My VoiceThread – Blog and Webinars

The Hidden Power of Asynchronous Learning

How do you define the word “learning”?

If a student passes a test by cramming the day before, but they can’t remember the concepts months later, can we truly say they have “learned” the material? We know that when students cram for an exam, the information they consume is not going to be stored in long-term memory. To transfer information from their short-term to their long-term memory, students need repeated interaction with concepts over time. From this perspective, students who pass an exam by cramming are not learning much more than students who fail an exam. This phenomenon is caused by what Hermann Ebbinghaus called “The Forgetting Curve”.

forgettingcurve

 

Traditionally, students have attempted to capture information shared during a live class by taking notes. We know that students’ note taking ability varies greatly and the students who most need to review and reflect on the information may not be the best at copying notes with great fidelity.

If you create content on a VoiceThread, however, students can go back to review and reflect on your content exactly as it was delivered. If they review for the exam days, or even weeks later, they will also have the ability to ask questions right on the slides you created.

Spaced repetition and reflection are just some of the many benefits of asynchronous learning on VoiceThread. Educators who flip their class enjoy the benefits of this method, but we’d like to know how you design spaced repetition into your lessons. Leave us a comment below and share your secrets about building memory reconsolidation into your course design!

 

Teaching Music Online with VoiceThread (part 2)

This is a guest post by music educator and VoiceThreader, Eric Lindsay.

A few weeks ago I wrote a guest blog post about the media-rich capabilities in VoiceThread for online music learning. This is a follow-up entry with three quick ideas for teachers interested in bumping up the audio and video production quality of their online presentations.

TIP 1: Premix your Voiceovers

Want to enhance the cinematic qualities of your slides? You can transform your discussion of a famous piece, political speech, or other audio recording by using some or part of it as background to your talking track. This eliminates the sometimes awkward pauses between an artifact and your discussion of it. I often use this technique when I want to create a running analysis of a piece of music, or whether I want to intersperse talking points with media examples.

Using an open-source audio editor like Audacity (Mac/Windows, free), you can record a voiceover on one track, drag in an audio file from your desktop, and use fade in/fade out controls to create smooth transitions between the recording and your lecture. When you’re done, export your session as a .mp3 and add it to a VoiceThread slide as a media upload.

Tip 1Figure 1 Premixing Audio in Audacity.

TIP 2: Intersperse Slides With Videos and Screencasts

Everyone’s heard a variation on the adage about more “showing” and less “telling” in their instruction. If you feel like your VoiceThreads are doing too much of the latter, throw in some videos—that you’ve made on your phone or tablet, or a screencast of an application—of you demonstrating something that they can experiment with on their own. We do a lot of composing in my courses, so I’ll often share out a file (Garageband is shown below) before the unit goes live and offer some ideas for listening to or creatively extending the material in my lecture.

For screencasting, I use Screenflow 5 (Mac, $99) because I find the tools for creating desktop videos and enhancing them with call-outs, transitions, voiceover effects and more are really intuitive. However, there are several others that are worth exploring: Adobe Captivate, Camtasia Studio, Screenr, Jing and others. Whichever tool you use, you’ll be exporting your tutorial as a video file (.mp4 or .mov) and uploading it to VoiceThread as a movie that you can arrange in your presentation as though it were just another slide.

Tip 2Figure 2 Creating a screencast using Screenflow 5.

TIP 3: Don’t Lose Your Animation

One of the first discoveries people have when trying out VoiceThread is that their slide animations get lost when they upload their decks. Perhaps you have the most genius PowerPoint slide build ever. Maybe you just don’t want to rearrange content in the slides that have layering effects. If this really bums you out, you can create a workaround by saving a particular slide as a movie file.

Tip 3Figure 3 Exporting slides as movies in PowerPoint.

