Voicethread in Teaching and Learning

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

Benefits of VoiceThread according to Valenza and others:

  • simple and easy
  • focus on the content instead of the tool; can serve as a form of free writing (Ferriter)
  • requires simple hardware and minimal memory requirements (Langhorst); minimal tech-barrier (Ferriter)
  • encourages collaborative storytelling
  • ability to use powerful images – one or many
  • users can zoom in to see detail and out to see big picture (haven’t figure that one out yet)
  • ability to add text
  • easy to capture voices
  • inspires ongoing conversation about each image (Ferriter)
  • build fluency, precision and voice in second language
  • new dimension for creative analysis of historical photographs, maps and artifacts
  • ability to give and receive feedback from peers, teachers [formative and summative assessment], parents and other relatives, local and global community (Fryer)
  • effective tutorials (although I didn’t find them or the website design as intuitive as some of the other web 2.0 tool tutorials)
  • can be used “as a storytelling tool, a deep thinking tool, a research tool, an expository communication tool, and even an asessment tool” (Dyck)
  • allows for differentiation to accomodate different learning needs and styles, another option for struggling or reluctant writers (Dyck)
  • allows the teachers to seamlessly integrate digital collaboration into the currciulum (Ferriter)
  • provides another opportunity to discuss copyright

In addition, at the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website, it identifies that digital storytelling, of which a VoiceThread can be a tool in creation:

  • capitalizes on creative talents
  • motivates digital generation
  • can suit many purposes: informative, quesitoning, historical, autobiographical, etc.

At the langwitches blog, Silvia Tolisano also adds that creating a storybook through Voicethread shows that

  • they are a learning community
  • learning is a lifelong process as teachers learn to use the VoiceThread tool
  • collaboration can take place across ages and grades

Valenza describes the power of VoiceThread like this:

“A single photograph, capturing a single moment, can represent multiple stories.  This site collects and invites participation in the telling.” 

Uses in Teaching and Learning as suggested by Valenza and others:

  • create or select images to accompany original poetry, poetic devices or research
  • record personal, family or community history, historic events or an oral history project (Langhorst); documentaries or essays (Robin (ppt))
  • create an photo album of your school (web2telegraph) or library narrated by students
  • share oral reports about research through digital story (Fryer)
  • opportunity for students to develop interview skills
    • interview techniques
    • build confidence with peers
    • asking open ended questions
    • providing interviewee time to elaborate
    • follow up questions (Langhorst)
  • develop editing skills – eliminate errors and pauses
  • collaborate with a school in another location (Fryer
  • illustrated booktalks
  • Ferriter suggests students record thoughts while previewing (doc) or draft comments from four different suggestion types (doc)
  • Joseph (2006) provides some other suggestions, based on the Olympus Envision Your World website, including a photo gallery to tell the story of municipal, provincial, national story (like America 24/7) or exploring science material to demonstrate their use in labs, innovation and space exploration (such as Marvels of Invention).

At the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling it also identifies these possibilities for Digital Storytelling that revolve around a particular theme or viewpoint:

1. Personal Narratives

  • help students organize ideas as they learn to create stories for an audience (my emphasis, connects to Focus on Inquiry (pdf) and Revised Blooms Taxonomy)
  • create digital stories based on multicultural folktales
  • hold a digital storytelling festival (Robin & Pierson, ppt)

2. Examination of Historical Themes and Events that move beyond an encyclopedia entry

  • help students conduct research
  • synthesize large amounts of content
  • gain expertise in using digital communications and authoring tools

3. Stories that Inform or Instruct  

  • introduce new material
  • use as an anticipatory set or hook for a lesson
  • enhance current lessons
  • make difficult content more accessible

To Consider . . .

  • “Vision before application” (Robin & Pierson, ppt), meaningful vs. superficial storytelling (Robin, ppt)
  • Ask for signed consent from person interviewed to be able to share
  • Getting VoiceThread unblocked (Fryer)
  • Assessment – a rubric suggestion is provided at the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website

1 Comment

  1. Colette Cassinelli said,

    I am collecting examples of how educators are using Voicethread in their classroom or for professional development on a wiki at: http://voicethread4education.wikispaces.com/

    My plan is to share these examples with other technology teachers who provide professional development in their schools.

    Feel free to add your own examples or links to resources. Thanks in advance,
    Colette Cassinelli

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