Yesterday my colleague Claire (who has been a constant inspiration and source of information) used the Voicethread tool in her weekly math class for intermediate students at our distributed learning school. I have had on my to do list for a good while now that I want to use this tool in my online English courses as a way to facilitate communicating and composing orally. Well, after seeing the students use voicethread for the first time to orally identify types of angles while drawing them on a photo, I'm even more convinced that it is imperative to take advantage of technologies such as this. The students I observed were completely on task, and obviously enjoying themselves. The activity quickly became important to them as one girl ran out to the other classroom to check her notes to make sure she was using the right term. Another girl, was obviously distressed that her recording might be accidently deleted. So different than worksheets of the same outcome often carelessly left behind never to be thought of again.Each person took a turn identifying the angles and so experienced examples over and over again. And talk about immediate assessment and feedback! The class watched on the big screen their recordings and noticed both mistakes and different examples that others had found. The students eagerly put up their hands when asked if they would like access to the site at home. There's no doubt that mom and dads got to see what had gone on that day. No need for the "I dunno" response to, " What do you learn today?" at dinner that night I bet.
As teachers we all know that ideally we want to engage and empower our students in learning activities that are meaningful and effective. Voicethread is something I definitely want to pursue using. My mind is whirling with ideas for publishing writing and responding to literature.
...and I'm pretty sure I won't have to bug Claire too much to figure out how to use it myself.