Voicethread in Action

March 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm (voicethread)

Silvia Tolisano provided these examples at the langwitches blog:   

Collaborative Projects
In the What Could It Mean? collaborative project, students share their ideas on why a four litre jug is sitting atop a car.  I love this one as students must make inferences from the image and synthesize those with their own personal experiences to predict why the jug is there.   

Math 247 / K-7 Mathcasts 500 Project  The first VoiceCast on this page demonstrates how to put a number into scientific notation.  This example falls under grade 7 in the table on this page in the wiki. 

Initially I wondered if this becomes another way of doing a worksheet.  I stand corrected.  Please see Tim Fahlberg’s detailed explanation of Mathcast in the comments at the end of this post that explain the student thinking and explanation that go into a Mathcast.  Thanks again, Tim, for taking the time to explain Mathcast to me.  Once again, web 2.0 exemplifies the power of the network to teach, explain and exemplify. 

Visit the Galapagos Island has students describe what they learned and enjoyed about their study of the Galapagos.  This Voicecast demonstrates that anyone can contribute – the shy and the not so shy.

Information Responsibility
In Fair Use, a group of four grade seven students describe what it is and why it is important.  They aren’t just learning by doing but also teaching others when sharing. 

Reading and Language Arts
When I searched VoiceThread in del.icio.us, I came across this pageflakes with links to VoiceThreads for different topics and grade levels, collaborative projects as well as voicethreads dedicated to professional development, some of which I have selected to share below.  This one is dedicated to the geography of Canada.  The teachers give a detailed overview of what students do in this project.  I’m always impressed when I find Canadian content.   

The Books Go Global has grade four students from around the world sharing fiction and non-fiction voice thread booktalks via the wiki.  I visited The Diary of the Wimpy kid one as I just saw it on a best seller list from Publisher’s Weekly.  This could segway into a discussion of why books are or are not the same in different countries.  Brenda Dyck, in her article at Education World, pointed me to Great Book Stories wiki, another place to share VoiceThread booktalks with a larger audience.  Unlike Books Go Global, which embedded all the VoiceThreads and takes a very long time to load, Great Book Stories links to the VoiceThreads instead so you only load the ones that you wish to view.  Either of these could be linked to from a virtual library webpage.

Students could explore figurative language such as alliteration, onomatopoeia or the parts of speech.  One of these could serve as exemplar of what to do and what not to do when creating a VoiceThread so that students could brainstorm the assessment criteria, thereby taking ownership of the task. 

Professional Development
What is the Network Mean to You? VoiceThread is a collaborative project based in Regina where contributors share what “network” means to them.  I was pleasantly surprised when one of the contributors introduced themselves as I recognized the name from one of my previous classes!  People from all over have contributed.  This demonstrates the potential of VoiceThread to be a very valuable professional development tool particularly for one-person departments. 

This VoiceThread wiki was created after an EdTechTalk.  It is a place to learn how to create a VoiceThread and contains examples and resources for using VoiceThread in the classroom.  It is where I discovered the blog of Brenda Dyck, sessional instructor at U of A.   

Will Richardson pointed me to a VoiceThread made by Laura D’Elia after she attended the Building Learning Communities Summer Institute.  This is another way that I can hitch a ride to a conference, time-shifting and place-shifting to when and where it convenient for me.  In this one, I was able to see how the text comment feature and the doodle feature in VoiceThread work.  It was also a treat because Joyce Valenza popped in!  Presenters and participants alike contributed and collaborated on Laura’s VoiceThread.   



  1. Tim Fahlberg said,

    Regarding our Math 247 K-7 Mathcasts 500 (not 50) Project: Creating mathcasts (with VoiceThread or other tools) is far different from completing any worksheet with the biggest difference being that when students create mathcasts they are highly engaged in sharing their thinking and reasoning out loud about a math problem in their own voice typically with writing (if they use a graphics tablet or mouse). Basically the student becomes the teacher which is something that doesn’t happen much when a student merely completes a worksheet of problems.

    If you’d like to experience mathcasts at a higher level I’d like to encourage you to experience some of these ones created by 3rd graders and other students: http://tinyurl.com/2e63rn.

    I just wish you could watch students as they create mathcasts and then ask them if they think there’s any resemblance between creating mathcasts and completing a worksheet. I think you’d see from their faces and hear in their voices that there isn’t much of a comparison.

    Because VoiceThread is so easy to use to create mathcasts I’m hopeful that our K-7 project might inspire many teachers to select routine and non-routine math problems for their students to solve with their voice and writing and share the results with their parents and peers in a very non-worksheety way. And then later after success with VoiceThread I’m hopeful they’d “graduate” to use much more powerful tools for creating, editing, and producing mathcasts so that they can incorporate the use of sorts of tools like virtual graphing calculators, Microsoft Excel, GeoGebra, etc in their mathcasts (or physicscasts, or chemistrycasts, etc).

    I’d like to encourage you also to use your imagination and imagine what would happen if we paired up two students at different levels in math with perhaps an adult mentor and had them work as a team posing problems and commenting on each others using VoiceThreads and a wiki as collaborative tools. This is the direction I’d like to see us take with VoiceThreads and mathcasts so that their use evolves and bears absolutely no resemblance to worksheets.

    Tim Fahlberg
    Mathcasts pioneer (11 years)

  2. arllennium said,

    Hi Tim,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to explain. I really appreciate it. I now have a much better understanding of Mathcasts.


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