Monday, May 14, 2012

So...You Wanna Use Voicethread

I think collaboration and reflection are 2 of the biggest skills that kids need but aren't really getting enough of. Having the opportunity to work together in meaningful ways and to reflect on their work and the work of their peers is key to being a learner. There are lots of tools that you can use to help kids collaborate and reflect. Blogs are a great example. Podcasts are another. However, each can be daunting to set up and actually do.

That's why I love Voicethread.

What is Voicethread you ask?

It is a multimedia slideshow that allows users anywhere in the world to collaborate.

Here are the basics:
  1. Create a free account.
  2. Upload images, documents, and videos to the presentation.
  3. Share.
Yep. That simple.

Once the Voicethread is created is when the magic happens. Comments can be left around each part of the slideshow either by voice, text or video. You can also annotate comments as well. Everything can be embed on a webpage or in a blog for even easier sharing.

Here is one I did a while back asking for my Personal Learning Network (PLN) to give me ideas on what their PLN means to them?

You can see there is a mix of comments, some text, some audio and some video. And this one was just one simple image. The possibilities are really endless.

Just a couple of ideas:
  • Using a single image or a series of images to introduce a topic to students. Have them comment about what they know or what they are thinking before beginning a unit. 
  • Instead of having students create a Power Point, create a Voicethread that they get to narrate and share with the class. Other students can leave comments on the different parts of the presentation.
  • Creating a "Get-To-Know-You" slideshow for the beginning of the school year. 
  • Literary review

Here are my favorite resources for learning about and using Voicethread in the classroom:
Another great feature? They have an iOS app. So you can create Voicethreads with your iPad or iPod touch. Awesome!

Remember, Voicethread is free. All you need is an email address. They do have K12 accounts available if you want to go that route.

What are your favorite Voicethread resources? Did you do an interesting project with it? Leave a comment or share below!

photo credit: flickingerbrad via photo pin cc
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