Voice Thread

I love professional development. I'm in the middle of a 21st century learning workshop with Kim Cofino, an educator from Yokohama International School. We've been learning about this and that, but Mrs. Cofino worked some time into the schedule for "speedgeeking" wherein educators volunteer to share a technology tool and application. During speedgeeking, I learned about Voice Thread.

Voice Thread turns digital media into a collaborative experience. For instance, take this video below. I'm in a biology unit for my sixth grade science class. I could show this video through the blog, upload it to you tube, and even discuss it in class. Specifically, I want students to make a hypothesis on whether or not it is a member of the plant or animal kingdom.

Voice Thread makes the media more interactive. For starters, I can upload an image or video and make narrations. For the example above, I want students to try and make some predictions, inferences and general thoughts on whether or not the organism above is a plant or animal.

With Voice Thread, I can upload the video to the site, make comments or drawings over it and invite students to do the same. I think it has some great applications as a formative assessment tool. For instance, a math teacher could upload a mere image of a graph and ask students to identify trends in the data. A language arts teacher could have a picture of a poem that they read out loud and invite students to comment on, using language arts strands. In the example below, I've uploaded the same video to Voice Thread, asked students to comment on the question through text or audio and the conversation is all contained and organized around the media.

The downside is that every user gets three free uploads. After that, they have to delete old Voice Threads or upgrade for a 79$ a year subscription. Perhaps something for your school's wish list?

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