How I Use It
I find VoiceThread most useful for teachers that have flipped classrooms. My students were researching and writing papers, two acts that I preferred they completed in class. This posed a challenge for me because we would not have enough time for me to provide instruction on how they should be researching along with allowing them ample time in class to get feedback from me and their peers. This is where VoiceThread came in--I was able to complete a minilesson on how to evaluate sources that students read and listened to. Then, the last several slides were examples of sources they had to evaluate. The students uploaded their responses to the question "Is this a good source to use?" right there on the VoiceThread. They could also interact with their classmates' responses. This technology allowed me to deliver content to the students at home--they can see your slides and hear your voice--but it is also interactive! The students can post answers to your questions, their questions, or engage in conversation with the material. One concern that I have had is monitoring the students responses--if a student does not know the answer to the question, he or she typically does not respond. I have tried to build in instructions to say, "If you are unsure of the answer, pose a question as a responses to the posts of your peers."
I have used VoiceThread multiple times and I love that fact that VoiceThread can easily go both ways--the teacher can make one and his/her students can respond, or the students can make one as a way to present information beyond just submitting a PowerPoint slide. I find VoiceThread VERY useful for students who are learning English as a new language because the teacher can include visuals, text, and sound so they are receiving all types of comprehensible input! One thing that did not work too well was when I tried to use the same VoiceThread for multiple classes. The students got hung up on the idea that "so & so" from other class was able to hear their responses. VoiceThread could make it easier for me by having an easier way of duplication, a "reset" button to clear the VoiceThread for the next semester, or ways to see the number of views/listens for each comment.