Last month I posted about a live conversation I had through Classroom 2.0 about Voicethread. I have been playing around with it and trying to figure how to set it up for best usage in my classroom. I decided to go with the $10 teacher account. This lets me create identities for contributing to the voicethread without setting up individual accounts for each student. I put it to test last week as an assessment for a presentation I did on Cross Linguistic Influence for my CU Bueno master's class. Many of your colleagues are here contributing to the Voicethread (under my fish identities).
Here's how it went: After some fumbling to get my powerpoint to play the embedded videos I presented my review of a chapter we were reading. I had asked those with laptops to bring them and we were able to form five groups. I gave each group an identity (I called them fish 1, fish 2, etc. -which is what I'm thinking of using for my first grade groups). Then I logged them into Voicethread and helped them to click on the identity for their group. I showed them the different ways of commenting and let them choose. I gave out some microphones and a webcam and I set one group up with call-in minutes (fish 1). I let them choose how they wanted to respond. I circulated and helped but very little help was needed except trying to adjust microphone volume.
The Voicethread consisted of some videos of students answering questions with prompts for my colleagues to answer specific questions related to the language forms of the students or feedback mechanisms of the teacher. Overall the lesson was very well received. The interest and motivation was high and the quality of the responses were great.
Some instructional caveats: The project was very absorbing and we ended up going well over the 30 minutes allocated for discussion. In a k-12 classroom setting you would need to have a very simplified practice setting (reduced content-focus and increased practical-focus). I might have done better to include a discussion rubric if this was a graded assessment. I also would ask the groups to state their names in their comments next time.
Set up time: 10 minutes for videoing students, 20 minutes editing videos and putting subtitles, 30 minutes setting up the slideshow and creating identities. (A simplified one with just photos could have been done in 5 minutes).
Next steps: simplified practice with classroom. Perhaps just one intriguing photo and ask the students to list three descriptive words for the photo using two different means of commenting. Then, begin using it for commenting on student writing projects and other learning activities. Finally, students create their own. (Note: the way I have it set up, students have editing authority and could accidentally erase the whole Voicethread or other students' comments. I haven't figured out a way around this yet without paying the $60/yr teacher Pro account. Does anyone have some ideas how to remedy this?)
I really had fun with it. It seems like a great way to present multiple assessment options and is great for emerging writers. I think it can help foster collaboration skills in the classroom and serve as a great vehicle for project-based learning. An added benefit is that it could serve as a vehicle for metacognitive self-reflection in a student portfolio.
Anyway, here is the link to the Voicethread.
Crossposted on MrFisherGlobalLearner