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01/18/2008

VoiceThread in 2008

A VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways -- using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) -- and share them with anyone they wish. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world."
~ From Voice Threads basics

I remember the first time I ventured onto the VoiceThread web site. Apart from being enticed by its curious name, I wondered what educators might do with a web application that merged still digital images and recorded audio narration. It didnt take long before a cadre of technology enthusiasts across the world began piloting VoiceThread applications in their classrooms and, in the process, redefining digital storytelling and its capacity to capture student voice and thought in ways never considered before.

Speaking Up

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I recently checked the Voice Thread web site again and discovered that the abilities of VoiceThread have been extended significantly. I truly was amazed to see what Voice Thread users have been up to over the past year. Not only are they using images and sound to teach and present, they now are able to upload documents, presentations, video and images for the purpose of collaboration. Comments can now be recorded from any domestic U.S. phone number. And most intriguing is VoiceThreads new Doodling feature that allows users to control the playback of a video as they comment using a microphone or webcam.

The good news is that K-12 educators now can apply for a free VoiceThread Proc account (by logging in, clicking on the Create tab-? Go pro -? K-12 classroom educators) that will give them access all parts of the VoiceThread suite of applications.

New and exciting possibilities for using VoiceThreads in the classroom seem endless. Here are just a few:

See a printable guide for using Voice Threads in the classroom.

About the Author

Brenda Dyck is a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). In addition to teaching preservice teachers, Brenda is the moderator of MiddleTalk, a listserve sponsored by the National Middle School Association (NMSA). Her "HotLinks" column is a regular feature in NMSA's magazine, Middle Ground. Brenda also is a teacher-editor for MidLink magazine.

Author: Brenda Dyck
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01/18/2008