-to-text and assembled multi-media to create little slideshows based on Wikipedia entries".

Although like Animoto, all of the heavy lifting is done for you, this tool has some potential in the classroom. There's all sorts of talk around the need for primary school students to have "digital literacy" skills and be able to extract meaning from more than just text, and I could see Qwiki as a way of introducing a topic, analysis of a concept, making reading Wikipedia more engaging, assisting kids with reading difficulties and looking at how the actual Qwiki could be improved to effectively communicate about its topic.

For example, I did a quick search for Australia Day.

When it finishes, it shows a number of related Qwiki shows that can help add context to the original, like the Day Of Mourning or even why Geoffrey Blainey's point of view was quoted. While this tool should not substitute effective research, I think that students would find it a useful starting point for topical research within a number of curriculum areas.

Qwiki also has a process for improvement and users can add suggestions for better images, relevant YouTube footage or even the correct pronunciation of key words. (Even Oprah Winfrey managed the correct pronunciation for Melbourne the other night - Mel-bn, not Mel-born.) Student discussion around these points can be a useful part of analysing the role of imagery and audio in conveying information. I'll be trying it out at some stage and I'll post some reflections here when I do.