VoiceThread is a Web 2.0 tool that allows teachers and students to upload images, documents, or slides to their account and then share them with a wide audience. “VoiceThreaders” can then comment on the thread (which appears as a slideshow) by typing, recording their voice, or even recording a video of themselves talking about what they see. There is also an option to record via phone. VoiceThread will ask for your phone number, and then call you so you can record your comment.
I used VoiceThread this year with my Grade 2/3 students to explore the illustrations for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading Nominated books. I designed a unit in which my students would look critically at the illustrations as forms of media and as works as art that could inspire them to create. In VoiceThread, students first commented on the book covers, and then on the illustrations themselves. Next, they will create a work of art that illustrates an important moment in their lives and upload a photograph of it to VoiceThread for their classmates to comment on.
In the past we have done blogging with our students, but this year the other teachers and I thought VoiceThread would break down some of the barriers associated with blogging in Grade 2/3. There are a lot of students who struggle with writing and spelling, not to mention typing! VoiceThread gives them a lot of options, and they really have fun with it.
You can create a free VoiceThread account, but it is limited. To create a teacher account with the ability to add 50 student accounts, you need to pay around $15 per month. There are also annual memberships for schools and school boards.