Creating Reading Comprehension Assessments with VoiceThread

Any teacher who asks students to read materials understands the important of reading comprehension. Whether you are an elementary school teacher who teaches reading, a foreign language teacher who works to build fluency, or a history teacher who wants students to learn about WWII from their textbook, comprehension is vital to the process. As Daniel Willingham points out in his NY Times Op-Ed, comprehension isn’t simply about decoding; it’s also about vocabulary and context. … Continued

VoiceThread and Structured Literacy Instruction

Photo credit: TheDyslexicBook.com. Students with Dyslexia are one of the most underserved student populations in our schools. When we discuss Universal Design and accessibility for students, we typically forget about students who struggle with text. The International Dyslexia Association has spent time working to help these students and recently shared a Structured Literacy approach that works well with VoiceThread. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Language Classes

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Dr. Daisy Sam.  I have been a classroom teacher since 2005. My only break from the classroom was in 2011 when my family moved from RI to NJ and this year school year as we made another transition from NJ to FL. Sometimes the teaching life is so involved you seldom have time to sit and reflect on the lessons you have created. … Continued

Using VoiceThread to Enhance Existing Assignments

This is a guest post by Nursing Educator and VoiceThreader Kimberly Davis.  I attended the online VoiceThread Basics Training this past spring and was quickly hooked! One of the features that really appealed to me about using VoiceThread was the idea that students could use multiple modalities to express themselves. I teach Concepts of Professional Nursing, an introductory nursing course, where students have traditionally used a written discussion board post to answer how this class has shaped their professional identity. … Continued

A VoiceThread for Any Course

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Dana Heimlich, MS,Ed.  I love VoiceThread! I love it so much that I’m always tweeting my gratitude to them–which is how I ended up writing this guest blog post (seriously). I’m very excited to share my experiences in the hopes that it might inspire you to give VoiceThread a try! I discovered VoiceThread years ago as a high school German teacher. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Field Trip Reflections

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Austin Fleischer.  One of the biggest challenges with technology in education today is trying to navigate through the enormous amount of apps and websites that are available. I have been fortunate enough to work in a district that is one to one with technology. This has allowed me to explore a large variety of apps and create a list that we call our Core Tools. … Continued

Using VoiceThread with Hands-On Projects

Educational technology shouldn’t compete with hands-on learning; it should support it. Regardless of which subject you teach, there are always opportunities for your students to get out of their seats and explore real-world learning and VoiceThread can help. Hands-on learning helps student by providing memorable experiences, but experimenting alone isn’t enough. Students need to analyze and reflect on those experiences to crystalize the lessons. Here are a few ways you can use VoiceThread to support hands-on projects with your class: … Continued

Establishing a Social Presence with VoiceThread

Have you ever asked students what they don’t like about online courses? If you have or if you’ve ever researched the complaints online students have, you’ll notice one major trend: students want to know the instructor is present, engaged and interested in them. Since the advent of online courses, students have craved a strong social presence from their instructor. Sure, most students love autonomy and the freedom to direct their own learning, but no one wants to shout into the darkness. … Continued

Capturing the Moment with VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Andrea Plato.  When the bell rings at the end of the day and my students scoot out the door, I often reflect on the events of the day. I think about the discussions, clever comments, and insight my students share. The bad news is I can’t remember exactly what was said in the moment, and I feel like I’ve lost a treasure trove of ideas. … Continued

Break down your classroom walls: Global Debate

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Aaron Maurer.  One of my favorite projects is almost underway. Over 700 students involved in our Revolution Debate project are about ready to embark in a powerful learning project. This is a project that started small two years ago. Two years ago teachers in our building created a debate on the topic: Revolution – Is It Justified? At this time we had students debate each other from separate classrooms. … Continued

VoiceThread A to Z: Using VoiceThread for Assessments

This is the 5th installment in our VoiceThread A to Z series. In the first 4 posts, we discussed ways to start your year, use VoiceThread for storytelling, presentations, and as a discussion board replacement. You can find those posts here: VoiceThread A to Z posts. This post will focus on using VoiceThread for formative and summative assessments.  It can be difficult to find the time to give students personal feedback on their papers. … Continued