Track down the slide with the animation you want to keep. Change any animation that’s activated “By Click” to “After Previous” and approximate how many seconds you’ll need between animations for your voiceover. Set this as the “Delay” between events, then practice your timings in slideshow mode. When you think your timings are pretty good, isolate this slide by deleting all the others (at least temporarily) and selecting “Save as Movie” under the file menu. Upload the movie file of this slide to your VoiceThread and record your voiceover online as a voice comment. Because of the trial-and-error involved, I wouldn’t recommend doing this for simple effects, mostly because you’re a teacher and you likely have more pressing things to do, but at least you can know that animation is available to you for those “special moments” in your decks.

Got any other tips? I’d love to hear them.

Check out excerpts from the “Digital Audio” unit of the Music in Multimedia course, which offers some additional recording best practices:


Eric Lindsay is a composer and lecturer at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he teaches courses in digital composition and music in media. His music includes various approaches to concert music, opera, interactive electronics, sound installation, and mixed media. His music and activities can be followed at @ericcomposer or his website, www.ericlindsaymusic.com.

Workshop Archive: May and June 2015

Thank you to the 1,600+ educators that were a part of our May and June workshops! For those of you who couldn’t join us, you can get up to speed and follow along with the recorded archives below. A number of the recordings include the introduction and brainstorm conversations as well. Because VoiceThreads are asynchronous, you are welcome to join the conversation on any and all of the slides.

We hope you can join us live for our July and August workshops. You can learn more about them and register here:

July and August Workshops


VoiceThread Basics 1- upload, comment and share:


Teaching Reading and Writing with VoiceThread:


Using VoiceThread for Student Portfolios:


VoiceThread and Universal Design for Learning (UDL):


VoiceThread for Flipped, Blended and Hybrid Classes:


VoiceThread and Your LMS:

VoiceThread’s July and August Workshops

Join us for some professional development!  VoiceThread is hosting 9 free online sessions in the coming months to help both Higher Ed. and K-12 educators develop ideas for enhancing their classes.

Each session will be led by George Haines, an expert VoiceThreader, Instructional Designer, and former K-12 educator. George will share his expertise, showcase some exemplary VoiceThreads, and facilitate an open discussion about lesson design.

Check out the sessions below and click on each link to register.  Anyone is welcome to join us.

The format for each training will include a presentation plus hands-on activities that will continue asynchronously in VoiceThread after the live session is over.


VoiceThread Mobile

Online course design has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Over 80% of students now use smartphones and tablets for academic work. In this workshop, participants will learn how to design lessons with mobile learners in mind. We will explore the differences between VoiceThread’s mobile app and the traditional browser version, and participate in hands-on activities.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2pm ET: Register Here


VoiceThread and your LMS

In this workshop, we will work on integrating VoiceThread into an LMS environment. With LMS integration educators can create and share VoiceThreads and grade student work. Participants will learn how to use the assignment builder feature to assess student work during a hands-on segment.

Thursday, July 16th, 2pm ET: Register Here


VoiceThread Basics 1- upload, comment and share

In this workshop, participants will learn how to upload media, comment and annotate on that media, and share it with others. This will be a slow paced, step-by-step, hands-on workshop. It is open to both VoiceThread license holders and free members.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2pm ET: Register Here


Making the Switch to the New VoiceThread

This workshop is intended for VoiceThreaders who just made the switch to the new VoiceThread. Participants will learn about the differences between the old and new versions and explore the new features available to them for the 2015-2016 academic year.

*We are offering this session on three different days and times. Once you click the “register here” link, you can select the day and time that works best for you.

Monday, August 3rd 2pm ET

Wednesday, August 5th, 7pm ET

Thursday, August 6th, 10am ET

Register Here


VoiceThread Basics 2- groups and secure sharing

In this workshop, we will begin to explore the features available to VoiceThreaders with a full license. Participants will learn how to create groups, set sharing permissions within those groups and privately share VoiceThreads with individuals.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2pm ET: Register Here


Using VoiceThread in large classes and MOOCs

Why are students so dissatisfied with large classes? The research tells us that students yearn for more interaction with both peers and instructors. Simply put: large classes lack a human presence. But is it possible to deliver a small classroom experience within a large course? In this session, we will demonstrate how VoiceThread can be used to deliver that intimate experience found in a small course with the efficiency that’s required in a large course.

