Friday, March 31, 2017

VoiceThread Now Available to SDW Students and Staff

Looking for a way to hear every student's thought on a topic or idea, but having trouble getting every student to speak up? Maybe you are looking for a way of having student's express their thinking verbally outside of class, or as they work in small groups where you cannot always be present?

A tool is newly available to Waukesha students and staff to give students a way to speak their thoughts around topics chosen by the teacher: VoiceThread. We are excited about all of the ways this could support instruction!

VoiceThread has been made available in our district as a result of our partnership with Blackboard. You will need to use Blackboard to access VoiceThread.

What is VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is a tool that allows users to share their thoughts and ideas around topics presented to them. The topics are selected by the teacher, presented through various types of media (slides, videos, photos, etc.) and then each participant/student can share their spoken or written response while annotating over the top of the various media types.

This video provides a quick summary of what VoiceThreads look like and do.

Try Out VoiceThread

To give you an opportunity to experience VoiceThread, we have created a VoiceThread that you can comment on. The topic for the VoiceThread is, "How can teachers and students utilize VoiceThread in different subject areas?"  We encourage you to share your ideas with others while trying out the tool.

How do students and teachers access VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is available in Waukesha because of our partnership with Blackboard. It is integrated into Blackboard and tied into the same accounts as Blackboard.

Teachers will need to log into their Blackboard accounts, and then head into one of the classes where they are designated as a teacher.  From there, it's pretty straight forward.

  1. In a Content Area, click "Tools" on the build bar. Select "VoiceThread" from the list
  2. Write a brief description if needed in the available Text Box. Then select "Submit and Launch."
  3. A new window will open. If it requests your username and password, you will use the same username and password that you use to log into Blackboard.
  4. You will select the appropriate view for your needs. For the first time, select Course View. (Tutorial on the ways different views are used is available here.)
  5. In the far upper right, click "Add Your Own"
  6. You are now ready to create your first VoiceThread. Students will use the link created in Blackboard to access the VoiceThread.

Is VoiceThread iPad Friendly?

VoiceThread has a useful app called VoiceThread Mobile. It is available for download now in Self Service on all student iPads in the Communications category.  This app makes it incredibly easy for students to upload and annotate while recording their thoughts to VoiceThread. The app opens with ease from Blackboard.

You can learn more about VoiceThread, gett step-by-step tutorials for bringing VoiceThread into your Blackboard course,  and answer troubleshooting questions at the SDW Help Site