Learners Compose Online Using the Multimedia Tool VoiceThread
| Oct 21, 2011
by Denise H. Stuart
Students today come to the classroom “multiply literate” (Kadjer, 2010, p.6). The web 2.0 tool, VoiceThread encourages the collaborative, creative and interactive use of multimedia for composing online.
A group of middle level learners log in from school, home and elsewhere to use VoiceThread, sharing ideas and questions with peers about a common novel read. The cover of the novel can be seen on the home slide with student-selected images, avatars
, around the slide showing participants of the discussion. Some are composing written text, others voice recording and still others adding visuals or links to information that connects to their ideas as they react to and make sense of the novel.
Two students generate the story of their inquiry project with an interactive presentation in VoiceThread. While one talks before a group of visitors at a local bookstore, showing both pictures and videos, she highlights features by circling with a digital writing tool
. Her peer, showing as an avatar on the side of the slide, can be seen and heard adding to the presentation discussion and composition from a different location, back at their school.
While learners are engaged in composing with VoiceThread they are also developing higher order thinking, along with technology and collaborative communication skills. This web-based interactive digital storytelling
application is free but offers fee based versions for education. All VoiceThreads can be shared privately or publicly with students, families and other classrooms inside and outside of a school, which makes it a great resource to safely publish student work to a global audience.
There are many applications of VoiceThread in the classroom, notably to extend typically used approaches such as literature circle discussions
, book reviews, peer teaching, timelines, readers’ theater and cross cultural exchanges of students learning a second language. Digital multimedia compositions, discussions and presentations can all be developed. The possibilities are endless for this online composing tool with ideas available in the TILE SIG Newsletter (Stuart, 2011) and examples at the VoiceThread Digital Library
, S. (2010). Adolescents and digital literacies: Learning alongside our students
. Urbana, IL: NCTE
Stuart, D. (2011). VoiceThread: From traditional slide show to interactive multimedia presentation. TILE SIG Newsletter, 5:1, 2-6.
Denise Stuart is from The University of Akron, Ohio.