|Review by Cynthia Delcourt|
VoiceThread is a powerful tool for online as well as face-to-face classes. It is a free, multimedia asynchronous, communication tool. VoiceThread allows you to incorporate a text document, an image, video and audio as the focus of a conversation and allows five ways to submit comments.
VoiceThread gives that human touch to the feelings of isolation so common in online classes. If we strive to follow the best practices for online instruction, we must utilize varied and meaningful tools to create community in our classes.
It is as simple as 1-2-3 to get started with VoiceThread. Register at the website, http://www.voicethread.com, by providing a name, email address and password.
|Click on the “MyVoice” tab to get started.
Right from the start, you are guided and supported to create your own VoiceThread with “Ideas for using VoiceThread”, “Tutorials” and a “Support” site. This screenshot shows one VoiceThread that I created “My First Blog” and some ‘public’ tutorial VoiceThreads that I viewed. You can also “Browse” to see countless ‘public’ VoiceThreads on various topics.
|When you’re ready, just click the “Create” tab to get started.
Step 1: “Upload” your content, whether you have one or many images, a document, URL or a video.
| As you can see, VoiceThread supports various types of multimedia.
Step 2: Add your “Comments“. (An image has been uploaded to encourage introductions at the start of a course.)
|Click on the “Comment “ button to expand the comment panel (next image). This reveals the various ways to comment (see next image) including phone, webcam, plug in a microphone, type in a comment box, or upload a pre-made audio file (Pro account only))|
|Playback Options: After you have uploaded your content and added comments, this panel will appear at the bottom of the page. Click on each to set your preferences for the VoiceThread|
|Playback and Export Options|
|VoiceThread makes it easy to link to, or embed the conversation into a variety of social networks, blogs, etc. “Embed” this code into into a blog, LMS or website. Click “Copy” and the code will be copied to the “clipboard”.|
|Insert the link into an email or on your website. Click “Copy this” and the link will be copied to the “clipboard. Until Publishing Options are changed, the VoiceThread is private and the creator is the only person who can edit it.|
|Finally, Step 3: “Share” your VoiceThread:|
|Click the “Add +” button to add contacts to “My Contacts”.
(Fill in this is the short form to add a contact, click “add”)
|You must have a “Pro” account to create a “Group”.
When you have added a “Contact”, they will be displayed like this:
|Click on the contact and the “Send Invite” button and the contact become activated (becomes bold and outlined in yellow)
Click “Send Invite” and an Invitation will be emailed to your contact.
(From L-R) Invitation Options (red arrows): View, Comment or Edit the VoiceThread. Click on the icon to activate that option (it will turn yellow)
|If you click “Get a Link” (see image at top of page), this window opens. You can uncheck the View and/or Comment boxes if desired. Click on “Copy the Link” and the link (shown in the image) will be copied to the clipboard. Paste the URL into an email, website, etc.|
|“Moderate Comments?” gives you to option to approve comments before they are published|
|“Show on Browse page?” by checking this option you allow the VoiceThread to be on the general “Browse” page for all to see.|
| Benefits of VoiceThread:
As you can see, the creation and sharing of a VoiceThread is not overly technical. The interface supports best practice strategies for communication – student to student, students to content, and student to instructors. VoiceThread can level the playing field for students who are reluctant to speak in class as well as for those who need a little extra time to formulate their thoughts.
| Challenges of VoiceThread:
Of course, there will be those who are intimidated by the technology. Hopefully with some direct support students (and instructors) will be able to move through that roadblock easily.
VoiceThread can be created in a matter of a few minutes and shared in various ways with different levels of security. Invite your students to comment on the “Muddiest Point” of a challenging topic; review one another’s work; present a project by uploading the multimedia and narrating its development. There are scores of ways to take advantage of VoiceThread’s flexible and meaningful uses. I hope this short showcase interests you enough to try it.
|Learning Objective Example:
Regarding the VoiceThread created for this document:
Students will navigate to the VoiceThread (through an email invitation), introduce themselves to the class using any comment modality they choose and respond to at least one other student’s comment, according to the rubric.
|Resources from the VoiceThread website: Retrieved from on January 29, 2011.|