With the new trend in education due to COVID-19, many language classrooms have been moved to hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous modes of delivery online. This change has certainly impacted the socio-cultural aspects of our classroom dynamics in many different ways.
Approaches to building community and the related language interaction have been impacted by the move to online delivery, and educators have sought assistance by looking into various EdTech tools to make up for this gap. One of these tools that I have found helpful in my language classrooms is VoiceThread.
To name a few of this tool’s technical affordances, both instructors and students can:
- Post written, audio, and video messages
- Share images and charts in the background of these messages
- Create slides for student presentations or instructor instructions or lectures
- Create multiple slides and speak over them, using the tool as PowerPoint
- Post a message to the whole class or an individual student
One of the other ways to use VoiceThread is to utilize it as a discussion board. Instructors can create a voice thread and students reply to the same post in any required format of speaking, writing, or videotaping. These replies can be made public or private at the instructor’s discretion. If the post is for formative assessment, student replies can be made visible to everyone, but if it is for a summative assessment, it can remain private between the instructor and the student. The latter would be suitable for assignment setups and submissions. The private mode would make it easy for the instructor to provide individual feedback for each student right on the same page/thread. Again, the instructor can choose to provide feedback in an audio, video, or written message format.
Another way to use VoiceThread is to create a thread called “Ask the Instructor”, where students can post their questions. When the instructor responds to the questions, it might be answering other students’ questions as well, which turns the page into a “frequently asked questions” page.
VoiceThread can work well for building community. In one of my recent classes, I opened a thread called “Café”, where students could post images they had taken over the weekend, share the names of movies they’d watched, books they’d read, or recipes they’d tried, or share an interesting TEDTalk or LinkedIn Learning course. Peers could leave comments, ask questions, and share ideas; quite a great way to create a community online and get the conversation going!
Finally, VoiceThread’s ultimate benefit is that it makes content creation quite simple and liberating. It plays the role of a one stop shop in content creation for both educators and students. Hope you get to use the tool sometime soon!
Please let us know how you use VoiceThread in your class, ask a question, or share your thoughts!!