Why do your students use emoji?

Do your students use emoji when they post messages on your class discussion boards? Do they sprinkle smileys into their emails? If you’ve taught a class in the last ten years, you probably answered yes to both questions. So, why do they do it? Maybe they do it because they are used to miscommunication with their text-based communications. There are entire websites dedicated to documenting text messages gone wrong, misconstrued emails and essay fails. … Continued

Casting Votes With Voicethread

This is a guest post by 3rd Grade Teacher and VoiceThreader, Traci Blazosky.  Every year, my students celebrate Major League Baseball (MLB) day. This day happens in my classroom on opening day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The entire day is devoted to baseball related activities that all align with the Common Core. For ELA, we read a poem by Ernest L. Thayer, titled Casey at the Bat and complete a comprehension activity. … Continued

Using VoiceThread to Discuss Infographics

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Samantha Stelz.  Is VoiceThread a tool that can be used in the primary grades? Is VoiceThread easy to learn for students who are not as familiar with technology? The answer to those questions is…yes! VoiceThread is an excellent 21st century learning tool that students can use in a variety of ways across grade levels. When talking with other teachers from different counties and states across the US about how I utilize VoiceThread and other technology programs in the classroom, they often cannot believe that my students are ‘only’ second graders. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Language Classes

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Dr. Daisy Sam.  I have been a classroom teacher since 2005. My only break from the classroom was in 2011 when my family moved from RI to NJ and this year school year as we made another transition from NJ to FL. Sometimes the teaching life is so involved you seldom have time to sit and reflect on the lessons you have created. … Continued

Using VoiceThread to Enhance Existing Assignments

This is a guest post by Nursing Educator and VoiceThreader Kimberly Davis.  I attended the online VoiceThread Basics Training this past spring and was quickly hooked! One of the features that really appealed to me about using VoiceThread was the idea that students could use multiple modalities to express themselves. I teach Concepts of Professional Nursing, an introductory nursing course, where students have traditionally used a written discussion board post to answer how this class has shaped their professional identity. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Field Trip Reflections

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Austin Fleischer.  One of the biggest challenges with technology in education today is trying to navigate through the enormous amount of apps and websites that are available. I have been fortunate enough to work in a district that is one to one with technology. This has allowed me to explore a large variety of apps and create a list that we call our Core Tools. … Continued

Transforming an LMS Group Wiki Assignment to VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThread Certified Educator, Curtis Izen. Each semester, I try refining or creating a new assignment. In my online MIS course, the students are grouped into teams of 4-5 students. Their assignment is to create a group wiki on an emerging technology in business. Using the wiki tools from their LMS, they are tasked to add any multimedia, text or links to make their wiki as engaging and informational as possible. … Continued

Presentations, Virtual Meetings, and Substitute Plans: What CAN'T VoiceThread Do?

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, John Briese.  These days teachers are embracing technology as a way to improve their instruction and help students find a deeper connection to their content. However, I talk to teachers all the time whose concern is that the only “technology” they have used in class is having their students create a PowerPoint. Therefore, my challenge has been to find the next step for them to take that will not overwhelm them, but will also help them move forward with introducing more 21st Century skills into their classes. … Continued

Establishing a Social Presence with VoiceThread

Have you ever asked students what they don’t like about online courses? If you have or if you’ve ever researched the complaints online students have, you’ll notice one major trend: students want to know the instructor is present, engaged and interested in them. Since the advent of online courses, students have craved a strong social presence from their instructor. Sure, most students love autonomy and the freedom to direct their own learning, but no one wants to shout into the darkness. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Poetry Critiques

This is a guest post by Educator and VoiceThreader, Mary Ellen Davies. De Pere, Wisconsin and Hillsborough, New Jersey are separated by 999 miles. Without traffic, it would take over 14 hours to drive between these two towns. Given this large geographical gap, it might be surprising to know that students from De Pere Middle School and Hillsborough Middle School spent 4 days reading and critiquing poems together. With the help of VoiceThread, this asynchronous connection was possible. … Continued

