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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
>> Hello, and welcome to another week of teacher tips. This week, we're looking at Voice Thread which is an online tool that can help create interactive discussions both in and out of the classroom. Whether you teach entirely online, or you're integrating technology into your classroom, Voice Thread can help create rich and rigorous conversations around a central topic. Now, while many learning managing systems already give you the ability to have discussion boards, Voice Thread is drastically different as it gives students the ability to add annotations, audio, and video recordings directly into the discussion.
Often, just a text based discussion can limit the depth of conversation and doesn't allow for things such as voice inflection. Especially for students that are struggling writers, or English language learners, Voice Thread allows these students to participate in the conversation at a level that's right for them. Let's go ahead and explore an already created voice thread to see how this looks. Here in my web browser, I've already logged in a voice thread and I'm going to get started by clicking the drop down arrow in the upper right hand corner. From this menu, let's go ahead and select browse. In the browse menu, I have the opportunity to look at voice threads from other users that they have created and made public.
Let's click on weather, art and poetry in the left hand corner. Now, by default it's prompting me to add a picture. We'll talk about this picture in just a second. I'm going to go ahead and close this box for now. When Voice Thread first opens up, it's going to attempt to automatically play the first recording from the creator of the voice thread. But before we listen to some of these recordings, let's go ahead and become familiar with how Voice Thread's laid out. In the middle of the page, we actually have the media that we're discussing. If there's multiple pages to the media, you can use the large navigation buttons at the bottom to simply move through this presentation.
On the left and the right hand side of this presentation, we have the various comments by different users. Each user has a unique photo or image that they've uploaded. That dialogue box we saw, when we first clicked on this particular voice thread, was telling us that we need to upload our own user image or picture so that our comments are recognizable within this list. Now these comments are actually added in a sequential order. It starts in the upper left hand corner with the comment that's closest to the actual media. Here, the comments move directly down, then they move a layer outside, and continue to move down.
On the right hand side of the screen, it's the exact opposite. Comments start in the upper right hand corner, next to the media, they move down to the outside, and they move all the way down as well. What this means is the first comment, by the creator of this particular voice thread, is in the upper left hand corner. And the most recent comment is the comment that's furthest to the right and at the bottom of the list. Now there's various ways the users can choose to comment on a piece of media that's being discussed. Some users simply are going to add text. If they add text it'll appear as a voice bubble off of their avatar. If I just click on someone's comment, and I don't do anything with the mouse, the system's going to automatically move from comment to comment, all the way through the progression, until every comment's been played.
In addition to adding text, you can add a combination of text, annotation and voice. For example, this user chose to add a green annotation line to circle the sunset area that they're talking about in their text comment. We'll also take a look at this user who used a combination of annotations with voice. Let's go ahead and listen. >> I really like the colors that you chose to use in the front pages of the book. And I really like this purple at the top and the way that it was written about weather, art and poetry. >> Giving students the option to choose how they participate can make the discussion more interactive for the entire class.
It allows students to leave a vocal comment if they're not comfortable with their writing. And they can also annotate various areas to draw attention to certain parts. In the next video, let's go ahead and dive in to how to create a voice thread for your own classroom, so that your students can participate in their own voice thread interactive discussion.
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