The 12 Days of Technology-Day 9: VoiceThread

On the ninth day of Technology, my PLN gave to me: VoiceThread.

Voicethread is a collaborative web tool that facilitates conversation around uploaded documents, pictures, video, or other media.  It is a simple yet powerful application that offers a variety of options for communicating and/or collaborating, i.e., text, computer microphone, telephone, webcam, or uploaded audio comment.  As with most web 2.0 applications, participants are encouraged to have a digital picture of themselves to upload which will appear around the central document with their oral or written comments attached to it.  Those who do not have a picture may use an image supplied by VoiceThread.

This is a very popular program among 21st century educators, and many documents and tutorials have been written and shared to help us all get started with it.  Rather than re-invent the wheel, I will supply links at the end of this post that I know will be helpful to you.

How have I used VoiceThread so far in my adult ESL classes?  A favorite activity last semester was centered around a class picture.  Each student gave autobiographical information.  Continuing around that same “getting to know you” theme, students then practiced asking each other embedded questions in order to learn more about each other and practice a new grammatical structure.  More frequently, to practice vocabulary and conversation skills,  I posted short videos and articles from the New York Times and asked students to answer questions and make comments.

This coming semester I will be teaching an Advanced ESL Speech course, and VoiceThread will be one of my main tools.  Students will begin using VoiceThread to give autobiographical information, then for collaborative storytelling, and then they will move on to collaborate on joint presentations. This later effort will involve accessing information from library databases, saving it on flash drives, setting up their own VoiceThread account, and then uploading their own documents to VoiceThread to share with their partner prior to commenting.  For this course, I will ask them to use predominantly the voice tools for communication rather than text.  That way, in addition to practicing their oral skills,  they will also have to learn to make sure that their headsets and microphones are enabled and that the volume is adequate, other helpful skills to gain for using computers and today’s programs.

Developing these computer skills is critical to success not only with VoiceThread but most other web 2.0 technologies, and each step will be monumental for most of my students.  Considering that our ESL students are not only linguistically, ethnically and culturally diverse, their educational background and technological abilities are equally diverse. I am looking forward to having a few students this semester assume a leadership role and act as technology mentors for their classmates in order to help them master these new computer skills.

Here are the links I promised along with my sincere gratitude to those educators who have been kind enough to share their expertise with us.  If you like the information linked below, please consider revisiting their blogs, seeing what else they have to offer, and dropping them a note.  Comments are always appreciated.

Best wishes to all of you with VoiceThread!

How to use Voice Thread and VoiceThread Doodler

Welcome to the Voicethread 4 Education wiki

An Educator’s Guide to Using VoiceThread.pdf

Introduction to VoiceThread (for Students).pdf

17 Interesting Ways to Use Voicethread in the Classroom

Samples of Voice Thread Usage:     Get Well Soon, Chase

VoiceThread used as a venue for “What Does the Network Mean to You?”

4 Responses

  1. nice share you have here, keep up the good work !

  2. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  3. Great site, exactly what I was looking for, I can’t get your RSS feed to work right in google chrome though, is it on my end?

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