Capturing the Moment with VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Andrea Plato.  When the bell rings at the end of the day and my students scoot out the door, I often reflect on the events of the day. I think about the discussions, clever comments, and insight my students share. The bad news is I can’t remember exactly what was said in the moment, and I feel like I’ve lost a treasure trove of ideas. … Continued

Digital PenPals and VoiceThread

This is a guest post by Educator and VoiceThreader, Mary Ellen Davies.  In my 10 years as an educator, I have learned that there is definitely a difference between “teacher cool” and “student cool.” When “teacher cool” and “student cool” are the same, the result is something incredible! At the start of the school year, Daynon Blevins, an 8th grade literacy teacher at Hillsborough Middle School in Hillsborough, NJ, mentioned to me that he would like to find pen pals for his class. … Continued

My VoiceThread Biology Journal Club

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Dr. Karen Wells.  Teaching graduate-level biological sciences in the online classroom can be challenging! As an online instructor, I’m always looking for ways to “translate” enriching experiences from the brick-and-mortar classroom into the virtual classroom. One essential component for graduate-level instruction is the Journal Club: students critically read and evaluate the primary literature and then engage in a presentation and discussion of the research. … Continued

Break down your classroom walls: Global Debate

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Aaron Maurer.  One of my favorite projects is almost underway. Over 700 students involved in our Revolution Debate project are about ready to embark in a powerful learning project. This is a project that started small two years ago. Two years ago teachers in our building created a debate on the topic: Revolution – Is It Justified? At this time we had students debate each other from separate classrooms. … Continued

VoiceThread A to Z: Replacing Text Discussion Boards

This is our fourth post in the VoiceThread A to Z series. In the first post, we discussed ways to use VoiceThread for early semester activities and in the second post we discussed creating presentations and our third post dealt with storytelling lesson ideas. This post will focus on using VoiceThread as a replacement for text-based class discussions. Upcoming posts will focus on other innovative lesson design and assessment ideas. Stay tuned! … Continued

Sharing Your Student's Research With VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Curtis Izen.  Students taking my online Principals of Management Information Systems course are required to contribute in weekly VoiceThreads, submit case study assignments, work on a group project and complete an individual research paper. The majority of their efforts are shared or developed with the entire class as it’s completed. Classmates are able to contribute their knowledge to other peers, who in turn, learn from their findings and insight. … Continued

Global Connections with VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Jennifer Starkey. For the past few months I have had the privilege of being involved in a teacher professional development program called Finnish Connections, Collections, and Reflections at North Carolina State University. One of the goals in this program is for the participants to connect with other cultures through global, collaborative, classroom projects. For our project, I worked with my colleague Andrea Echols who is a second grade teacher and also part of the Finnish Connections program. … Continued

Using VoiceThread for Online Courses

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Dr. Maureen Cuevas. Teaching in an online asynchronous format for the national MSW program at Our Lady of the Lake University, I have come to depend on Voice thread in every class I teach. And as we redevelop our courses to make them more interactive, I recommend to every faculty member that they try to use the incredible power of this tool in each class. … Continued

Inter-Class Debates in VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Justin Miller.   The first in-depth classroom activity I did in VoiceThread was to have my students hold an inter-class debate. I was excited by the concept of having a debate between students in different classes. I determined the topic and had students select sides by a coin flip. The students researched their arguments in groups of three or four. Each class had six arguments: an opening statement, four supporting arguments, and a closing statement. … Continued

Transforming from Text to VoiceThreads and Not Looking Back

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Curtis Izen Students taking my online Principals of Management Information Systems course participate in discussion boards, group projects and case study assignments. Discussion boards are a large component of the course. It is at this juncture where students have the greatest opportunity to express their own ideas in writing while responding to other classmates. Many examples I have seen over the years are done writing directly in the text editor of the discussion board. … Continued

Break Down Your Classroom Walls with VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Eleanna Liscombe. I am a 12 year veteran teacher of third graders as well as a Google and eMINTS Certified Educator. I earned my Master’s of Information Science and Learning Technology from Mizzou where my studies ignited a new passion. After realizing that I rarely had my students use technology for reaching outside our classroom walls, I decided it was time to open the world to my kiddos from the Midwestern USA. … Continued