Tuesday, August 18th, 3 pm ET: Register Here


VoiceThread Basics 3- moderating, re-ordering and copying

In our third workshop in the series, participants will learn how to use comment moderation to formatively assess student work, re-order comments and copy VoiceThreads for use with multiple groups.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2pm ET: Register Here


Flipping Your Class with VoiceThread

The flipped classroom is usually described as “lecture at home, homework in class.” While this may be true for teachers who use one-way, broadcast video tools to record lengthy lectures, it doesn’t need to be the case. Lesson design doesn’t need to include passive learning either at home or in school. In this workshop, educators will learn how to use VoiceThread to design engaging, student-centered, “flipped,” blended or hybrid course content that encourages students to think.

Wednesday, August 26th, 7pm ET: Register Here

Using VoiceThread in Religion Class

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Michelle Reagan.

I use a variety of EdTech tools in my blended classroom, but my absolute favorite is VoiceThread. Not only is it the most user friendly, it does something that is essential in a religion classroom: It allows us to continue to build relationships in cyberspace.

Teachers are ultimately in the business of forging relationships: We bond with students, we communicate with parents and we enable youth to become personally invested in their education. As a religion teacher, the ability to create personal connections is even more fundamental. I am called go beyond an intellectual level. I strive to make my students women of a deep, personal faith. Initially, I thought that in a blended classroom, maintaining the critical bond of fellowship would be a challenge.

Helping student with her VT script

Technology is innately impersonal, or so I thought. Then I found VoiceThread. I love student presentations, but they devour class time. I began using VoiceThread as a tool for “flipped class presentations.” I wanted my students to give presentations reflecting on images of Church. Using VoiceThread, my students gave traditional oral presentations, but they took place in the cloud.

I required a minimum of three comments on classmate VoiceThreads giving me the opportunity to educate students on appropriate online sharing, something today’s youth desperately need. But what sets VoiceThread apart, is the students’ voices. The ability to hear the student explain her idea of church with support of her own artwork, created that personal connection that is vital to developing fellowship in a religion classroom. Here’s a sample from my first VoiceThread class:

Mary’s VoiceThread

None of the relationship was lost. In fact, for me, the personal connection was enhanced. I was able to watch each VoiceThread at a time when I could focus my full attention on each presentation. There were no distractions that take place when students present in the classroom: Bells, calls from the office, inattentive peers. VoiceThread allows me to be totally present to the student, even though we’re not in the same room.

The other benefit of using VoiceThread for presentations and discussions is that it puts all students on a level playing field. My students wanted to make video reflections to review what they learned. We shared their videos using VoiceThread and invited students to comment voluntarily about a discussion we had in class. I was pleasantly surprised when the comments started to appear. They did not come from the girls who always raise their hands in class. Rather, the “quiet students” were commenting on VoiceThread. It allows students who don’t feel confident speaking in class to have a voice. Students who never spoke a word in class were posting multiple comments on their peer’s videos.

For me, teaching is about building relationships that help students bond with their faith. In a digital age, teachers need tools that allow students to forge real connections in a virtual world. For me, VoiceThread is that tool.

Helping student make her voicethread public


 

About the author

Michelle Reagan has been a high school teacher in the Diocese of Orange for over 10 years. She currently teaches sophomore religion at Rosary Academy in Fullerton, CA. Her passion for using technology to ignite her students’ faith has made her a frequent presenter at Diocesan professional development events. You can find her on twitter at @foleyreagan.

Teaching Music Online with VoiceThread (part 1)

This is a guest post by music educator and VoiceThreader, Eric Lindsay.

