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Collaboration Tool

Voice Thread

Uses Multimedia: Yes

www.ed.voicethread.com

Ease of Use: Easy

Introduction

Features

Tips for Getting Started

How Can I Use Voice Thread?

Figure 1.1 Voice Thread Example

Introduction to Voice Thread What is it? Voice Thread is a platform for having conversations about multimedia. Just upload any document, image, video, or presentation and start mathematical conversations.

Š2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


Why should I use Voice Thread? There are many reasons why Voice Thread is an excellent tool for teaching and learning. Figure 1.2 shows some the reasons why you consider using Voice Thread with your math students.

Figure 1.2 Why Should I Use Voice Thread

So, you may be wondering how Voice Thread can do all of these things. We’ll explore some of the reasons in this section and some will be discussed in the How Can I Use Voice Thread section. Have Rich Discussions with Voice Thread By incorporating multimedia into your math lessons, you instantly make discussions richer because they become more meaningful. For example, I may not understand probability very well, but from the picture I can see that there are more purple balloons than any other color. So, I can say with confidence that it’s more likely for a purple balloon to pop than a red balloon. When a student sees a picture of the balloons, they may begin thinking about past experiences with balloons. This strengthens memory their emotions are now involved in the learning experience. Students can visualize the problem better because they have a picture. It’s likely that their past experiences and their ability to visualize the problem will contribute to a greater ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


overall understanding of the problem. Because students understand the problem better, they’ll be able to have more in depth discussions about the math content. Expand Your Classroom with Voice Thread Have you ever had that moment where a student says something so amazing in class that you wish all of your students could have heard it? Now they can! Instead of limiting a conversation to the confines of your classroom walls, Voice Thread allows you to open your discussions to anyone you wish. Open discussions up to all of your classes, parents, teachers, and students from around the world. If students display their work on a Voice Thread, they can receive feedback and kudos from anyone who uses Voice Thread. Imagine how lively, engaging, and meaningful classroom discussions can become as you begin to invite more people into the conversation. Easily Differentiate Instruction with Voice Thread Differentiating Instruction becomes quick and easy with Voice Thread. By its nature, Voice Thread targets both Visual and Auditory learners. So, just by using Voice Thread you are differentiating based on learning styles. Here are some other ways you can differentiate instruction with Voice Thread.  

You can easily provide choices by uploading several problems and allowing students to choose which ones they make a comment about. You can upload various problems by level of difficulty. You can either allow student choice or you can assign certain problems to each student.

Is it free? Voice Thread does come in a free package, but there are several limitations. If you plan to use it often and want to students to create their own Voice Threads, you need to get a Class Subscription. The Class Subscription is $60. However, if more than one teacher at your school uses Voice Thread, the school has to get a school account. You can go to Products page of the Voice Thread site to get quotes for a school or district subscription. While there is a cost associated with Voice Thread, I do think that the potential impact it has on learning is worth the expense. Here’s the link to their products page for teachers. At the bottom of this page, there is a link to an excellent document about things to do/consider before getting started. http://voicethread.com/products/k12/educator/

©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


Features of Voice Thread

Figure 1.3 Features of Voice Thread

Tips for Getting Started with Voice Thread: Make a video here (possibly)

How Can I Use Voice Thread: Explain Solutions to Math Problems Voice Thread is an excellent platform for creating discussions about how to solve a math problem. Upload a math problem and have students explain how they would solve it. They’ll learn from having to explain the process and by hearing how their classmates solved the problem. This may bring out multiple ways of solving a single problem. Students can even upload their work for the problem and use this as a visual when explaining how they solved it. They can use the drawing feature to point out specifics about their work. If students are solving the problem in different ways, further the discussion by having the class debate which method they think is best or the most efficient way to solve the problem.

Š2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


This is also a great platform for discussing things answers that would not make sense for a given problem. Upload a multiple choice problem and have students determine which answer choices don’t make sense. This type of activity will give you information about which students have a grasp of reasonable answers.

Create Alternative Assessments in Voice Thread Written assignments usually don’t reflect everything students do or don’t know about a topic or concept in math. Sometimes, students get a low grade when they really know more about the item being assessed. Other times, students may have gotten the problem correct by accident. Their thinking could have been flawed even though they somehow managed to arrive at the correct answer. With Voice Thread, you can give an alternative assessment by uploading an image or problem. Have students comment on the problem. You can use this to see who really understands and who still has some misconceptions. Another interesting aspect of using Voice Thread in this way is that students are learning through the assessment. As they listen to other comments or to feedback on their comment, they are learning. No matter where students were with their understanding in the beginning, they may gain new insights by the end of the process.