The Great Kindness Challenge and VoiceThread

This is a guest post by educators and VoiceThreaders, Kelly Riley, Jeff Williams, and Stacey Zawisza. Students + VoiceThread + Kindness = one wholehearted experience. The Great Kindness Challenge (GKC) is a global initiative where participating schools all over the world devote one week, January 25-29 of the current year, to reinvigorate their campus with a kindness driven culture. The J.W. Reason Elementary counseling department’s focus for the week was to provide over 450 students with interactive, hands-on kindness lessons and activities each day. … Continued

Using VoiceThread to Facilitate Language in an Elementary Deaf Education Classroom

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader, Marleah Jacobson. VoiceThread meets Deaf education and magic happens. Magic in the form of a classroom erupting with language; both English and American Sign Language. Once the Deaf and hard of hearing students in my 3rd-5th grade classroom have the chance to respond to questions, process new material and express their ideas in a language that is fully accessible due to its visual nature–American Sign Language–I see marked growth in their abilities to understand and produce written English. … Continued

VoiceThread: An Online Counterpart to the Traditional Design Studio

This is a guest post by design instructor and VoiceThreader, Jody Lawrence. I integrated VoiceThread into my freshman design studio to facilitate instructor and peer critiques, and to promote student dialogue and networking with practicing designers around the country. The students embraced the technology as an enhancement to their in-person studio experience, sharing that the tool introduced continuity to their learning throughout the week, and improved the quality of scheduled, in-class time. … Continued

Are your students better than spammers?

While it can be easy to get students to comment on each others’ work, it is not always easy to get them to leave thoughtful, quality comments. Frequently, the student commenters mean well and they try to be encouraging, but their feedback to each other is lacking real substance. They might simply leave a comment like: “nice job, Mike!” or “Interesting post, Debbie!” but add no real value to the discussion. … Continued

Changing the “Culture” of Learning

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Pam Sengos.  Personalizing Learning for All Students As a technology coach in my district, I have the opportunity to work with many wonderful teachers and students. In the past few years, our district has researched and invested time in personalized learning for all students based on their own skills, interests, and learning paths. With a team of third grade teachers, we began our work by redesigning our Culture Unit. … Continued

Connecting Students for World Read Aloud Day

Connecting your students with other classes around the globe for World Read Aloud Day can be tough. Scheduling a live skype session with a school in a different time zone can be a deal-breaker for what would otherwise be a wonderful learning experience for your students. Even when you overcome the scheduling issues, technology can fail to cooperate. Sometimes their mic isn’t working, sometimes your bandwidth ruins the idea, sometimes the server goes down or your principal decides to have a fire drill halfway through. … Continued

Why I Love VoiceThread

*This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Dr. Judy Arzt. I use this tool in my own teaching, but, more importantly, encourage the teachers in my classes to use it with their students. The app is flexible and works on a variety of devices. For instance, teachers with limited access to technology in their classrooms can download the app to their phone. This suits those who teach the lower grades, starting with pre-k. … Continued

Is the Flipped Model Disruptive?

We hear about “disruptive” technology all the time, but what does it really mean? Too often the label is misapplied to technologies that simply improve efficiency while preserving an old model. For a technology to be truly disruptive it needs to bring about a fundamental change in how we do things. When it comes to educational technology, many existing tools allow traditional teachers to continue delivering lectures and assessing with short-answer tests. … Continued

How Can Role-Playing Improve Peer-To-Peer Feedback?

This is a guest post by Boise State professor, Yu-Hui Ching. I am an assistant professor of Educational Technology at Boise State University. I have been using VoiceThread for discussions and ice-breaking activities in my online courses for two years. My students and I enjoy VoiceThread because we can see and hear each other, which helps us build a more connected learning community. In my recently published research article, I tackled a problem that concerns many online instructors – how to guide students to provide quality peer feedback. … Continued