Saturday, January 22, 2011

Using Voice Thread

This week we shared some ideas using VoiceThread. I created a short video with some questions and people in the class responded either in text format or audio format. Here are some questions it raised for me. What do you think?

Did you prefer contributing by text or audio? (No one tried video contribution)

How would your students react to this way to share their ideas?

Does it encourage conversation or just serial posts? How could you use it to develop a dialog?

Is there a need to have someone go back and summarize the conversation at the end of the week?

Did you find it useful to have pictures of contributors?

What skills are you learning through your own online learning experience? What skills are important to focus on if we want students to guide their own learning and work online independently and collaboratively?


  1. I posted mostly by text because I don't have a microphone. I did use the "call me" feature where it called my cell phone until I ran out of "free" time. The audio seemed more conversational to me.

    Pictures are useful to help me visualize people, but I didn't often click on people who aren't in class with me. There got to be a lot of comments to listen to if you tried to listen to everyone.

    I think my kids would like it; they would definitely prefer the audio option over typing!

  2. I personally didn't use video because I hadn't set up my camera yet. I did think the audio was easy and the text was very easy. This was actually surprising to me.

    It's important to have user-friendly technology though because students can get very easily frustrated. And the exercise will be meaningless if this becomes the case.

    I think Voicethread will of course promote discussion, but I agree with Rachel that it can get to be too much with so many people commenting. Comments became a bit redundant too. I think I would make the requirements more on the par of requiring a minimum of two comments (or something along those lines).

    I think the pictures personalized the comments made and connected the participants better, which would definitely work well with the age I teach in particular, the high schoolers.

    Skills are not so much what I am currently learning as much as the amount of free resources out there. I see a lot of opportunities for my classroom emerging as we go.

  3. I have a microphone, but had technical issues so I had to use the call-in feature. I'm actually glad I had to use that feature because I didn't realize that existed and thought the technology for it was great!

    I think my students would love this forum because at the college level, I could hold a class this way instead of having them physically come to school (I'm sure that would be a welcomed alternative to the classroom 2 days a week)!

    I have to agree with Geri, I'm amazed at all of the free tools that are available!

    I did like the voicethread, I know comments were repeated but I felt like the activity was more about introducing the technology and how to use it rather than the actaul content, so I did find it a useful activity.

  4. I felt kind of awkward recording my voice even tough it was easy to use. I don't like the sound of my voice! But this has shown me that I need to develop better speaking skills. My students would definitely prefer speaking to writing and they could use this to analyze their English pronunciation. I like to see the pictures of the people that are participating and need to get a picture of me to display. Like my voice, pictures of me always seem weird. I think that if we want to develop our students' writing skills, we'll need to talk about the different styles of writing, for example, I will stress that it's still important to use proper spelling, punctuation and capital letters because I can see them sending text messages and I wouldn't be able to understand them!

  5. I liked contributing using text rather than audio. When I used audio, I kept erasing what I said until I was comfortable with the way the audio sounded. I actually did take some video, but I erased that as well because I didn’t like the way the shots looked on screen, blurry and slow.

    My students would probably think this was pretty neat. Many of them like to write, but quite a few would find it easier to communicate with audio.

    I actually don’t think I would ask my kids to comment on all slides. That would eliminate some of the repetition. I also think that to develop dialogue I would have them present their own questions at the end of their comments. Then they’d have the choice to respond to my initial question, or a question posed by a classmate.

    I really did like seeing the pictures of the contributors. Since many of us have been in other classes together, it was nice to match a voice with a face.

    So far, I am learning that there are a lot of interesting online tools out there that I wouldn’t not have went looking for. I’m also learning to use the camera and microphone in my computer for the first time. I think, over all, I feel more ready to dive in than in previous encounters with technology. This all seems very comfortable.

  6. This was the first time I had used Voice Thread. I found it very interesting, and preferred to use the voice option. I found it so much easier to say what I was thinking than to type the information. It was also great to be able to listen to what I had recorded and re-record my comments if necessary.

    I liked seeing the pictures of the other contributors. It makes it more personal being able to place a face with a name.

    I believe that my students would have fun with this tool. We have great classroom discussions on topics, and by using Voice Thread they could still be holding this classroom discussion but incorporating technology into the discussions.

  7. This was the first time I used Voice Thread and I really like it. Like I had mentioned at the end of the thread my mind is already thinking of things I could do with my class. I love that you get to choose which way to present your ideas, loved that it was easy to erase and redo if you weren't happy with the result, and loved that you could draw on the picture if you wanted. This way I could have students actually solve a problem and talk (or write or record) about their thoughts as they complete it.

    I really think that my students would love this tool, my only problem (like many others) is having access to a computer lab for my classes. I work in a small district so many students don't have web access at home (or anything beyond dial-up) and we have two labs that are always full.

  8. I can see there are some perfectionists in the group. Many of the uses of VoiceThread I've seen have been for quick-and-dirty commenting, but it could also be used to have student practice public speaking skills.

    I personally haven't used the call-in feature so I'm going to have to check that out.

    I agree that redundancy is an issue in anything like this. It's hard to come up with a way to actually get a conversation going in a distance format rather than serial answers. The same is true of a blog and a discussion forum in D2L. One person I know requires students to finish each post or comment with a question or something controversial so that others respond to that rather than to just the prompt on the screen. Any other ideas?