Use Images and Videos for Math Instruction Multimedia can be a fantastic tool for capturing student attention. If you use multimedia as a teaching tool, it can be even more powerful. There are many ways that images and videos can be used for math instruction. Here are a few ideas:   

Upload a video and have students create math problems based on information from the video. Have students create and upload videos about math concepts they’re learning. Their video could relate a problem that needs to be solved. Have students take screen shots when using online manipulatives. Then have them create a Voice Thread about the image. For example: If a student were solving integer problems with algebra tiles, they could upload a screen shot that shows how they represented -5 + 3. The Voice Thread could have an explanation of how their representation of the problem leads them to the answer, -2. With the annotation feature, they can even cross out the zero pairs while recording their Voice Thread.

©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


Assess Prior Knowledge Assessing prior knowledge is easy with Voice Thread. You can have as many questions as you’d like for the assessment. Voice Thread also keeps all responses organized in one location that can be accessed from anywhere. No huge stacks of paper needed! If you’re starting a new unit in 3 weeks, you can create a Voice Thread and give students 2 or 3 days to respond. This would give you time to listen to the threads and design the unit based on student needs. For example: If you’re starting a unit on adding fractions, you can use the Voice Thread to help you determine who needs conceptual development activities, who understands the concept but needs skill practice, and who is ready for more challenging work. Or, maybe you notice that a student knows the procedure for adding fractions, but needs work on estimation. With one tool that doesn’t necessarily require class time and keeps all of the information organized, you can make informed decisions about the upcoming unit. At the end of the unit, you could have students respond to similar Voice Thread questions to help determine how they’ve progressed. Here are few ideas for using Voice Thread to assess prior knowledge:    

Upload up a math vocabulary word or topic. Have students comment about what they know about the topic. Upload up a math problem and have students describe how they would solve the problem. Upload a problem and have students explain how they would estimate the answer. Upload an image that represents the concept and have students describe the picture.

Create Digital Portfolios Creating digital portfolios has never been easier! Voice Thread is the perfect platform for students to keep track of their work and their progress. With Voice Thread, students can upload their work, make comments about it, get feedback on it, and monitor their own progress. Imagine that you have students create a Voice Thread at the beginning of the unit on Adding Fractions. Then, they create a similar Voice Thread at the end of the unit on Adding Fractions. In addition to answering the questions on the Voice Thread, students can reflect on their own progress. And, as we know, our math students don’t always gain mastery or even “get it” by the end of a unit. Voice Thread would allow for students to go back days, weeks, or months later and add to their previous work. Maybe something about adding fractions became clear to a student during the Multiplication of Fractions Unit. That student could go back and add to their Voice Thread. Imagine how that would impact student motivation and success. Your students might even feel empowered to take control over their own learning.

©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


With this tool, portfolios don’t remain stagnant. They become ever changing, and they grow with each student. This also has the potential to impact parent involvement by allowing parents to be a part of their child’s growth and progress.

Reflection Tool In the previous section, we discussed how students can reflect on work through a digital portfolio. However, reflection doesn’t have to be limited to portfolios. You could have students create a Voice Thread any time you want them to reflect on their learning. You could even have students keep an ongoing daily reflection journal through Voice Thread. This type of technology application makes reflecting on learning easy to do because it doesn’t require a lot of time. If you have students who don’t like to write, Voice Thread gives them a way to reflect on learning without having to write a paragraph. I’m not suggesting that students should never have to write about what they learn in math. I’m only pointing out that technology provides other ways for students to express what they’ve learned. For students who don’t like to write, perhaps creating a reflective Voice Thread first would help them with their writing assignment.

Take a Digital Gallery Walk Rather than have students hang their work on the wall, create a digital gallery walk with Voice Thread. Have students take pictures of their work and upload it on a Voice Thread. Students can then take a virtual gallery walk and leave comments about everyone’s work. If you want to take it a step further, you could open it up for people outside of your class to leave comments. This saves class time, gives students pride in knowing that their work is on display, and supports learning by allowing for collaboration.

©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


Using Voice Thread in the Math Classroom