A few observations about voicethread
Participants think this a fun, interactive tool. In this case were used as the central content of the voice thread a video, but it may also be a number of pictures. It took us some time to figure out how to see where in the video everybody placed his/her reacion - you can see it when you scroll over the bar at the bottom of the page. Not everyone finds it attractive, it is quite 'angular' and does not look as a very dynamic tool, though opinions varied about the attractiveness of voicethread. It is an asynchronous tool, which means everyone responds to his own time, in that sense it is not a substitute for Skype or google hangout with video because those are synchronous video conferencing tools. The advantage of working asynchronous is that all contributions remain visible well traceable. The technique did not work for everybody, one person's sound was very low. So it may need some instructions how to use it.
Working from the tool or the goal?
Working with online video requires a whole different way of working. You have to search and find the advantages of the medium you use. In a school setting, teachers noticed that a screen automatically attracts attention, and decided to use Prezi rather than powerpoint to make it more visually appealing. Based on the possibilities and limitation of the chosen technique you may be stimiulated to design other learning activities. The code in technology forces you to be creative. By getting to know the tool you can slowly make well informed decisions. A tool can limit you, but can also stimulate your creativity to come to new things. At the same time there is the eternal danger that he who has a hammer will be looking for a nail automatically. So stay critical about your choice of tools and avoid using voicethread because it seems fancy. The core characteristics of voicethread are its central use of video or photos, possibility of leaving reactions in any form you like (text, voice, video) and asynchronous use.
Given the core characteristic - how can you use Voicethread?
- To get to know eachother, it is nice to hear a voice or see a face online.
- Use it to make sure people have already thought about the subject before a face-to-face meeting.
- Use it to flip your classroom. You can explain theory in a voicethread and use the face-to-face to practice.
- For co-creation. You may jointly develop an artifact or plan. People can keep adding things whenever they think of some new ideas to add.
- Center your voicethread around a question and ask input from others and allow people to react to each other.
- Film critical professional situations and ask people to observe and respond.