Thursday, October 20, 2011

Can Voicethread build community online?

The plethora of tools and technologies that we are offered in this course may be somewhat overwhelming at times but I think it is important to remember that as an online facilitator we aren't obliged to use all of the tools. You may use some of the tools as a learner to keep up to date in your field (I find Twitter particularly useful to pull in information) you may choose tools to collate information (bookmarking tools like Diigo and delicious) but I think Voicethread is a perfect tool for engaging learners and building an online community.

However, that said, I have not had much success engaging learners previously. See one of my previous blog posts Evaluate facilitation of my Voicethread asynchronous activities

Regardless of my lack of success, following are some examples of how Voicethread can be used to very effectively build a discussion online.

Take a look at this Voicethread presented by Michelle Pacansky-Brock The first slide contains many comments (both written and recorded audio) which may seem like a lot, but make sure you listen to the first 4 comments as this will also give you the opportunity to see how Michelle has visually recorded herself making a comment, which adds another dimension to this tool.

This Voicethread addresses Managing multi-membership in Social Networks, and offers some useful tips. (Note this Voicethread was linked in the blogpost referred to above)

I invite you to participate in How can you use Voicethread? even if you just make a comment as to whether you have ever seen Voicethread before or have you used it, maybe how you think you could use Voicethread in your practise.

If you are interested in creating your own Voicethread simply follow these instructions.....


Vanessa said...

Thanks ~ looks (and sounds) interesting. A good tool to add to an ESL study group page. I'll check it out but have to say upfront that hearing loss makes audio apps less than 100% appealing

Kim Mc said...

Hi Vanessa, good point about hearing loss when using audio apps. The beauty of Voicethread is that you can audio comment or you can type your comment (I will check if you can do both similtaneously), however it does restrict your length when written. I have found that those people who want to leave lengthier comments will record audio.

Kim Mc said...

Vanessa I have tested as above and you can record audio and written comment but one plays first then the next. See what I have done on on the halloween slide.
This makes me think that Voicethread could be used as a tool for sutdents/participants who are hearing impaired and those who are not as long as it is clear that all commenters add written and audio to allow hearing impaired students to view all comments.

Vanessa said...

Thanks ~ I'm also thinking here about text reinforcement being a good feature for ESL students who may mishear or hear and misunderstand. Pairing listening comprehension/speaking and reading/writing reinforces both. Besides, as a writing teacher, I'm partial to anything that leads to more writing.

NormWright said...

Thanks for posting the example voice thread by Michell Pachansky-Brock. It was very interesting and very well done. I watched the whole thing.
I left a text message on your other sample voice thread. I tried it with audio, but the sound level was way too low in the playback, and I couldn't really hear most of it. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong.
Too bad you only get 3 free voicethreads before you have to pay. It's like having 3 wishes; you need to think carefully about how you will use them. Normally I'd probably use up 2 or 3 trials just playing with it to learn how, make mistakes and figure it out before I was ready to deploy it for any real purpose. But its good to know its available. You never know when something will come up that would be just right for voicethread.

Kim Mc said...

Thanks Norm for your comments here and on Voicethread. I agree the free version is only limited to a few egs and I have not looked into the cost of Voicethread.
A good eg for use of voice and text option is for those(your) students who are learning a language.

Brandon said...

Thanks for the thoughts, Kim. Why do you think you haven't had success with VoiceThread in the past? I personally haven't used it, so I'm curious about potential issues.

Kim Mc said...

Hi Brandon. I think perhaps if I had a captive audience, ie I was a facilitator in a course/class, then I could direct students to be required to participate. In my circumstances I have had to engage an audience, this is something I have been thinking on (& on) about during the progress of this course. In my work I am unable to use Vt because it is on the open web and not protected behind the confines of a corporate firewall(which is where I exist in my day job). I have always found it fairly easy to use with minimal issues.