Voicethread for Multi-sensory Learning and Sharing

Voicethread is a communication and presentation platform that provides a multi-sensory learning experience for users as they learn and share information. Voicethread presentations allow users to create slides that include images, webcam video, and voiced audio with the capability for webcam comments to be added and seen right in the presentation. Voicethread can be accessed from computers, tablets, and mobile devices.

Voicethread is a great learning medium in the classroom as it provides a collaborative learning environment. Students can join a teacher’s “group” or “class” to easily access Voicethread presentations. In addition, presentations can be shared as a link, embedded on a web page, or posted on Facebook or Twitter. With a premium membership presentations can be exported to a file. Privacy settings on presentations allow users to control who can view and comment on a presentation. Students do not need an account to view a Voicethread presentation, yet require an account to comment.

Aside from teacher’s using Voicethread to teach content to students, there are many uses in the classroom. A few are discussed below.

Reflection

Using Voicethread, students can improve metacognition and make meaning of their learning by reflecting upon the process, content, and coursework. Students can answer the teacher’s reflection questions as they develop their Voicethread, or they can finish sentences provided by the teacher such as, “As I read, I was most surprised by…”

Communication

Voicethread allows students and teachers to communicate via comments posted on a Voicethread presentation. Comments can be added to individual slides, allowing for specific feedback to be given and may be posted as video, audio, or text. This facilitates a collaborative learning environment, as students can construct and express knowledge through meaningful comments posted on a Voicethread presentation. Not only can students communicate with students in other classrooms, but they can easily communicate with students in other schools. Such a capability makes it a great medium for learning different perspectives and for research projects focused on geography.

Collaboration

Student groups can work together to create a unified Voicethread presentation. Working as a unit, groups select the media necessary to successfully share their knowledge. Communication and executive functioning skills will be developed as a group makes decisions and develops their plans for creating their Voicethread presentation.

Journal

Throughout a unit or semester students can add slides to their Voicethread, documenting their knowledge and thoughts during the learning process. This can act as a future resource for review and contemplation as the student looks to apply learning while also providing the student and teacher with indicators of growth.

How have you used Voicethreading in your classroom?

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Cloud Based Site to Organize and Share Links

Every think about how great it would be to access and share all of those great resources you have bookmarked on your computer… from anywhere?

Symbaloo is an online website and app that allows users to view, share, and access organized links on one easily accessible page. What makes it different from similar sites is its visual nature that makes it simple to navigate.

Using Symbaloo, users can organize important links on a page or “webmix”, which can then be further organized into categories by using color “markers”.  Each webmix has its own sharing link and embed code so it can be added to a website.

Here is an introduction to Symbaloo.

In addition to organizing your websites and links in one place, Symbaloo delivers benefits in the classroom.

1. Benefits to Students

Symbaloo is a great place to house links to class documents and it provides flexible viewing options (device, time, place). Furthermore, an entire project’s documents are easily included within a marker on a webmix.

For example, students in my health class created comics using ToonDoo to refuse peer pressure, and everything they needed to complete the project were under one Symbaloo marker. From the Symbaloo link they accessed:

When completing projects using Symbaloo students are using 21st century skills of information, media, and technology literacy.

Symbaloo is a great place to place for students to compile important resources of their own. By creating their own Symbaloo webmixes students are saving important resources for later use and organizing them so that they are easily found, thus practicing executive function skills.

2. Benefits to Colleagues

A benefit of being part of a professional learning network is the ability to share your knowledge while learning from your peers. Often, a disadvantage is that shared notes and photocopies are easily misplaced and the group may not meet regularly. With Symbaloo teachers are easily able to access many resources from one place and at anytime. Additionally, as new links are added the webmix is automatically updated.

Final thoughts…

Symbaloo provides so many great options in education. One improvement that could be made is ability to add multiple administrators to edit a single webmix. This would allow professional learning communities or student groups to collaborate in adding to the same webmix.

Have you used Symbaloo in your classroom? What are some of the ways you have or see yourself using this website? We’d love to hear… share your comment!

Resources:

http://www.imls.gov/about/21st_century_skills_list.aspx