Thursday, February 28, 2008

Using Voicethread in the Classroom

First of all, let me tell you that I was influenced by Vicki Davis (coolcatteacher) and her blog post about ”Be a human BEING rather than a human DOING: Making choices in Overchoice” which made me realize that I didn’t need to learn it all right now. So, I’m trying to learn one new thing each week so I don’t feel so overwhelmed. Just that I’m in the conversation makes me feel good. Here is such a great example of a voicethread where many people tell you "What Does the Network Mean to You?"

This week I tried voicethread but I had to join it first. Then I put my pictures in Flickr because I also have some family members who like to look at individual pictures. When I open the voicethread window, I clicked on create and I was walked through all the steps so it was pretty easy. There is also a tutorial you can watch which helped me know which options were best to pick. Then I loaded the pictures I wanted into Voicethread. Once I put them in the order I wanted, I could add my comments to the pictures that I liked to comment about.

I can see how this can be used on the personal level and on the educational level. Of course here is an example that I did on the personal level: Parsons Mountain 2/16/2008. This would be a great way to document trips or events with actual voice memories. Voices can capture emotion and feelings where the written word cannot.

In the same way, you could document field trips and let the students give their version of what is happening in the pictures. Events that happen at school could be done the same way. Teacher or student portfolios can be done in this way. When I taught in the Occupational Diploma Program, my purpose was to help students get a job and keep a job. Voicethread could be used to teach job skills where important job skills would be shown and the student could tell why it was important to have this skill on the job. In order to graduate with an occupational diploma, each student had to prepare a portfolio with material from all four years in the program including photos of their performance on the job. Students could show pictures of their performance on the job and explain what their job responsibilities were in each picture.

This also could be used as an alternate assessment to written tests. If the objective is for students to know and understand the material and they have difficulty with writing, this would be perfect to use. The teacher could upload photos on the topic and the student could explain what is happening. Or the teacher could ask a question pertaining to the photo and the student could respond with the correct answer. A rubric could be developed in order to grade this and document the information for grading purposes.

photo credit: voicethread_voices.PNG by margoc found on flickr creative commons.


Christine said...

OK - what I really liked about your post was the idea of only trying to learn one thing every week. Whew, all this stuff gets so overwhelming. I need to remember I can do that. :)

loonyhiker said...

Christine: All of this stuff out there can be overwhelming. But if I take note of all the stuff, and pick out the one I like to try first, it kind of puts everything in perspective. Glad I could pass on some useful advice.

lbilak said...

I have many students with IEPs in my Spanish class. I have always had a more 'communicative approach' to teaching my class.
These students do great when the emphasis is on speaking/listening
rather than reading/writing.Voicethreads have been very fun to do as an activity, then I create a game sheet for a listening game once all students are recorded. Can't say how much I love it. You will find all sorts of uses for it too!

loonyhiker said...

lbilak: Thanks for showing how it is used in a language class. That is such a great way to focus on the strengths of the special ed students rather than their weaknesses.

Mrs. R. Martin said...

I love the image you used for that VoiceThread. Did you create it or find it online?

loonyhiker said...

mrs. r martin: I confess that I found it on Flickr Creative Commons and left the credit off my post. I will edit my post as soon as I find the owner of the picture. Thanks for asking.

Colette Cassinelli said...

I am collecting examples of how educators are using Voicethread in their classroom or for professional development on a wiki at:

My plan is to share these examples with other technology teachers who provide professional development in their schools.

Feel free to add your own examples or links to resources. Thanks in advance,

loonyhiker said...

colette: I checked out your wiki and there are wonderful examples of using voicethread in the classroom. Great starting point for beginners!