Wednesday, February 21, 2018

VoiceThread in BVSD

Did you know that BVSD teachers and 6th-12th grade students have access to VoiceThread? VoiceThread is an interactive media platform that can be used for many types of presentations, assessments and more. After creating a VoiceThread project, others can engage with it in a number of ways, encouraging an ongoing conversation about the work. For more information on the platform, please watch the video below, visit the VoiceThread YouTube channel, or stop by their K-12 website:

Many BVSD teachers have already empowered their students by using VoiceThread to support the 4Cs. Mark Haxton, social studies and computer teacher at Aspen Creek K-8 had the following to say about his experiences:

Why do you think teachers should use VoiceThread with students?
There are a number of great reasons to use VoiceThread, both as a teacher and with students. First of all, it is a great collaboration tool. Multiple users can create and edit the same VoiceThread project simultaneously, so students could collaborate within the same class period or different periods. Second, you can incorporate many different types of multimedia - websites, video, audio, google docs, and it even has a drawing tool. This would be great to use in any subject area. A student could voice record their thinking while using the drawing tool. Third, it is extremely easy for students to login. It is in their launcher, no need to worry about logins and passwords. Finally, all projects allow for commenting by viewers. Students will get great feedback not just from teachers, but from peers and anyone else they choose to share it with.

What is an example of a successful project you've done using VoiceThread?
I’ve used this both for myself and with students. I’ve taken images of text, uploaded them to VoiceThread and recorded myself reading it while highlighting specific areas on the text I wanted students to notice. This is great for struggling readers. I’ve also uploaded images of maps and used this to point out different parts of maps and different types of maps for a sub to use in the sub plans.

Here are a couple of examples of student projects about Invasive Species we created this year.
Example 1 Example 2

What advice would you give to other teachers interested in using VoiceThread with students?
Creating sub plans using VoiceThread would be a great idea. Recording yourself introducing the lesson and objectives for the day. With students, one specific piece of advice I would give would be to introduce the tool and allow them to be creative in the way they want to demonstrate their learning. I use this as just another tool students can use to demonstrate their understanding of curricular concepts.

Lester Lurie, a social studies teacher at Casey Middle School, has found value in using VoiceThread to help develop students’ oracy skills. Mr. Lurie even uses VoiceThread to provide students with project instructions and model its usage. One successful project he has done with his students is a “Digital Atlas”, where students highlight different regions around the world and include various geographical and statistical information. Click here to view an example of this innovative project. A piece of advice Mr. Lurie provided is to simply, “take the leap and do it”, noting that students will likely teach you things throughout the process.

Are you interested in learning more about using VoiceThread in the classroom? Be sure to check out their free online workshops! If you are using VoiceThread already or have any questions, please leave your comments below.

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