How I Use It
I wanted to weave four web resources into one project (an examination of Grandma Moses). I started by giving our 5th grade students accounts at VoiceThread. I then uploaded related content (primarily photos) and asked the kids to share their text-based comments, critiquing her paintings and reflecting on her life. Once this was completed, students created similar works of art using Kerpoof. They then sent their photos to me so that I could order prints through Snapfish. I then had them answer a few questions through GoogleDocs.
VoiceThread helps students have conversations in the cloud around images, videos, documents or presentations. The discussion is held on one page, which enables the teacher to see the conversations built around a topic. Students can comment in 5 ways: telephone, webcam, microphone, text or file upload, which can make it more useful for students working from home. Students can also draw while they are commenting and have the drawing included in their comments, which can add to their understanding. VoiceThread is a wonderful way to get kids collaborating and great for a teacher wanting to quickly assess student understanding of concepts. Kids love creating their own avatars, but this can get out of hand: I'd suggest the teacher create a file of acceptable images that students can use as a resource. Students can become over-focused on avatars. VoiceThread is a great way to encourage proper writing skills, gives kids a real audience for their work, and an opportunity to practice netiquette, while generating and protecting their passwords. However, VT does not enable a teacher to collect data about student performance. More in depth information can be collected through classroomsalon.com.