VoiceThread: A Tool for Creating Narrated Presentations

Review Overview

A. Efficiency - 8.8
B. Functionality - 8.7
C. Design - 9.3


VoiceThread: A Tool for Creating Narrated Presentations

Summary : Making Narrated Presentations a Cinch!

VoiceThread is a web-based platform that allows users to import files to create online presentations that includes options for adding comments using text and video. VoiceThread also includes a searchable library of presentations made by other VoiceThread users. To begin, users must register with VoiceThread and confirm their email. Next, they will be able to access their dashboard, where they can create their own presentations and view other ones that have been created by members of the VoiceThread community.

To start their own voice thread, users must click the “Create” button on the top menu. They are then prompted to “Add Media” to their presentation by dragging and dropping files (e.g., images, videos, documents) into the presentation or clicking the “Add Media” text to import files from their computer, media sources (e.g., Khan Academy, Flickr, Google Drive, NY Public Library), and URLs, or by recording themselves using their computer’s audio system and webcam. Once they add content, they will be directed to name, describe, and tag their presentation. At this point, VoiceThread will load the content.

Next, users are to click the “Comment” button on the top of the screen to further customize their presentation by adding their voice and annotations to the content. To do so, users must click the slide they wish to customize followed by the “+ Comment” button in the bottom of the content. A menu will then appear, and users can choose how they wish to add their voice and annotations. The “ABC” option allows users to type comments that appear on the side, the “Phone” icon requests that VoiceThread calls them and users can add their comments over the phone, the “Microphone” icon lets users add comments using their computer’s audio system, the “Camera” option lets users record themselves making comments, and the “Upload” icon allows users to import content from their computer as comments.

As users add content, they can click the right and left arrow buttons on the bottom right of the screen to advance their presentation. As they add their content, they can click the “Play” button on the left of the screen to see how it appears. They can also click the “Overlapping Squares” icon to see their presentation slide-by-slide. In this view they can drag the slides to reorder them. They can then exit this view by clicking the “X” button on the top right of the screen.

When complete, users can tap the “Share” button on the top of the screen, which provides them with a URL to their presentation, code for embedding their presentation, and posting it to Facebook or Twitter.

The “Browse” option on the top of the screen lets users view VoiceThread presentations by topic. To do so, users must click the “Browse” option and the choose the categories and sub-categories of interest. They will then be able to view the VoiceThread presentation.

Instructional Ideas for VoiceThread

  1. As part of a flipped classroom, teachers can create a VoiceThread presentation about a topic of study and have students engage the presentation before class. That way, when students come to class, they will have background knowledge about the topic. Teachers can also require students to comment on the presentation.
  2. After studying a topic, teachers can assign an element of that topic and have students create a VoiceThread presentation of it. For example, after reading a novel, teachers can have students summarize the novel by assigning small groups of students a chapter to summarize as a VoiceThread presentation. Or, for students who are studying climate change, teachers can assign them a region in the world and create a VoiceThread presentation that highlights the impact of climate change on that region. Once finished, students can post a link to their presentation on a collaborative document or space, such as Padlet.
  3. When brainstorming ideas for VoiceThread presentations, students and teachers can use the “Browse” option to see ones that have already been created related to specific topics. Teachers can prompt students to think about the VoiceThreads by asking: (1) What elements of the presentation did you find engaging?, (2) What could have been improved?, and (3) Did the presentation provide useful information? Teachers can have students first answer those questions in small groups before sharing with the entire class.
  4. Teachers can have students engage a VoiceThread presentation – created by the teacher, students, or someone else – and require that they comment a certain number of times.
A1. Productivity
A2. Frequency
A3. Guidance
A4. Relevance
A5. Credibility
A6. Differentiation
B1. Multipurpose
B2. Collaboration & Communication
B3. Ability to Save Progress
B4. Modifications
B5. Platform Integration
B6. Security
C1. Navigation
C2. Ease of Use
C3. Customization
C4. Aesthetics
C5. Screen Design
C6. Information Presentation
C7. Media Integration
C8. Free of Distractors

VoiceThread Screenshots