saudixpat’s Weblog

November 6, 2008

Voicethreads

Filed under: Uncategorized — Expat in Saudi @ 9:46 am

Voicethread is a new (for me) addition to the Web 2.0 world. I am not sure how long it has been around, but it really looks interesting from an educational perspective. I began looking at voicethreads with two questions: What is it? and How can I apply it in teaching?

To begin, I visited the voicethread website where I created an account and browsed a bit. It was interesting to look and see all the embedded videos on how to use voicethreads. The site certainly gets top marks on providing guides and tutorials for its users. So I signed up and created an account. After creating the account I realized it was using my real name, so I went in and using the account details and edit buttons, changed my username. It was exceptionally easy to do so. Today, I went back and updated to an Edaccount, which cost $10.00 for an “educator verification fee”. A onetime fee of ten dollars, enables a new set of features, such as allowing unlimited voice threads. This alone is worth it, as the standard account only allows three. It also allows voice comments by phone. Very cool.

I wondered if there was a good overview of VoiceThreads, so I went out and checked. Sure enough, I found a really good short intro by UPSiTech. It is very informative with great voice annotation.

Then I thought I would upload a photo and comment on it or doodle on it to see how easy it was to do. I have tried to do this at home, but for some reason I get an error with Flash 10. I will try it from school shortly. If it works, you will see the voicethread image below and a link in the next paragraph (photo you see). The ease of leaving a comment is pretty good; however, from Saudi I had some problems getting my video uploaded properly. It was relatively smooth though.

Click the link in the paragraph below to go to the actual Voicethread

Click the link in the paragraph below to go to the Voicethread

The photo you see has a mix of video, audio, and text annotation/comments attached to it. This is a neat tool for having your students give feedback to an image. For instance, if you are teaching grade six or nine PATs, then this is a good tool to prepare your students, allow them to get creative, and contrast and compare what a response might look like on the actual PAT.

There are other uses as well. If you show a photo of an historial event, students can use the image as a starting point to learning about research (researching the event), engaging their parents in discussion (for instance, Ben Johnson’s world record at the Seoul Olympics that was taken away, or Donovan Bailey’s gold medal race in Atlanta eight years later). Students can be required to give a written response, or an oral response, or a video response – or a mix of both. In Social Studies, students could link up globally with other classes and post pictures of their lives. For instance, a grade one or two class could post photos on the topic of “home” and post and share with another class in South Africa, or Japan, or Thailand. As you can see, there are lots of things that can be done with Voicethreads. Lastly, students could use a VoiceThreads image to collaborate on creating a story using voice, text, doodles, and video. This opens a wide range of possibilities.

Overall, I would have to say that VoiceThreads looks like a winner. The interface is clean and easily navigable. The features are rich and full. The ability to interact with the images are great – unparallelled. While you can annotate photo in Flickr, it is nowhere near as developed as VoiceTheads. In two months, our tech director, plus some of the more technologically inclined teachers, will be addressing using technology with the full staff. Voicethreads is definitely a product that I will be introducing to the staff.

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2 Comments »

  1. Thanks, Bruce. I’m glad you found so much potential in this new to you tool. I really think Voicethreads is one of the most important web 2.0 tools for students and teachers…lots of great things that kids can do. I was thinking about the voicethread you created and then thinking about your students–I assume they would do a fair amount of travelling with their families while they are living overseas…what a great project for those kids to take their travel photos and create a digital travel diary using voicethreads to share with their family and friends from around the world.

    Comment by Joanne de Groot — November 18, 2008 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Joanne,

    I think when our elementary teachers see this they will want to jump all over it. It allows very easy collaboration in a variety fo formats, which looks likely to engage all students – I think it allows students to work to their strengths, and also allows them to see the work of others. I will let you know how it goes!

    Comment by sibertiger — November 19, 2008 @ 5:56 am | Reply


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