Developing your first online course isn’t easy. You worry about engagement and retention. You’re not sure whether the online portal will be easy for students to navigate. You wonder if you’ll need to make changes to delivery formats mid-semester and whether it’ll confuse everyone. In short, it can feel like it’s your first time in the classroom again. In a way, it is.

So I considered myself fortunate this past year for having the opportunity to “soft launch” a few online units in my undergraduate Music in Multimedia course that I teach on-premise in the Jacobs School of Music. Every few weeks, I’d replace our regular weekly lecture session with an asynchronous online module, and swap out our weekly lab for a synchronous online collaboration.

The great thing about this arrangement was that I could test out a number of learning platforms and online teaching methods, compare them against our in-person discussions and projects, and iterate on the online designs using feedback I’d receive from the students. It helped clarify the differences between in-person and online learning immeasurably.

One of the most striking transformations in the class occurred when I started creating online lectures using VoiceThread. The lecture content, which felt like a series of e-readers in earlier modules, suddenly looked and felt more like a live presentation. It was easy to infuse media examples, either as video files interspersed throughout the lecture, text comments that linked out to a series of videos, or as music-plus-voiceover comments that I’d premix (in an audio editor like Audacity or Garageband) and upload to my presentation.

I’ve done a lot of work in video, and tracking down your editing session, making changes and exporting a new (often large) video file can be time-consuming. I love that I can add new slides to my presentation and record a voiceover on the fly, without an obvious dip in production quality from the more highly-produced parts of the presentation. Given that this is a course on music and media, I value how fluidly these multimedia components tie together in a VoiceThread presentation.

Most noticeable was the shift in student engagement since we started using VoiceThread. Enabled in earlier modules from periodic research-and-share discussion threads, which always felt stilted and seemed to privilege only a certain type of discourse, student engagement now seemed more authentic and spontaneous, with an average of 88% of the class offering up responses any time I posed a question. In fact, because students could leave comments at any point in the presentation, several students would add to the conversation even when I wasn’t soliciting a response.

I felt like I understood the students much better based on what they brought to the table in our VoiceThread lectures than what I’d seen in our earlier discussion forum threads. Interestingly, students started reporting that they really enjoyed taking in the other student responses in VoiceThread, even though technically this was something there were able to do the whole time in our prior online engagement activities. Something about the interface and the ability to listen, and not just read, other students’ responses seemed to heighten the value students placed in peer-to-peer learning.

When I surveyed students about their experiences with the VoiceThread modules, 77% of them thought that their learning was just as effective online as it was in person, with the remaining 23% still finding the learning effective but still missed the transactions of in-person group discussions. Several students had taken online courses before but hadn’t experienced VoiceThread before, offering up comments like “I thought the online format was so cool and SO much easier to follow than other online classes I’ve taken” and “I think I learned this material just as well online [as in person]. Sometimes I think online classes are pointless or take away from learning but not in this case.”

I’ve since gone back to my earlier online units and converted them into VoiceThreads as well, which I’ll launch this fall when the first online-only section of this course goes live. I’m looking forward to it!

Check out excerpts from the “Jingles” unit of the Music in Multimedia course:

 


Eric Lindsay is a composer and lecturer at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he teaches courses in digital composition and music in media. His music includes various approaches to concert music, opera, interactive electronics, sound installation, and mixed media. His music and activities can be followed at @ericcomposer or his website, www.ericlindsaymusic.com.

VoiceThread Portfolios: Capturing the Creative Process

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Jonathan Lewis.

As a classroom teacher, sound assessment practices have always been a challenge, especially as we strive towards meeting the diverse needs of all of our learners. This challenge becomes even more complex due to differentiation, descriptive feedback, and the diverse technological tools our students are using to communicate their learning. Throw in a dash of Problem or Inquiry-based Learning and you have the perfect storm of open learning opportunities, leaving you to wonder how you are going to capture anything.

