Jeff wrote about how a science teacher at his school, Carol Jordan, had her grade 9 students report the results of their science experiments. Instead of the usual formal lab report document, the students either created a YouTube video or a VoiceThread. I have been thinking about having students do lab reports in a different format so it was a very timely post for me! In his post, Jeff has lots of examples of both types of lab 'reports' which was incredibly useful to see what the students produced.
Last night I had insomnia, which was the perfect opportunity for me to try out VoiceThread! (With a 4 and a 6 year old where else do you find the time?!) I signed up for an account and created the following VoiceThread which provides information on how to navigate my blog. Lately I've had trouble embedding items in this blog, so first here's the link and now the embedded file:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=76592 " width="480" height="360" wmode="transparent" /]
VoiceThread allows you to upload a variety of files; video, photos, documents etc. You can then comment using audio or video. In true web 2.0 fashion it also allows others to comment on your work, so feel free to comment away on my VoiceThread.
I did have a few technical difficulties with VoiceThread--the program wouldn't let me edit at times and I somehow ended up with a lot of scribbles on one of my slides--but all in all it was very straight forward. I could see students being able to figure it out and being able to start creating pretty quickly. Unlike SlideShare's slidecasting, which I posted on here, you record the audio directly on the VoiceThread site. With SlideShare you must produce your audio on your computer, host it on a podcast host, then link your slide show to the podcast host. So a bit more set-up is definitely required with SlideShare. SlideShare slidecasts do have a more professional feel to them, but VoiceThread allows for more interactivity.
VoiceThread also offers EdVoiceThread.com, with is designed for use by teachers and students. It is designed as a safe environment for students to create and comment on each other's work. They are obviously trying to address the security concerns that some schools and districts have with social networking type sites.
In summary, I think that VoiceThread is a pretty user friendly tool, and I don't think it would take much to get the students used to it and using it.
Image: Funky Light by Gaetan Lee