Shared Voice with VoiceThread

I have been trying out the collaborative storytelling service VoiceThread and I have to say, I love it! For those who don’t know what it is, in a nutshell

VoiceThread

 it allows registered (free) users to upload pictures, record commentary, use a digital marker to annotate photos, and invite others to comment on the same photos. The service adds their comments to the comments that you have already made. In the end, you and whoever you have invited can collaboratively tell a story, share memories or thoughts, give presentations,… And, there are a number of excellent privacy options that allow you to really protect your content or share it freely with the world, allowing anyone to comment as well. I can think of so many applications of this in the classroom. Students could retell their experiences after a field trip or school event once you have uploaded the photos. Pen-pals could share their experiences. Students could collaborate on projects or ideas. Parents could comment on classroom activities. Students could react to questions and visual content for homework. Just a few ideas… Do you have any to offer?

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5 Comments on “Shared Voice with VoiceThread”


  1. I also recently discovered VoiceThread – as you can see in this post. SInce I began the thread I’ve had 3 responses from people I don’t know. I like the potential for conversation it can give.

    I was hooked from the get go. Easy to get started, a lot of potential for collaborative learning, commentary, and presentation.

    I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed with the majority of the VoiceThreads I found while browsing, though. They seemed to be collections of images with a descriptive comment per image.

    I think its magic lies in how we can see and hear different voices and thoughts about a image or document.

    I’d love to use it in a history class. I’d (or I’d get a student to) post an historical document and have students comment on when and where they think it comes from in history. I’d ask them to provide rationale based on what they can see in the image and what they have learned about that time in history.

    I like your idea about parents commenting on classroom activities – or perhaps events, like a photo of a class production.

    Do you have a link to a voicethread you’ve begun?
    Cheers,
    Tracy

  2. Stephen Ransom Says:

    Tracy, I have a family one, but it the privacy settings are on for that one. I took my two sons and their visiting cousin on a hiking trip. When the cousin went back to Toronto, I uploaded the photos and had my two sons reflect on the trip. I must admit, there was some mustache drawing going on 🙂 Their cousin, in turn, left his comments and moustaches, and this went back and forth for a while. In the end, these kids, ages 5, 8, and 9 created a really fun memory!!
    I did find a really interesting one where a teacher posted a world map and invited the world to mark on the map where they are from and tell a little about who they are, where they live, or other relevant details. Then, the Voicethread was to be used to enhance world geography, I think. When I left a comment, I think there were 30 people from all over the world so far. A really cool idea to bring relevancy and authenticity to a static world map!

    I left a voice thread on your great cartoon!

  3. Tracy Rosen Says:

    Your kids must have had a blast making that VoiceThread. I think that is another side of the technology that we can’t forget – not only does it allow for collaborative learning but it is fun, and when learning is fun it sticks.

    Thanks for the commentary on the cartoon, Stephen. I love it as well. Oh, and I agree with you. As a special education consultant last year I was often called into classrooms to observe difficult students and to recommend strategies for the teachers.

    My recommendations were not always well received, though, since more often than not the teachers in question were using a management approach like you describe that just didn’t work. I often got the feeling that teachers wanted me to confirm that, yes, these are difficult kids and there just isn’t anything to do with them rather than find out how to improve their classroom management skills!

  4. Stephen Ransom Says:

    Yes… I know exactly what you mean. There are those who would always rather place external blame rather than look inward and ask, “What can I do to change this situation.”. I always tell my students the same type of thing with assessment. It tells you the level of mastery or comprehension of your students, but it should also reflect back to the teacher his or her level of teaching effectiveness. If 1 or 100 students do poorly, the teacher should always ask, “What could I have done differently.” But, many teachers simply say that they have a bad crop of students this year or that they just don’t get it. Good teachers take student failure of any kind very personally. Yet, sometimes there are situations we really can’t control. Oh, how teaching is so complex in the end…

  5. Tracy Rosen Says:

    indeed – But I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂


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