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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Editor's note: See the full archive of the five-week boot camp.

Week 2: Using Voicethread in the Classroom

Welcome to our second week of New Teacher Boot Camp!

Today we're going to be exploring VoiceThread.

About VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slideshow that allows students to comment on images, documents, and video through text, video, and audio files. Teachers can set up groups and classes as well as moderate comments, embed to blogs, and export to audio files.  It is an easy way to differentiate instruction while providing engaging choices to "show" learning, engage in conversation, and think openly and critically about content.

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Introducing Megan Palevich

Megan Palevich is curriculum specialist and 8th grade language arts teacher in Chester County, PA. She is also a wonderful resource for this week's theme: VoiceThread.

Before reading on, please take a look at this example of a VoiceThread from Megan's eighth grade class based on the novel The Red Kayak, by Priscilla Cummings. You can navigate through the Voicethread by clicking the arrow on the bottom right.  Each time you go to a new "page" you will hear the prompt for that page first.

Megan Palevich, Curriculum Specialist and 8th Grade Language Arts, on Using VoiceThread

This year I used Voicethread as an alternative way to discuss literature.

Instead of a traditional read and respond or read and discuss, VoiceThread could offer my students the opportunity to listen and reflect through text, audio, or video. As you can see on my VoiceThread example, some students were comfortable jumping right into video while others were more comfortable with typing text.  

What I found was that when given an alternative learning space, and choice in response, my students were dynamically engaged in discussing one of their summer reading novels! They loved creating their responses as well as listening to each other when we played the completed VoiceThread on our SmartBoard.

For the rest of the school year, they always asked if VoiceThread could be one of their options for responses. For this upcoming school year, I have created a poetry podcast site where my students will be creating their own VoiceThreads with original poems for their classmates to comment on. To me, the value of a Web 2.0 tool is in its ability to enhance the student's learning experience, and allows teachers to be inspired to cultivate learning in a purposeful, dynamic way. I would encourage all educators to take advantage of VoiceThread, an easy-to-use and flexible learning tool with their students.  

Free VoiceThread Tutorials

Thanks to Megan for these great VoiceThread ideas to jumpstart our work with this awesome tool!

Assignment 1: Add a Comment to a VoiceThread

  1. Click on this VoiceThread to add a comment.
  2. Click "sign in or register."
  3. Register with your first and last name, email address and password, then click "register" (you can upgrade your account to an educator account later)
  4. You will be prompted to add a picture to your identity.  It can be a photo of yourself or something that represents you.  I don't allow students to use photos of themselves for their avatars.
  5. Click on Megan's cartoon avatar (to the left of the page) to listen to the prompt.
  6. Click comment and choose how you would like to respond.
  7. Save your comment and consider making your own!

Assignment 2: Create Your Own VoiceThread

  1. Go to VoiceThread
  2.  Log in with your VoiceThread ID that you created above.
  3. Click "My Voice"
  4. Click "Create"
  5. Upload a picture, document, or video.
  6.  Don't forget to name your VoiceThread at the top left (Add title and description)
  7. Click comment and follow steps 6 & 7 from above.
  8. Click "Share", get a link.
  9. Take a pic of your Voice Thread (like we did for Wordle)
  10. Upload your example to your New Teacher wikispaces page as an image.

Voicethread Resources for the Classroom

About Megan Palevich

Megan Palevich is a curriculum specialist and 8th grade language arts teacher in Chester County, PA.  She has been teaching for 16 years and has her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Megan blogs about technology integration in language arts at Middle School 101. She is a life-long learner who believes in engaging her students through technology integration and passion-based learning.

Comments (28)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Chris Frisbie's picture
Chris Frisbie
Online art, media, social studies & technology teacher

Excellent post and excellent tool! I really find the examples provided insightful and exciting!

We have been able to use VoiceThread at my school (Giant Campus) as a catalyst for building student community and increasing student engagement. I teach at a school that offers a diverse catalogue of technology, design, art, programming, engineering, media and business courses. One of my colleagues and I were able to successfully put together a dynamic semester long cross-disciplinary project that included collaboration students from across the country. A part of the glue that tied everything together was VoiceThread.

We embedded an all-inclusive VoiceThread into our our individual course "Moodles" that included everything from announcements, mini-assignments, student-led critique, collaboration on assignments to student sharing. This VoiceThread successfully connected students from different geographic areas as well as different courses. It was highly conducive to ongoing student connection to the school community and course content.

Not only was our successful completion rate over 90%, but quantitative and qualitative information that we gathered from our students indicated that there was an increased sense of student community, engagement and willingness to go beyond the requirements of the curriculum and assessments. Again, VoiceThread was a big part of this.

We are excited to further explore the possibilities of VoiceThread this fall in a similar cross disciplinary project.

Suzanne Sallee's picture
Suzanne Sallee
Educational Technology Coach, Creighton School District

Wow, there are some really great ideas out there for using Voicethread to enhance student learning. I can't wait to share them with my fellow teachers.

My Voicethread is the beginning of a virtual field trip to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. I still have lots of work to do! Here is the link to my Wikispace portfolio:

http://edutopia-ntbootcamp.wikispaces.com/Portfolio+for+Suzanne+Sallee

Suzanne

aschordine's picture
aschordine
pre-service elementary teacher

What an interesting tool! I created a VT based on the essential question of my thesis; How do you feel arts integration prepares students to meet the four C's of 21st Century Learning? (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity)
Feel free to chime in and leave your thoughts on the matter!
http://edutopia-ntbootcamp.wikispaces.com/Alicia+Schordine

Brandi McRoberts's picture
Brandi McRoberts
Preservice Teacher - Student Teaching Fall of 2011

I created a VoiceThread for John Gast's painting "American Progress." As a pre-service teacher, I created a unit on western expansion for one of my classes. I used this painting with one of the lesson activities. Students would already be learning about western expansion and the concept of Manifest Destiny. For the VT, students would be required to comment, in the manner of their choice, as to how the painting depicts the concept of Manifest Destiny.

http://edutopia-ntbootcamp.wikispaces.com/Portfolio+for+Brandi+McRoberts

solds's picture
solds
8th Grade US History and High School US Government from UT

This project was a bit more difficult for me. Not sure why. But--I'm very excited about practicing this more. I can particularly see how to use this to keep students right up with the rest of the class when they've been absent.

Ann Campbell's picture
Ann Campbell
Looking for a position teaching business or middle school math

I like this website, but I'm not sure if I know how I would share the link with my students. Would they all have to have a voicethread account as well?
Also, I couldn't take a pic of the voicethread, but I did paste the url - hope that works.

Melissa Brett's picture

I think using voicethread will make collaboration projects very interesting for students.

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