Teaching & Learning with Technology

Collaborating at a Distance: VoiceThread

With the addition of the new mediascape technology in the STICC, our campus  based  students have a new, exciting and useful way to collaborate on assignments,  projects, and presentations—and according to our user statistics, they have been taking advantage of these new resources in large numbers .

Recently, our group has been exploring ways for students who are off campus to collaborate.  One product that piqued our particular interest is called VoiceThread.   VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia program that enables students or anyone for that matter, to create a slide show (referred to as a VoiceThread) containing images, documents, and videos that others can view and comment on from anyplace they have an internet connection.  Among the things that makes this online collaboration program different from others is that no special software needs to be installed to use it, and the shear variety of ways in which people can leave comments.  Those ways include text using a standard keyboard, prerecorded audio file, video via a webcam and voice using a microphone.   If you don’t have a microphone, get this….. you can use a telephone!  The ability to add voice comments significantly enhances the overall experience in that lengthy more detailed feedback can be given, and the nuisances in voice tones that are often lost in text based feedback  can lead to better understanding.

VoiceThread is not a brand new program; it has been around for a while, primarily in K-12 education. However, the product is fast becoming a tool of choice in higher education for creating digital stories, conference presentations, and course design among other things.  Ease of use is a large part of the reason for its widespread adoption.  The program has a very intuitive interface, using tools that many users will already be familiar with.

In terms of pricing, you can make up to three FREE VoiceThreads, each containing a total of 50 slides, but there is no limit to the number of VoiceThreads you can comment on.

To learn more about VoiceThread, and how you might use it in your courses, attend the February Tea & Technology event where a demonstration of the program will be conducted. The event will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2012, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in the STICC.  The STICC is located on the lower level of the Library in room L012.  The following links will also provide additional information about the program:

7 Things you should know about VoiceThread http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7050.pdf

VoiceThread Website http://itbabble.com/2011/08/03/voicethread-a-review/

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