Monday, January 24, 2011

A Video is Worth a Thousand Words

Today's utility isn't so much about a tool as it is the application, as we see with Smories. Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar explain: "Our kids have always loved reading to each other and are transfixed when other children read them stories. They are also obsessed with the internet and will make their way to youtube any time they get their hands on a computer." So they decided to create Smories - an website allowing children to record themselves reading stories and publish online for other children to view.  Using Flowplayer (which is technicaly not a web 2.0 utility since you have to download it to create embedable content) they transform submissions into online visual stories with accompanying subtitles so children can not only listen to the stories but can read along as well! Brilliant!  They also were providing cash rewards to the best stories submitted monthly (sometimes as much as $1500 - not that any of us are in this for the money).  Not sure who the generous benefactor of these prizes was but I'm sure it encouraged a lot of students to submit their videos.  Unfortunately, Smories has closed any new submissions at this time, but it's still a site worthy of mention and viewing.  I have to thank Patrick Black for sharing this via Twitter and writing about it on his blog.  Just goes to show what thinking outside the box using the web can do!
One suggestion for the author's of this site.  If you were to use Viddler for the video submsiions the listening audience could add feedback to the videos providing kudos to the readers for their fantastic work.  There, I squeezed in an actual Web 2.0 utility. Phew...
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