Collaborating made easy, App #7: VoiceThread

VoiceThread: http://voicethread.com/

(You have the ability to get a district/school/single educator educational subscription through http://ed.voicethread.com/. The school and district subscriptions create logins for all students and faculty in a secure environment. The single educator/class subscription is less expensive, but creates fewer students accounts–max 50. The educational services do have a cost; however, you can set up a free account without having to utilize the ed.voicethread side of voicethread.)

Synopsis: How it works–When you create your account, you can go ahead and get started! Click on the Create tab (you can do this through the http://voicethread.com/?#e0 or http://ed.voicethread.com/?#e0 link. You will see that you click on Upload. Within the Upload link, you can choose from your computer/flash drive, media sources, a URL, or your Webcam. You must upload images, docs, Webpages, and videos to this tab. You can even select photos from your Facebook account. With those items, you can compose a video with your voice. To do so, just select the files you want to upload and drag them into the correct order. Wait for them to upload. Then, click on the next link, the Comment link. It will ask you to select a picture for your identity (think of it as your profile picture) so you can choose to do it or ignore it. Then, you will notice that it already has your images/videos in a slide show. Click on the comment button beneath the slideshow. This will give you an option to either record audio (via a microphone or video) or record written text.When you click on the video recorder, telephone, record, or type buttons, you will have the chance to add your commentary about the video. However, if you want to mark up the screen, you need to click on type. A pen will appear and you can begin marking up the screen. You can repeat this for each image/video in the slideshow. If you choose to give a video commentary on a video slide, you will see your commentary off to the side, as if you are giving a narration of the scene. Below is the commentary scene.

When you are done adding your commentary, simply click save. You can also press the play button to see the entire “thread.” Then, click on the Share link. In sharing, you have the option to share to an organization/group (if you have the educational subscription), getting the link and emailing it yourself, sending it to your contacts within VoiceThread, or choosing one of the options at the bottom of the screen. Here, you can get the embed code to insert it into a Webpage. You also have the option to export the video and to publish it (edit privacy and permissions settings.) In the top left, be sure to title your project and give it appropriate tags so others can search for it.

You may also click on the browse tab from the main page. This allows you to browse other videos created by keyword.

Integration: VoiceThread integrates easily into other platforms (like Websites), making it a great resource in education. It also comes ready with ideas on how to use VoiceThread in the classrom (link on main page). With the browse feature, teachers can browse for other videos created by teachers for lessons. And, with the create feature, teachers can create lessons and upload them to their Website so students can review their lesson when they get home and need the extra practice. How often do you feel you have grasped a concept, but when you get home, you realize you are unsure. With VoiceThread, teachers can create mini lessons and share them with their students so they can get the extra help they need. Students can also create video assignments and share them with their classmates. With VoiceThread, anyone who receives the link, has the ability to comment (through a microphone, video camera, or text) on each slide. Therefore, what was once a single author video now has contributions from any student in the class. And, commentary can be monitored. Students needing extra help on a lesson can comment on the VoiceThread and receive help from the teacher. Likewise, other students in the class can use VoiceThread for peer-review on threads that have been created. The ability to comment on threads that have been sent to you makes VoiceThread stand apart from other similar applications. Users can create a video from a variety of sources, mark it up, comment on it, and then, share it to others for their review. This is collaboration at its finest.

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