VoiceThread A to Z: Replacing Text Discussion Boards

This is our fourth post in the VoiceThread A to Z series. In the first post, we discussed ways to use VoiceThread for early semester activities and in the second post we discussed creating presentations and our third post dealt with storytelling lesson ideas. This post will focus on using VoiceThread as a replacement for text-based class discussions. Upcoming posts will focus on other innovative lesson design and assessment ideas. Stay tuned! … Continued

VoiceThread A to Z: Three Storytelling Lesson Designs

This is our third post in the VoiceThread A to Z series. In the first post, we discussed ways to use VoiceThread for early semester activities and in the second post we discussed creating presentations. This post will focus on incorporating storytelling into your curriculum. Upcoming posts will focus on other innovative lesson design and assessment ideas. Stay tuned!  Which types of courses can use storytelling as a lesson design framework? … Continued

VoiceThread A to Z: Creating Presentation Content

This is the second post in our VoiceThread A to Z series. In the first post, we discussed ways to use VoiceThread for early semester activities. Now we can move on to the different ways you can use VoiceThread for the week to week lesson design in your course. This post will focus on instructor-created mini-lecture content and student-created presentations. Upcoming posts will focus on other innovative lesson design and assessment ideas. … Continued

VoiceThread A to Z: Tips for the First Day of Class

We frequently hear from instructors who use VoiceThread for one specific purpose in their classes, but haven’t thought about how VoiceThread can be a complete solution for online or blended courses. In this blog series, we will work through all the different use cases throughout the school year. Over the next few posts in the VoiceThread A to Z series, you’ll see how to use VoiceThread from day 1 through the final day of classes. … Continued

Using VoiceThread to Help Students Prepare for Interviews

This is a guest post by Instructor and VoiceThread Certified Educator, Dr. Kathy Melago.  With modern technology, the job interview process frequently begins with a phone or video interview. As the head of our music education program, I work closely with our students as they look for jobs and prepare for interviews. While I have conducted live mock interviews in the past, one thing I had not done previously was to help students practice phone and video interviews, yet those are usually the screening interviews that actually get applicants to the in-person interviews. … Continued

Can Algorithms Replace Teachers?

It seems like every week there is a new story about how computer algorithms are the future of teaching and learning. We read about how software can personalize education, differentiate instruction, provide mounds of data for administrators and revolutionize our lives. We hear about how students can open an app, view a playlist of videos that can teach them biology, calculus, literature and a host of other subjects. We know that jobs that human beings used to do are now executed by machines (like ATMs replacing bank tellers) and it gives us pause. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Online Courses

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Dr. Maureen Cuevas. Teaching in an online asynchronous format for the national MSW program at Our Lady of the Lake University, I have come to depend on Voice thread in every class I teach. And as we redevelop our courses to make them more interactive, I recommend to every faculty member that they try to use the incredible power of this tool in each class. … Continued

Inter-Class Debates in VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Justin Miller.   The first in-depth classroom activity I did in VoiceThread was to have my students hold an inter-class debate. I was excited by the concept of having a debate between students in different classes. I determined the topic and had students select sides by a coin flip. The students researched their arguments in groups of three or four. Each class had six arguments: an opening statement, four supporting arguments, and a closing statement. … Continued

Are you an #EdTech Hoarder?

Is your EdTech toolbox getting crowded? There are literally hundreds of tools for educators to use for a wide variety of purposes ranging from class discussions to lecture capture to portfolios and a dozen other categories. There are expensive learning management systems and “free” tools supported by advertising dollars and student data collection. There are tools dedicated just for assessment and tools designed for presentations. There are so many options. … Continued

Transforming from Text to VoiceThreads and Not Looking Back

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Curtis Izen Students taking my online Principals of Management Information Systems course participate in discussion boards, group projects and case study assignments. Discussion boards are a large component of the course. It is at this juncture where students have the greatest opportunity to express their own ideas in writing while responding to other classmates. Many examples I have seen over the years are done writing directly in the text editor of the discussion board. … Continued

Using VoiceThread to Facilitate Language in an Elementary Deaf Education Classroom

