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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.

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