 

EFFICIENCY

As a teacher trying to navigate through the tsunami of student information flying at you, efficiency becomes the key to employing the tech tools that are going to best support the process of learning. From my experience there are 4 main criteria that a tech tool must meet in order for it to be useful:

  1. It is NOT device dependent.
  2. It can handle multiple file/media formats.
  3. Has a simple, innovative interface.
  4. Creates opportunities for meaningful learning.

 

THE SIMPLE POWER OF VOICETHREAD

In our search for efficiency, we often find that technology integration makes more work, transforming a relatively straightforward process (ie. conferencing with a student) into a gauntlet of file formats, devices that won’t open files, and browsers that need updating. A simple interface that can step outside of file formating becomes a refreshing change, often becoming a go-to tool. VoiceThread has been this for me.

I’m learning that you can weigh a tool’s intuitiveness by the reactions of a first time user. Often the tools that invoke a “That’s it?” reaction become the tools that are most meaningful in the classroom. The intuitiveness of the tool becomes alive as the user adds information to it.

VoiceThread is a tool that comes alive once added to. The simplicity of dragging and dropping a wide variety of files, or snapping a picture or video through the app that can be annotated and/or commented on, simplifies the assessment process allowing for constant, immediate feedback. Descriptive feedback is made easy through the voice recording, and enhanced by the ability to annotate directly on whatever you have uploaded.

VoiceThread’s open, yet structured format has been its greatest asset in my classroom. It was the reason why it makes a great backdrop for a portfolio.

 

CAPTURING THE CREATIVE PROCESS

Creative projects are at the heart of the art classroom. Likewise, at the heart of the creative process is feedback. Ongoing feedback supports the thinking at every stage of the process. As an art teacher I want to be able to pilot in during these different stages of creativity in order to open a dialogue about the idea from its conception to the finished project.

VoiceThread provides a platform for students to easily snap a photo during whatever stage of the creative process they are on. Whether they are creating a proposal, sketching an idea, or creating a digital mock-up, students can make their thinking visual through VoiceThread. As a teacher this helps me to see the rationale behind the ideas being created, adding to or encouraging the direction of an idea, in order to push the experimentation and creativity of the student.

As a grade 7 and 8 rotary art teacher, I have 50 min art periods, twice a week. The time constraints of the class have made it incredibly difficult to get to every student during class time. VoiceThread has made feedback manageable again, allowing me to streamline my feedback to those students who can independently move to the next step, providing opportunities in class to sit with the students that need a more hands-on approach.

At the end of a project, it is exciting to see the transformation of an idea to a final project all contained digitally through VoiceThread.

 

SETTING UP A PORTFOLIO THROUGH VOICETHREAD

At the beginning of the year in Grade 7 we create physical art portfolios to house sketchbooks, mock-ups, and hold materials as we are working. At the same time, each student sets up their digital portfolio through VoiceThread using an individual thread that is shared only between teacher and student.

The first page of this “thread” can really be anything that represents the individual student, as it acts like a title page for their portfolio. I always start with something that you can easily recognize as their own such as an art piece with their name in it somehow. Following that first page, students will simply add photos to this thread during the process of whatever they are creating at the time. Teachers can upload success criteria for the assignment as a separate page in the thread, flipping between the work and the criteria as they record their feedback.

At the end of the project, a photo of the final product is uploaded, allowing students to leverage the tools in VoiceThread to reflect and identify what worked and what didn’t.  VoiceThread provides a meaningful avenue to fulfill the responding and reflecting components of our Arts curriculum.

When students start their next project, I make sure that they organize the pages in the thread from newest to oldest so that as the teacher I only have to flip past the first page (title page) to see their next creation!

 

EXTENDING THE IMPACT OF VOICETHREAD

Hosting a digital portfolio on VoiceThread extends far beyond the Arts classroom. Much of the process of capturing student thinking through a VoiceThread portfolio can be applied to any subject. Easily capture math work or a design in science, adding it as a page to a thread in order for students to explain their thinking. As the number of images in the thread grows, so does the ability of the student to see how they have improved.

