Cool Tools: VoiceThread

by Bethanie Perry, MiraCosta College (History)

My goal as an online instructor is to create an engaging and dynamic classroom for my dynamic and diverse students—I assume this is the same for most instructors. Part of my desire stems from discussions with students and friends who have tried online classes and determine that the online learning environment is not for them. I should probably say, “fine, online learning is not for everyone”, but instead I usually ask why. In fact, I had this discussion just this past weekend. My friend said she preferred face-to-face classrooms because she was not so great at expressing herself in the written form, such as discussion forums. This also reminds me of a conversation I had with another student who said that most online instructors spend most of their time corresponding with students via email and therefore, written form. Therefore, as an instructor looking for ways to improve upon this seemingly one-dimensional teaching style, I am looking for ways to provide students with a more diverse experience.

There seem to be a million tools out there to use to meet this goal, but today I will focus on one, VoiceThread. What I like about this tool is it offers an alternative to the text heavy engagement with material. VoiceThread in fact offers students the ability to use voice or text to interact with material.

Voice thread is especially dynamic as users are able to create presentations using media, voice, and text. Responders can leave comments in a variety of ways as well, including their phone. While, the free version is limited in the amount of threads you can create, a Higher Ed subscription is $99 a year and the program can be integrated into an LMS; something to consider anyway. 

VoiceThread is also very easy to use. Create an account and then begin. You can upload documents—including images—from your computer, record videos, or upload from media sources integrated with VoiceThread.

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So creating the thread is dynamic. Once a VoiceThread is created, the class can comment on content using a variety of means. Not only could this be used to make discussions more interactive, but students could produce presentations using VoiceThread and receive a variety of feedback.

And of course VoiceThread is also available for your mobile device, so you can create and comment on material from your phone!IMG_0351


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