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Marleah Jacobson. VoiceThread meets Deaf education and magic happens. Magic in the form of a classroom erupting with language; both English and American Sign Language. Once the Deaf and hard of hearing students in my 3rd-5th grade classroom have the chance to respond to questions, process new material and express their ideas in a language that is fully accessible due to its visual nature–American Sign Language–I see marked growth in their abilities to understand and produce written English. … Continued

VoiceThread Storytelling Videos and Cultural Presentations

VoiceThread Screenshot #1 instructional video using the verb “Ser” with physical and personality trails. VoiceThread screenshot #2 follow-up oral activity after watching the instructional video VoiceThread screenshot #3 from a cultural portfolio from Leetal Weiss (shared with student’s permission) VoiceThread screenshot # 4 I had a blast narrating, acting, editing and producing my videos VoiceThread screenshot 5. “Quick review” on Reflexive pronouns VoiceThread screenshot 6. … Continued

Cheating in Online Courses

How do you prevent students from cheating in an online course? We come across a number of posts every week discussing strategies, explaining how students can google answers to multiple choice tests, pay other people to act as them during an online exam and even write papers for them. When instructors don’t see or hear students during a course, the ability to cheat increases dramatically. Others have come to this same conclusion, but the solutions they promote involve various strategies previously found in books by George Orwell. … Continued

VoiceThread: An Online Counterpart to the Traditional Design Studio

This is a guest post by design instructor and VoiceThreader, Jody Lawrence. I integrated VoiceThread into my freshman design studio to facilitate instructor and peer critiques, and to promote student dialogue and networking with practicing designers around the country. The students embraced the technology as an enhancement to their in-person studio experience, sharing that the tool introduced continuity to their learning throughout the week, and improved the quality of scheduled, in-class time. … Continued

Are your students better than spammers?

Image source: https://bibbornemdigigids.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/spam5.jpg While it can be easy to get students to comment on each others’ work, it is not always easy to get them to leave thoughtful, quality comments. Frequently, the student commenters mean well and they try to be encouraging, but their feedback to each other is lacking real substance. … Continued

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. … Continued

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. … Continued

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. … Continued

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. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Virtual Science Fairs

How can schools ensure that science fair projects are fair? A recent article by The Atlantic details some of the ways science fair projects have been corrupted by over-involvement from parents and we would like to offer a solution to this growing problem. This problem exists mainly because teachers can’t observe and assess the student’s work at home. Most science fairs are essentially take-home projects, so parents who mean well may be taking over much of the design and creation process from their children. … Continued

Kicking Instruction Up a Notch - with VoiceThread!

*This is a guest post by online educators and VoiceThreaders Candace Figg, Dave Potts, and Caitlin Munn. Often as higher education faculty, we want to include collaborative discussion activities in our instruction to enhance our information presentation to large class sizes and provide learning environments that our digital-age learners perceive as relevant instruction. Enter VoiceThread! The very structure of the tool facilitates a collaborative discussion where everyone gets a turn, and makes you look like the cool, hip, fabulous professor you are! … Continued

Why I Love VoiceThread

*This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Dr. Judy Arzt. I use this tool in my own teaching, but, more importantly, encourage the teachers in my classes to use it with their students. The app is flexible and works on a variety of devices. For instance, teachers with limited access to technology in their classrooms can download the app to their phone. This suits those who teach the lower grades, starting with pre-k. … Continued

Do you think about classroom design?

Summer is a great time to think about classroom design. In this VoiceThread, Cristina Milos (@surreallyno on twitter) counters conventional wisdom about classroom design. She discusses her ideas about the drawbacks of “cute” displays, gender perceptions and much more. Take a minute to watch and add your ideas on this thought-provoking VoiceThread from an incredible international educator: … Continued

How a “Digital Dinosaur” Adapted to Teaching Online

This is a guest post by VoiceThread user Timothy Lloyd.   Recently, I was asked to do a guest blog by VoiceThread. I teach an honors level biology course at Norwin High School in North Huntingdon PA. I would consider myself to be a digital dinosaur, I still have a dumb phone (and I like it) and when my computer at home has issues, I consult my son (whom I often refer to as my IT department) to fix it. … Continued