 

 


About the guest blogger:

Jonathan Lewis is an elementary school teacher and literacy coach at Mackenzie Glen Public School part of the York Region District School Board in Maple, Ontario. He has worked with intermediate grades for 10 yrs focusing mainly on Literacy and Media Arts. His role as literacy coach has provide many opportunities to collaborate with teachers from different grades and schools, supporting technology integration and its role in promoting literacy instruction. You can find him on twitter here: @j_lewie


 

The Student Privacy Pledge

 

Student privacy is everyone’s concern.  VoiceThread
is proud to support the effort to safeguard student data by signing The Student Privacy Pledge. We have believed strongly in these protections ever since VoiceThread was founded almost 10 years ago.  Ed.VoiceThread, our dedicated K-12 community, was developed on those very principles.

This New York Times article makes clear the dangers of not understanding terms of use and the business models of your EdTech services.  We have never engaged in data mining and reselling.  Our business model has been transparent since the moment we launched in December 2005. We offer premium services to generate revenue. That’s it.  Our goal is long term and sustainable: to be a trusted partner to educators and administrators around the world.

For more information about VoiceThread for K-12, scheduling a demo, requesting a quote, or participating in a professional development event:

Why Do Questions Matter?

Have you ever been driving somewhere only to miss your exit because you got wrapped up listening to a song? Have you ever gotten to the end of a page in a book only to realize you couldn’t remember a single thing you just read because you were replaying a conversation with a colleague in your mind?

These things happen to all of us. Our attention shifts and we sort of enter a cognitive cruise control where we are looking but not seeing, reading but not thinking. This phenomenon also happens in lecture halls all over the world. You’re focused, paying attention and trying to learn, but all of a sudden you realize you’ve been daydreaming for the last few minutes.

It is extremely hard for listeners to focus on what someone else is saying if the speaker verbally steamrolls their audience. For a TED talk or keynote address, this doesn’t really matter very much. People may or may not be entertained, but whether or not they actually remember the talk is beside the point. For a lecture in a classroom, however, it matters a great deal whether or not students remember.

Do you ever remember your dreams? Can you think of the last one you remembered? The odds are that if you remembered it, it’s because you spent time after you woke up thinking about it… thinking about its meaning. You were curious, maybe confused, but you thought about it. You focused your attention on understanding the dream.

“Whatever students think about is what they will remember…memory is the residue of thought.” ~Daniel Willingham

That quote by Willingham explains why students don’t remember information delivered via lectures. Lecturing usually means that students need to take notes, read and reread those notes, memorize, cram for the test… then quickly forget the information weeks or even days after the exam. Lectures don’t compel students to think, but questions do.

However, direct instruction can still be sound pedagogy if students are continually questioned and compelled to think about the material. This is why at VoiceThread, we believe that engagement starts with questions and ends with answers.

Which questions do you ask your students to help them think? Let us know in the comments section below!


 

Roadmap for 2015-16

roadmap

With every decision and update, we’re committed to making VoiceThreading easier, more versatile, and more powerful.  We want to share with you how far we’ve come and where we’re headed in 2015-16.

 

 School Year in Review

 

New VoiceThread  VT-40

We redesigned VoiceThread, top to bottom.  It’s simpler, faster, and more deeply integrated.  We included dozens of new features and a streamlined interface.

Released in August of 2014, and everyone will be using the New VoiceThread by August 1, 2015.
Learn more


Android App Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.14.00 PM

A brand new Android app brings VoiceThread to your Android phones and tablets.

Released November 6, 2014
Learn more


iOS App  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.11.52 PM

The iOS app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch has been overhauled.  It’s faster, more stable, and more easily integrated.  The updated interface makes the VoiceThreading experience almost identical no matter what device you’re using: a computer, an iOS mobile device, or and Android mobile device.

