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Giving Your Students a Voice

Over the summer I was able to attend the National Conference on Differentiated Instruction in Las Vegas. One session that I attended was a “show and tell” with websites that could potentially be useful in the classroom. It was here that I first learned of Voicethread, an collaboration site used for sharing pictures, videos, and ideas.

The capabilities of Voicethread are endless. Not only can students create material to post to Voicethread, they can also search the vast library and use what they find as an inspiration for writing, language development, learning about cultures, etc. They are able to comment through text, through voice recording, or through drawing on the screen.

I used Voicethread with my 7th graders when we were studying classroom objects. As a Spanish teacher, I am always looking for ways to get them to speak in the target language. Voicethread allowed them to comment on other projects by recording themselves saying sentences in Spanish. Each student created their own classroom (we used Classroom Architect, Google Sketchup, and Inspiration) and then they saved their creation as a JPEG. I assigned each student a login and password for Voicethread, and they were able to go into the website and upload their classroom. Then they shared their Voicethread with four other people in their group, and commented on each project.

Voicethread allowed me to hear them speak and see their writing, and for them to show me they knew what they were talking about by circling it on the screen. It provided students the opportunity to demonstrate the understanding of the words that they were learning at that time.

If you are interested in Voicethread, I would check out the website, and create an account for yourself first. Then surf around on the site to see what is there!

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