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Brenda's Blog


Capturing and Sharing Student Voice
With an Online Twist

According to Wikipedia, Student voice is the individual and collective perspective and actions of young people within the context of learning and education."We can thank noted educational thinker John Dewey for drawing attention to the importance of including student voice throughout the education process. In the years since Dewey published his ideas, ongoing research has continued to support Deweys claim that the inclusion of student voice is a necessary step in learning.

I think John Dewey would be intrigued with a number of the Web 2.0 tools that are being offered to educators -- tools that seek to capture and publish childrens ideas. VoiceThread is one of these tools. VoiceThread provides a place to record audio commentary about the ideas and experiences that are important to [children]" Teachers and students are using VoiceThread as a storytelling tool, a deep thinking tool, a research tool, an expository communication tool, and even an assessment tool.

In a nutshell, VoiceThread provides an online space for teachers and students to upload a picture (or pictures). Here, students record their thoughts and understanding about the picture. Not only is that a great way for students to share their learning orally, it provides a platform for students to give and receive feedback as peers, parents, and teachers respond to the project.

A VoiceThread project has the potential to differentiate learning by providing a place where students with different learning styles can share their learning. Used as an assessment tool, VoiceThread projects give teachers a birds eye view into the thinking of their students, especially students who have difficulty communicating their learning through writing.

Teachers are starting to use Voice Thread in many interesting ways. The four below will catch your interest.


Kristine's Wiki
An example of a project to get art studenyts talking and thinking about art.

Great Book Stories
This project demonstrates how VoiceThread can be used to create telecollaborative projects and to breathe new life into book reports. Great Book Stories VoiceThread provides a place for students to share a favorite book and receive feedback.

These questions invite learners to reflect on their own learning and self-assess the quality of the work they created.

Greece, Rome, and Mali Voice Thread Project
A project that reflects on the study of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and The Empire of Ancient Mali by third grade students.

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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