Released April 17, 2015
Learn more


Learning Management System (LMS) Integration  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.15.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.17.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.16.17 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.18.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.20.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.20.04 PM

Institutions that integrate VoiceThread see higher adoption rates and deeper incorporation of VoiceThread in lesson design than those who don’t.  By leveraging the LTI standard, we’ve expanded our LMS integration to include simpler instructor workflows, one-click access for students, and gradebook integration.  VoiceThread in your LMS has never been more powerful.

Released April 18, 2014
Learn more


Expanded Media Sources Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.22.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.23.09 PM  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.23.48 PM

We’ve always offered a media browser to pull content from the New York Public Library and Flickr, but in the New VoiceThread, we’ve expanded to include new libraries of content.  The first addition was Khan Academy, and there are more to follow.

Expanded February 20, 2015
Learn more


Comment Timeline  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.25.21 PM

See how long a comment is, how much time it will take to listen to all comments on a slide, or even the duration of the entire VoiceThread.  Whether you’re budgeting time for homework or grading, assigning a limit to the duration of a presentation, offering training and professional development, or are just curious, knowing exactly how much time you need helps you manage your busy schedule.

Released May 7, 2015
Learn more


Privacy Pledge

Student privacy is everyone’s concern.  We are proud to support the effort to safeguard student data by signing the Student Privacy Pledge.

Signed March 26, 2015
Learn more

spp_signatory  rect_sm


Accessibility Enhancements  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.27.29 PM

VT Universal, the fully HTML version of VoiceThread for screen readers, has previously only offered text commenting.  This year, we included audio commenting to bring the screen reader experience more in line with the standard site.  We’ll be introducing more next year, too!

Released April 3, 2015
Learn more


Workshop Series  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.32.04 PM

We’ve committed to offering free, hands-on training and professional development for educators of all kinds.  Whether you’re looking for lesson design tips, technical help, or just some basic practice with VoiceThread, we have something for you.

Fall Archive
Winter Archive


Upgraded Infrastructure  Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.36.29 PM

We’re continually upgrading our infrastructure and security safeguards so that we’re utilizing the latest industry standards.  Reliability, speed, and security are always at the front of anything we do.

 

Sneak Peek: What’s Next

 

Automated Content Delivery

Create master VoiceThreads for a course and then let us do the work of delivering them to the various sections.  Ideal for institutions that run large courses or the same course year after year, automated content delivery simplifies the setup process and helps instructional designers deliver polished assignments and lessons.


Threaded Commenting

You’ve been asking for it, and we’re ready to make it happen!  Both private (one to one) and group threaded conversations will allow you to expand your VoiceThreads to be even more robust than they already are.


LMS Integration Updates

We’ve listened to your feedback about integration in your LMS, and we will be introducing some enhancements and new features based on what you’ve told us.  These updates will include simplified assignment submission for students, more transparent grading, and more instructor control over Course Groups.


Accessibility Updates

We are dedicated to making VoiceThread accessible to learners of all types and abilities.  This year, we plan to further that commitment by offering:

– Transcription options for closed captioning.
– Captioning to audio and video comments.
– Creation of VoiceThreads for screen-reader users


Customized Media Sources

In addition to adding more libraries and collections of content to the Media Sources, we’ll also be offering institutions the opportunity to integrate their own libraries and databases.  Images, documents, and videos from those collections can be pulled right into VoiceThread.  You already maintain and subscribe to these libraries, and we think it’s important that you be able to use them easily.


Simplified Enrollment

While system integration is always the simplest way to onboard students, some classes and schools are not ready for this step.  Those members must create their students’ and instructors’ accounts manually.  We’ll be introducing an option to provide a registration link to simplify this process.  Members can click on the registration link, enter a password, and self-enroll in your class or school.


Self-repairing Sharing

Have you ever tried to open a VoiceThread only to find that it hasn’t been shared with you yet?  We want to make that a thing of the past.  VoiceThreads still have to be shared with you, but we’ll provide a one-click way to request access to the VoiceThread from its author.

 

 Tell us what you want to see!