Sunday, August 03, 2008

VoiceThread in Palm Beach County

The photo is a screenshot of the Adobe Connect session we used to bring in a team member for the meeting. Steve and Ben, from VoiceThread, are the two men in the top-left corner. I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture with a real camera or even my cellphone, but anyway, this is the best I could do. (Sorry, Ben and Steve... you deserve a better picture for sure!)

This week my department had the pleasure of meeting with the gentlemen who developed EdVoiceThread. They are geniuses (and extremely personable - go figure) and have absolutely thought of everything when it comes to developing a product for K-12 and higher education, that is safe, secure, reasonably priced and has the potential for huge impact on learning and global collaboration. How nice it would be to bring something so powerful and easy to our school district!

If YOU haven't heard of Ed VoiceThread, you are missing one of the most remarkable FREE 21st Century online learning applications that you can be using today! You must check out these examples !

Anyone can create a VoiceThread by adding a piece of media ( JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, PPT, PPS, PDF, DOC, XLS and a variety of video types) and then allow others to make comments in any of 5 different ways - using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) - and share them with anyone they wish. Allowing group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.

The beauty of VoiceThread is that it's simple and safe! Below is one I created that I use as a demo. You'll see a DE Streaming video segment and some video, audio and text comments. You can let it play or click on the avatars to activate the demo student comments. There are also some other comments that have been added by real teachers as I've used this to demonstrate this in workshops.

I've since learned however, that the way I've been recommending that teachers use it is not a best practice at all. In the recording below, you'll hear me tell you that I set up one account and let my students create their own profiles under my account. Then they sit at a computer in my classroom and contribute to the VoiceThread. Although this would certainly work, especially in a K or 1st grade classroom with supervision, the problem would be that in an instant a student could accidentally delete the entire VoiceThread.


They also mentioned a feature that is coming soon is the ability to CLONE a VoiceThread. Once you've spent time creating a VoiceThread that might be complex, it would be pretty nice to be able to clone it to customize it for another use later on.

Please leave a comment about how you might use VoiceThread in your classroom. I hope you'll also leave a voice comment on the VoiceThread here.

Thanks for your comments!


ldaughrity said...

That was great! I am actually going to use Educational Voice Thread this year to do a group project with five classes around the world. I am excited to be able to work collaboratively in this format with people I have never met in person. Not only do I love the fact that this is free, but I love that when using the Educational format, I can feel safe about my elementary kids using it as well. I will keep you posted on the progress of this project and make sure the videos are posted for sharing with others. If I had this available to me when I was a kid... man our kids are lucky! Thanks Voice Thread and thank you for sharing your project!

IMC Guy said...

What's the difference between VoiceThread and Educational VoiceThread? I hope to use this tool this school year. Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Would it work to create 2 accounts: one for the teacher and one for the class? Then create profiles for individual students under the class account? I'm not sure, but it seems like that would eliminate the risk of having the whole voice thread accidentally disappear. What do you think?

Ben said...

Hi -
The major difference between VT and Ed.VT is one of accountability. On the ED network all users are known users and all content is vetted by k-12 educators.


Kimwren said...

Hello. I'm new fairly new to VoiceThread as well, but I created one that I'm using this year with the Mark Twain Award books. I'm going to let the students comment after they read the books. Here's the link to this one: I also plan to collaborate this year with other schools and do one on famous kids authors. Looking forward to seeing how others are using it too!!