My friend and colleague came to me last year and asked for a technology recommendation for a particular project she was planning. She shared the 7th Grade History and Social Science California State Standards that were addressed in the lesson, and we discussed the 4 Cs and how Communication and Collaboration could be incorporated into the project. Immediately, VoiceThread came to mind.
What is VoiceThread?
VoiceThread is a Web 2.0 tool that allows students to upload images from their camera roll, record their narration and annotation on each image, and share their final product for commenting and conversation. It also has a free iOS app. Currently there isn’t an Android option, but there is a Chrome extension if you are using Google Chrome. If students are using the web version, they are also able to upload full videos and/or presentations.
Using the VoiceThread App
When using the VoiceThread app, students can only upload images, not full presentations. In the project that we did, which was called “The Voice(Thread) of Islam,” students first created Keynote presentations on their iPads. Then they put the presentation into full-screen mode and took a screenshot of each of their slides. Next, they uploaded the screenshot of each slide to VoiceThread and recorded a narrative that explained the life of Mohammed and the tenets of Islam.
Once the students published their VoiceThread, they shared them with other students in their grade level to teach them what they had been learning about Islam. These students were able to ask questions, and the creators of the VoiceThread answered back. This created really interesting conversations between classmates. Parents, teachers, and students from around the world were also able to ask questions and leave feedback on each VoiceThread. The best part for the teacher is that she was able to grade the projects by leaving a comment for each student, and she did so from her smartphone!
Common Core Connection
Communication and Collaboration skills are developed naturally when using VoiceThread, especially when students work in collaborative groups to create a VoiceThread. In addition to these skills, the CCSS ELA Speaking and Listening Standards 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 are all developed using VoiceThread. In addition, there is the potential to develop CCSS ELA Speaking and Listening Standard 7.1d, Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views. This would occur when students hear from other students or adults who may have a deeper understanding of the topic.
How have you used VoiceThread with your students?