Using VoiceThread to Give Students a Voice Outside the Classroom

Give Students a Voice Outside the Classroom

Just like most educators, I view teaching as a process. After incorporating a new activity or giving a new course, I reflect upon the outcomes. What went well? What failed? Sometimes I know the modifications I would make the next time around, but other times I look to my student evaluations for guidance. This recently happened after teaching an introductory Spanish class online. While I felt that the class had gone well, a student’s simple observation led me to my latest modification: find a way for students interact with one another in an online setting. The online forum I employed enabled me to speak in an asynchronous fashion with my students, but it did not allow them to communicate with one another, leaving them isolated, alone in cyberspace to work on their assignments with no personal interaction. The comment sent me knocking on my friendly technology consultant’s door, and together we found a simple solution: VoiceThread.

VoiceThread is a ridiculously simple online program that allows students to comment on authentic materials, whether they be pictures, documents, web pages, or video. Students can provide written feedback to the material presented along with oral feedback via their computer mics, web cams, or cellular phones. For the more adventurous, students can provide video commentary as well.

Shannon Polchow