Voicethread has been around awhile. And while it had always been on my radar, I never really made it a part of my digital toolkit. As ed tech tools go, it was a benchwarmer, waiting dutifully for its chance to crack the starting lineup. Well, thankfully, I’ve rectified that situation and have now used Voicethread with my students. I’m extremely glad, too, because it’s incredibly easy to use and an immensely valuable and engaging tool.
Voicethread accurately describes itself as a way of holding “group conversations around images, documents, and videos.” All you do is upload these items to create a slideshow. But this slideshow is unlike any other because then it becomes a collaborative multimedia smorgasbord of awesomeness. Folks can then comment on each slide in five different ways–microphone, audio file, webcam, text, or phone. You can even “doodle” on top of slides as you comment to add an extra dimension. Voicethreads are easy to embed and share and they work on mobile devices. AND as owner of your Voicethreads, you have the ability to moderate comments and decide which ones show up with the slideshow.
There are tons of great examples, but since I don’t have permission to embed them here I’ll encourage you to explore their public gallery. I can show you the two we’ve made in my classroom, though (I have permission for that!).
This one was for our online book club, which involved sharing our interpretations of a particular part of a book we were reading with several other classrooms around the country. It was a rudimentary approach on my part–I didn’t take advantage of the commenting features, but it gives you a good idea of what’s possible with Voicethread:
Our second attempt worked much better. It was for a group that was reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I uploaded some historical images to help them demonstrate what they learned about World War II and the Holocaust while reading this book. I’m definitely proud of their work:
With all these features, I wish I started using Voicethreads much earlier than I did! I definitely recommend it. Everything about Voicethread is extremely easy. And it’s free for educators! I think you and your students will love it.
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