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VoiceThread webinar on Saturday morning

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Started by Suzie Vesper 19 Apr 2012 11:41am () Replies (5)

VoiceThread is an excellent tool for schools and they run a series of webinars for teachers around how to best make use of the tool. There is one happening at 7am on Saturday the 21st of April (our time zone) around how to use VoiceThread for teaching foreign languages or for ESOL students. It looks to be a good session with great guest presenters. For anyone that is interested in doing a workshop at 7am on a Saturday, here is the link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/153886522

Replies

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 19 Apr 2012 1:37pm ()

    I really like the possibilities with VoiceThread, but do find it frustrating that people who want to respond to a VoiceThread have to have an account and sign in. For a class, if you want each child to have their own identity, you need to set each student up within your class account. I find that all this tends to put people off. For example, what if a parent wanted to respond to a VoiceThread... Or, am I wrong and this situation has changed in the past few months?

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 19 Apr 2012 2:09pm ()

    Hi Carol. VoiceThread does require accounts for commenting but it is free for parents to sign up for an account. If this seems to be too big a barrier, I would embed the VoiceThread into a blog post or other online space and encourage parents to leave their comments there.

    As for individual student accounts, I think that these are a great option. Students feel ownership when they see their photo or avatar appear as a comment. There is a cost associated with each student having individual accounts or you can set up each student as a sub-identify on your teacher account for free. In our online ESOL school, we have paid for a school level version of VoiceThread but the class level version of VoiceThread provides similar functionality and is a pretty reasonable option at $60 US a year. This means that students can have individual accounts allowing for up to 50 VoiceThreads each and you get management tools such as being able to put students into groups and then share VoiceThreads with just that group. You also get to see when comments are added and have the rights to delete comments if necessary.  I find that students get pretty good at signing in and I personally don't think it is too much of a barrier for them. You can set up all of the student accounts in bulk pretty quickly so it doesn't take too long to get the accounts organised either.

    While you can set up students as sub-identities on your own teacher account for free, it can play up a little if you try to log in to the same account on more than one machine at one time.  You also have to either give out your login details for students or go and log them in each time.It does take longer to set up each identity too. Still, this is often a good starting place for teachers that want to 'try before they buy'. Teachers do need to make sure that they get the free educator account rather than the basic free account. This means that you get 50 free VoiceThreads instead of only three. Click the grey 'Apply' button on the site I've linked to below and then go through the steps to get an educator account:

    http://voicethread.com/products/k12/educator/

    This was probably more information than what you were looking for but I'm a passionate VoiceThread user and it is easy for me to get a little carried away :)

     

     

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 19 Apr 2012 2:42pm ()

    Suzie, thank you for going to that trouble with the detail - it's much appreciated!

    We've tried Voicethread (5 times for me now) - first thing we had to overcome was a school firewall blocking us uploading images to VoiceThread - got that sorted out. Then we were underway. I love the opportunities for oral language and comparing comments and opinions. But, I still see too many niggly barriers for the general school community, with the need to create accounts and then have more passwords to remember, or to hand out to students in your class. I think we should be able to comment without logins, but have comments moderated if desired. I had a teacher at another school keen to try this recently and she made a great start, but gave up because we couldn't get the individual identities to work for some reason on that occasion.

    Teachers are busy, things need to work.  Parents may be less determined to make the effort to comment - we're still encouraging ours to comment on blogs. Your idea to comment in that way is good, but then we're missing that oral component that VoiceThread would be so good with.

    Here are a couple of examples of Voicethreads we've made in the past: Rainy Day Activities, and Food Tech - what do YOU like to make?

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 19 Apr 2012 2:58pm ()

    I think VoiceThread is a pretty stable tool as a rule but it can play up if the network in a school is not that robust. They have always answered my queries if I've had problems really quickly including when I only had the free account. They have the sites that need to be unblocked for it to work listed on a help page on the site and they also talk about bandwidth demands. The sub-identities can cause issues if you try to log in to the account they are linked to on more than one machine at a time. That is why I like students to have their own accounts (ie the paid option). Still, there is always a barrier with any account that requires a sign in and I'm guessing that it isn't easy for VoiceThread from a technical standpoint for them to do anything else. Still, I'm sure you could log it as something for them to consider!  Nice VoiceThreads too by the way :-)

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