VoiceThread: A Collaborative Experience
Have you typed, texted, tweeted, blogged, emailed or responded to a discussion board using text today? Somehow, did you feel you didn’t accurately communicate what you wanted to express? In an on-line learning environment, text alone can limit effective student communication and engagement. VoiceThread is a collaborative multimedia slideshow that allows participants to hold a conversation around images, video, and numerous varieties of documents. Participants can navigate through the slides and leave comments on each slide. This can be done 5 different ways: microphone, telephone, text, audio file (MP3/WAV), and webcam.
What I like about this Web 2.0 communication tool is that it is a Cloud Application that functions in any Web browser and it is easy to use. The collaborative nature of this tool allows multiple participants to work with it at once, where they can leave their thoughts, comments, reflections, and suggestions in an asynchronous environment. Collaborative environments like VoiceThread erode the barriers of time and space and extend learning beyond the classroom. VoiceThread can be embedded into any website and offers a Moodle filter plugin, as well as iPod compatible exports.
Whether you teach in an on-line environment or face-to-face, VoiceThread allows you to extend learning beyond your classroom. To begin, go to http://voicethread.com/ , create an account and start viewing tutorials provided on the site to help you develop your first VoiceThread. Next, create a VoiceThread, invite your students to participate and wait for them to leave a comment. Comment moderation is a feature that allows you to censor the comments that are left on your VoiceThread. Think of a VoiceThread as a “group audio blog.”
Implications for Education:
The 2009 Horizon Report K-12 Edition states “A growing emphasis on collaboration in education — and an increasing recognition that collaboration is the norm in many modern workplaces — has led more teachers to seek tools to facilitate group interaction and teamwork in their classes.” VoiceThread is an attractive tool to educators because it is easy to use and provides an effective collaborative learning environment.
Possible Classroom Applications:
· Try using a VoiceThread in place of your discussion board or forum.
· Have students upload a presentation, paper, video assignment, art work, or music composition to receive peer and outside critique of their work.
· Upload students’ recorded speeches or student teaching for peer review.
· Use VoiceThread as an icebreaker activity to have members of your on-line course introduce themselves to one another.
· Upload your lecture to a VoiceThread and have students leave their comments. Discussion in VoiceThread is attached to the lecture itself, allowing you to use the same lecture in upcoming semesters. Future students can benefit from past students comments.
Research on VoiceThread: