Penn State learning designers may wish to share with faculty potential uses of the online communication and presentation tool VoiceThread in courses to enhance student engagement, discussion, and collaboration. Anyone at Penn State can use VoiceThread free of charge, thanks to a University-wide license obtained by Information Technology Services.

VoiceThread is a web-based application that allows users to quickly and easily create a shared presentation of images, documents, and videos that visitors can comment on in the form of voice (microphone), video/webcam recording, phone call, audio file, or text. Commenters can also use a drawing tool to draw on top of the media. The resulting group conversation can then be shared with individuals and/or groups for playback. The application is designed to be user-friendly and require minimum technical ability.

VoiceThread can facilitate communication among individuals at different geographic locations. It allows instructors to tap into the trend toward collaboration, group interaction, and teamwork that is becoming the norm in education and the modern workplace. Classroom uses of the application could include introducing course content, demonstrating processes, creating team projects that can be peer reviewed, discussion, analysis, and reflection.

Learning designers who wish to learn more about classroom applications as well as recent updates of the tool are welcome to attend a free “Working with VoiceThread” presentation during the Learning Design Summer Camp pre-camp session on Wednesday, July 20 at 2:30 p.m. in 202 IST Building, University Park. The session will include a demonstration of the VoiceThread app (in beta) running on an iPad. For details, see https://wikispaces.psu.edu/display/psutlt/LDSC11+Schedule+Pre-Camp+Sessions%2C+Wednesday%2C+July+20th.

For more information on VoiceThread including support materials and classroom use cases as well as to sign in to the service, visit http://voicethread.psu.edu/.

VoiceThread communication tool a useful faculty resource

VoiceThread logo

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