Review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013

VoiceThread

Easily collaborate and create with voice, video, or image

Common Sense says
Teachers say (55 Reviews)
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Grades
K-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Versatility is off the charts here; kids can put together multimedia projects that integrate image, voice, text, and much more.

Cons: Bandwidth can be a problem if an entire class is working on wireless.

Bottom Line: A powerful tool for kids to create, collaborate, and share all kinds of multimedia.

With a paid educator license, you can create student accounts, limit access to social media sites, set up a distinct website address for class projects, customize the class page, and more.

Once you or your students choose to create a new project, the site walks you through the process of uploading or importing images and videos. Kids can use the microphone to add in voice, or they can use a phone-in option if they don't have audio recording capabilities. If you have access, a webcam can also be used to add video narration to project pages. At the bottom of the page, you can choose options regarding privacy, sharing, moderating comments, embedding, and more. Parents would love to see their kids' progress on a VoiceThread page, and you can work VoiceThread into nearly any curriculum.

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VoiceThread provides students of all ages a website (and Chrome app) platform to create and share media projects that can incorporate video, image, voice, and even drawings. One of its most valuable assets: allowing for collaboration opportunities as well as audio or video feedback from readers and viewers.

Kids create digital stories by uploading docs, images, and videos and then add commentary in the form of text, audio, or video. VoiceThread supports over 50 types of media, so if kids want to upload a slide presentation or a webcam video, it's easily hosted here. If they choose, students can open their projects to comments from classmates or to all VoiceThread members, creating a community experience with voice. To comment on another's project, kids simply select the Comment button and respond via text, voice recording, or video (yes, even the comments are multimedia!).

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It's a natural fit for a range of student presentations and projects such as explaining research, demonstrating understanding of a math operation, or retelling a story with original artwork. Some teachers use VoiceThread as part of a digital portfolio to track student growth over time. Kids might also enjoy using it as a collaborative creation tool; with the commenting feature, each group member could add his or her own analysis of a document, image, or video. Kids can make their projects public or private, add them to the public gallery, and share a project's unique URL via email. In addition, an embed option allows users to share projects on a classroom website with ease.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4
Kids can quickly learn how to use VoiceThread for projects, and the ability to add image, text, and voice (in the form of audio or video) is a powerful motivator.
Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4
A great option for teachers seeking to encourage multimedia projects. The variety of communication options (audio, video, text) could work really well for kids with different learning styles.
Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4
Videos and tutorials help students and teachers learn to use the site and provide teachers guidance on navigating the educator tools.

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Taylor W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
International Christian School
Shek Mun, ShaTin, Hong Kong,
5
Continuous Conversation: Breaking down walls with video and voice

Teachers can use VoiceThread as a way to create a flipped classroom, a tool to allow students to create projects that would allow for peer collaboration and feedback, or simply a manner of communicating with students outside of the classroom.

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