Voicethread is a web platfrom that can’t be downloaded. It is a cloud application. The only thing required to use it , is to have a recent version of Adobe Flash. On this application, people can have audio or textual conversations. Users first have to create an account. Once it is done, they can open conversation pages with other users. On that conversation page, users decide whether they want to send a text message or send an audio one. People can also place images, videos or documents in that conversation. Audio conversations can be done with a microphone, a web cam, a telephone or an uploaded audio file. To identify themselves, students can put a picture of them as their avatar on the application. This way, it can make life easier to a teacher that has 100 students and that is not so good with names.
When a VoiceThread page is created, it is possible for the teacher to create a presentation. Once the presentation is done (including audio, documents, texts, etc.) it is possible to share it with the students. At all time, students can comment the presentation and they don’t have to be online at the same time to do so. The comments can be made by text or by audio. Once the comment is posted, it stays there and other people can reply to it.
It is possible to make a presentation and present it live to students without being at the same place. In other words, teacher has to make the class aware that there will be a presentation at a certain moment in the day. Students, than, have to log in and follow the presentation. They can use the comment tool that was introduced before to ask their questions. Those presentations can be share with only some specific person or to the entire world. It is also possible to get in touch with parents via VoiceThread. This way, they can see their child results or ask any question to the teacher if needed.
You can use VoiceThread with your mobile phone. You can have access to all you content via your mobile device. All the same options are offered to you :
- Capture images from your camera or upload them from your photo library.
- Flip through slides with the flick of a finger and annotate while you narrate.
- Share VoiceThreads as easily as sending an email.
- Receive notifications for new comments on your VoiceThreads.
- Access the extensive catalog of existing content on VoiceThread.com.
For elementary schools, VoiceThread can be an interesting tool as well. As images can be posted , it is fun for child to use it. They can be asked to share a picture and to comment on it. They can tell the teacher why that picture is relevant; What it represents ;Is there a story linked with it? Etc. A teacher can easily do a vocabulary review with this application. For example, a teacher can record himself reading aloud a list of vocabulary and post it on a conversation .Afterwards, he can ask students to use that record to practice themselves pronouncing those words.
As a future ESL teacher, I feel like VoiceThread can be a nice tool to use, but with older students. It can be hard to understand how it works . Students from elementary school would need too much support to be able to work with it, so it would be more a lost of time than anything else. As much as it seems interesting, I would not use it with my students, because it is too complex. It would be useful to use it with a class that is done by distance. For example, if a student can’t come to school because he is sick , I would use VoiceThread to transmit him the information. Otherwise, VoiceThread seems to be a useful tool for Cégep or University students more than for elementary and secondary students.