This is lucky post number 13 in the “30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators” series. Be sure to subscribe to the Teacher Challenge blog by RSS, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter to keep up with future challenge posts as they are published.
In this activity you will:
- Learn about VoiceThread
- Sign up for an account
- Create student “identities”
- Learn how to implement VoiceThread in the classroom
We’re always searching for new ways to engage students. We’re always looking to foster discussion and break down the barriers of the typical classroom walls. We’re always trying to find web 2.0 tools that are easy to use and don’t require professional development after professional development to understand. VoiceThread will provide you with all of these opportunities.
VoiceThread is an application that can be used right from your browser, which allows you to use different types of media to create an interactive slideshow. You can use pictures, videos, documents, or even presentations. Then, you or your students can record video/audio that allows you to describe each slide in more detail. You can even draw right on the slide to circle or highlight different areas of interest.
One of the other great features of VoiceThread is that with each account, you can add up to fifty “identities.” This allows you to create an identity for each student without having to create individual accounts. This makes it very easy to change from one student to another without having to log out and log back in continuously.
Watch a couple different VoiceThreads to gain a better understanding. The first will walk you through the capabilities of a VoiceThread. The second is a VoiceThread my students created to describe feelings or emotions. They had to write a paragraph describing a feeling without actually using the word (hot, cold, sad, angry, etc.).
Register for VoiceThread!
- Visit VoiceThread.com.
- Click Sign in or Register. When the new page loads, click on the Register button on the left. Enter all your information.
- When finished, visit the VoiceThread Ed section. Make sure to apply to be a VoiceThread educator with your new account. That’s the difference between only being able to keep 3 VoiceThreads and being able to keep 50!
- Click on the My Voice section. This will lead you to tutorials about VoiceThread. It will also house all of your VoiceThreads that you create. In the upper-right hand corner you should see your email address that you logged in with. Click on that and you will see My Identities. From here you can create your own identity, including a picture, as well as identities for your students to use.
Create Your VoiceThread
- Once you have some identities made, you’re ready to create your VoiceThread! At the top of the VoiceThread page, click on Create. Click on Upload. This will allow you to import pictures into your VoiceThread. When your pictures have uploaded, if you don’t like the order, you can just click and drag to move them around.
- Now, click on comment. This is where you can use your identity or student identities to leave comments on each slide. If you click on Comment, you can leave a video comment, audio comment, type a comment, make a comment by phone, or even doodle on the pictures. This makes VoiceThread great for having students present reports, read a passage or poem, or share knowledge on a topic you’re learning about in class. Feel free to play around with each to gain a better understanding of how to leave a comment.
- To doodle on a picture, when you choose a type of comment, you will see a color wheel down at the bottom-right. Choose any color and you’ll be able to draw right on your slide. This works great as a highlighting tool for students as the present information.
- If you want another student to comment, just click on the identity that is shown on the bottom of the VoiceThread. This will bring up all the identities that you have created and also give you the option to create a new one. Select the identity you would like and now any new comment will show up with that identity.
- When the VoiceThread is completed, you will be given an option to copy the link so you can share, invite friends to VoiceThread so you can share with them, send in an email, or embed. We’d love for you to share links to some of your results in the comment section!
Help and Tips:
VoiceThread has many great resources to help you along the way. On the MyVoice page, you’ll find VoiceThreads made specifically to address some of the main components of the site. VoiceThread also has created some other wonderful resources to help you get started.
- An Educator’s Guide to VoiceThread
- Getting Started in the Classroom
- Example of a VoiceThread created by Mr. Salsich’s third grade class
Extend and Discuss:
Please leave a comment down below to help continue the discussion about VoiceThread. We would love for you to add:
- A link to a VoiceThread that you’ve created, whether it be on the VoiceThread site or a blog/wiki page that you’ve embedded it on.
- What are some ways that you’ve used VoiceThread? Do you find VoiceThread is better implemented if you create one and allow students to comment or if students create their own?
- What other questions do you have about VoiceThread?
About the Author:
Shawn Avery is a fourth grade teacher at Dennett Elementary, in Plympton, Massachusetts. He has a passion for teaching and trying to find new ways to engage students by integrating technology into the classroom. You can find his class blog at mravery.edublogs.org. There you will be able to see other examples of VoiceThreads that have been created in class, as well as other great web 2.0 tools. You can also find his wiki at studentmathmovies.wikispaces.com. Here, you’ll be able to find different student made math videos sorted by different strands. You can also find him on Twitter, @Mr_Avery.