Lessons Learned Through the VoiceThread exercise.

Reflect on your experience with VoiceThread. How did you prepare for this exercise?  Were you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? To what extent did this technology allow you to practice the four Cs of 21st century learning (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity) as a learner/presenter of content? Did you successfully manage to engage your visitors in a conversation? If yes, how. If no, why not.  Describe some of the challenges faced, and what you would do differently, your second time round. What can you do to scaffold your students’ use of VoiceThread?

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5 thoughts on “Lessons Learned Through the VoiceThread exercise.

  1. I definitely believe that programs like voicethread are very valuable to teachers. In my experience with voicethread I believe I was both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to complete this project. I wanted to figure it out and complete it because I was curious about how to complete it. I really struggled at first though (extrinsically) because I knew I would be receiving a grade on it and did not know what kind of activity to do for my voicethread. I was upset that my laptop’s microphone and video quality did not come through with a decent quality on voicethread. I think that this voicethread project covered all of the four C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and creativity) because we communicated something to an audience. We collaborated as classmates by commenting on each others’ projects. We engaged in critical thinking by having to decide what activity we would record for our voicethread and potentially gather research about it (like I did for my “Clean Eating Voicethread). We had to be creative as well.

    If I had to do this again, I would use my iPad instead of my laptop, because the audio and video quality was much better than on the laptop. I think that this is a creative project idea for students in my future classroom; one that is different from the standard PowerPoint presentation that everyone does for group projects.

  2. I guess I started preparing for this exercise by exploring the VoiceThread website and watching other people’s creations. It gave me more insight as to what a VoiceThread is all about so I could better plan the creation of my own. I would say that I was both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated because I wanted to learn the technology to add it to my repertoire of resources (intrinsic), but I don’t know how involved I would have been in commenting on others if it wasn’t required for points (extrinsic).

    This technology allowed me to practice communication through the writing and creation of the VoiceThread, including the actual speaking component. I learned a lot about what I sound like when I am speaking or teaching. There wasn’t much collaboration with this particular assignment, but some of the VoiceThreads I’ve watched were a collaboration of many people. Ours were more individual with added comment responses instead of a collaborative effort. It required me to think critically in that I needed to learn the technology as I was using it and then determine how to best get my point across with what I had available to me. Lastly, it allowed me to be creative, of course, because I could choose what would work best if said out loud and/or video recorded.

    I personally did not allow my viewers to participate in a question/answer or discussion based aspect. The topic that I chose to create my VoiceThread about did not allow this, but if I used it in the classroom, I would definitely have open-ended questions sprinkled throughout for my students to respond to.

    The only challenges I faced were involved in the learning of the software. It was a learning experience, trying to figure out why my microphone wasn’t working or why my webcam wasn’t being supported at first. I personally would not use VoiceThread in this fashion, because every time someone adds a comment to a particular slide, it adds a lot of time to the thread and displays every person’s thought. I would like to use it as more of a collaborative effort. This could be a group project or culminating activity for a themed unit. I would let groups of students work together to create something to show me what they have learned. To scaffold my students, I would use my own VoiceThreads in presenting content throughout the unit to get them acquainted with VoiceThreads and what they are intended to look like. I would also have them create mini-VoiceThreads in class with my help…maybe even a step-by-step “how to” of sorts for younger students. I would not, however, assign a VoiceThread as a project to students who are unfamiliar with the software. I am testing on acquisition and understanding of content, not the specific use of technology.

  3. I really enjoyed the VoiceThread technology. I prepared for my VoiceThread by writing out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to present my thoughts. I was intrinsically motivated to this assignment because we had the freedom to present on a topic of our choice and the technology was user friendly. I think of the VoiceThread as an electronic discussion where the creator is communicating his or her ideas to the viewers. This touches on the communication part of the four C’s of the 21st century. The ability for us to comment on each others VoiceThreads and reply to comments on our own VoiceThread relates back to the online discussion and allows for collaboration in the classroom. If questions are embedded, critical thinking can be covered with this technology. Lastly, to create a VoiceThread creativity is a must to get your viewers engaged and excited about your topic.

    I believe I successfully engaged my viewers by adding an exciting element and videos to my project. If I were to do this assignment again, I would add in more discussion questions to engage the learners. I would also add more text to engage the visual learners. To scaffold this technology in my classroom, I would show them VoiceThreads I created on different topics to show how the technology can be used. Then I would make a whole class VoiceThread to show them exactly how to use the technology. Lastly, I will allow them to create their own on a topic of their choice but send them with instructions and a rubric for guidelines.

  4. Using VoiceThread began as an extrinsic motivation because I wanted a good grade, but as I began my planning for the presentation I became really excited to complete the task. I moved from extrinsically motivated to intrinsically motivated. I truly believe this exercise allowed me to practice the 4 Cs because it involved communication and creativity tremendously, collaboration, and critical thinking. I think I engaged my visitors in conversation because I asked questions to get them thinking and gave insights that they may not have already known. Some of the challenges I faced were with planning. I created an outline of what I wanted in my voice thread (pictures, voice and written comments, etc.). This was a little difficult because I really had to think out what I wanted my audience to know at the end. However, I know the planning prepared me to create a better VoiceThread than I would have had otherwise. I also had limited access to video comments because of technology issues. Next time I make a VoiceThread, I hope to incorporate video into my presentation because I feel it will be more appealing to people. To teach my future students about VoiceThread and how to use it, I would scaffold instruction. VoiceThread can be scaffolded in many ways, but the way I would do it is:
    1) Introduce students to VoiceThread by showing them a presentation already made
    2) Create a VoiceThread as a whole class exercise
    3) Pair or group students to create their own VoiceThread
    4) Each student create their own VoiceThread
    I think this method would really work for middle level students because they will have multiple opportunities to experience the technology and they will work with others to facilitate learning.

  5. I really enjoyed my experience with VoiceThread. I prepared for the exercise by first brainstorming ideas that I could teach about. I thought about how I knew the alphabet in sign language well, and it has always been an interest to me, so I decided to produce a VoiceThread about that. I was intrinsically motivated because I truly wanted to teach about sign language, and extrinsically motivated because I feel that it is important for others to learn something that could be very beneficial in real life. The technology allowed me to practice some of the four Cs of 21st century learning through recording a video of myself teaching the sign language, as well as communicating audio to various slides and comments on other VoiceThreads. I was able to collaborate thoughts and ideas with other before choosing a topic, and was able to collaborate after the creation of the VoiceThread. I used critical thinking in how I would communicate and teach sign language in an effective way. I also tried to incorporate creativity into my VoiceThread through the use of images, and a video of myself. I was able to engage my visitors in conversation in an attempt to sign their own names after the lesson. Some challenges I had faced dealt with the lagging of technology, for example, I had to record myself several times because of video recording malfunctions. If I could do something differently the second time around I would create more conversation and ask questions during the video that students could respond to either written or orally. In order to scaffold students, I would model the process of creating a VoiceThread, allow them to interact with it and each other, and I would be there to help them and slowly allow them to create the final product on their own. A similar process to what we did in class, which was a great help to establishing an effective VoiceThread.

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