I have been watching and listening with great interest as teachers and other tech enthusiasts have been posting creations made with VoiceThread. I first encountered VoiceThread at Ddraig Goch’s blog. More recently, there has been a lot of sharing of success stories in the Classroom 2.0 forum.
As a language arts teacher, I am especially interested in how individuals with little or no technical expertise can use this free, web-based application to seamlessly integrate words and images into beautiful little multimedia presentations.
VoiceThread is a compelling tool for the English teacher. A thoughtful lesson that incorporates VoiceThread draws on all the language arts skills — reading, writing, listening, speaking, and representing.
Every semester my students conducted PowerPoint-supported book talks; it seems a VoiceThread book talk would have greater reach and impact. First, the students’ voices are permanently embedded in the slideshow for repeated viewings over time. Second, rather than rely on ready-made templates, students would have to carefully select or create their own digital images. Third, a more rigorous writing component is possible if students are required to script and rehearse their commentaries prior to recording. (I’ve always been bothered by the way PowerPoint reduces thought to the proverbial three bullet points.)
Moreover, students who share books in common can leave comments, reactions, and insights on each other’s VoiceThreads.
Wesley Fryer has posted a number of projects that demonstrate VoiceThread’s value in the English classroom as well as its tremendous interdisciplinary potential. Check out his Great Book Stories project as well as his VoiceThread about the Shanghai Cricket Market.
My first VoiceThread is more modest, but I am excited nonetheless because my son, who just turned two, also joined in the action. Here is my first little VoiceThread demo, celebrating Henry’s second birthday.
So, what do you think? (For reasons beyond my level of comprehension, VoiceThreads cannot be embedded in blogs hosted by WordPress.com. So, you will have to go offsite to view my project. Sorry!)