VoiceThread provides a new dimension to student fieldtrips beyond the capability of Flicker or podcasting. The ability to collaboarate and engage the community in commenting or contributing content through text, audio or video takes VoiceThread to a whole new level not offered by the other web 2.0 tools.
The new Alberta Social Studies curriculum is inquiry based. A way to get students thinking as historians and historical thinkers is through primary sources. Students could display an image in a VoiceThread, being sure to respect copyright, describe what they see along with their interpretation of it, ask their peers to present their interpretations and invite experts outside the school to contribute as well – either from a local high school, post-secondary institution located in another city or on the other side of the world. Youth Source: Youth and Heritage Learning Source, pictured above, has great resources on how to read a primary source, oral histories and others.
Examination of images does not have to be limited to primary sources. It could be used to analyze the quality of presentation, layout, point of view or bias in print ads or video media or other elements of visual literacy. VoiceThread could be used as a tool for students to convey their exploration and demonstrate their developing visual literacy. The VoiceThread could be a digital portfolio of this or any other topic made more powerful by the ability of the learner to “doodle” as they narrate their thinking and others to contribute or comment on the learning.
Some of our students have taken some fabulous extreme close up (ECU) or macros images of common objects. The image could be presented in VoiceThread and others could guess what it is. The object could be revealed at a set date perhaps also declaring a winner that correctly identified the object. This could be a way to build excitement and help others learn how to use the tool. An online gallery of student digital photography could also be created. One obstacle is the necessity of an account to be able to contribute or comment. I will have to think more about that one.
“3D 2x shot of my toothbrush.” syvwich. 2 Nov 2006. 20 Mar 2008 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakebouma/109039319/.>