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It's true, there is no place like home! However, it's not always possible to go back home. VoiceThread is an online tool that will let us share what's happening in our lives with our loved ones in other places. Hey, they can even participate in your voice thread! It's a collaborative tool that incorporates photos, audio, and even video ( a newer feature!).
This is a VoiceThread of Wesley Fryer's trip with his son to Washington DC.



VoiceThread

This is a link to the education version of VoiceThread which is a paid subscription. Buhler Schools subscribes to ed.voicethread. If your district does not have a subscription to the education version go to http://voicethread.com
  1. Register or sign in to VoiceThread. (Buhler teachers - use your email address and your login password)
  2. Click on the Browse tab to see examples of VoiceThreads.
  3. Click on the Create tab when you're ready to make your own VoiceThread. Don't worry, you can always delete it!

Plan ahead! When you create voicethreads with your students have them make a storyboard. They should have a plan for each photo and a written script. For your first voicethread, create a folder on your desktop and put the photos you plan on using in the folder. If you're using photos in iPhoto, it seems to be simpler to just drag them from iPhoto into the folder on your desktop. This is the same as exporting them. Any editing should be done before dragging them to the folder.
See where it says (Add a title and description)? This gets missed pretty easily! Just click on it and type the name of your VoiceThread and PLEASE add a description. This lets your audience know what your VoiceThread is about. You'll see as you browse VT's that many students miss this part. You can also add tags. Tags are similar to keywords. These are words that someone might use to search for in VoiceThread.
There are three steps in creating your VoiceThread.
  • Upload/Edit. Choose to upload photos from your computer. Navigate to the folder of photos you just set up. Now this is really slick, highlight them all and click on select. They will import right into VoiceThread. You can add a title to each photo you just added by clicking on the word "Title" on the highlighted photo. If you add a title to the photo, it will show up in your VoiceThread. You can even add a URL if you want to link the slide to a site.

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  • Comment. VTComment.png This is the really fun part! Once you click on #2. Comment your voicethread enlarges and you'll be able to make a recording. Click on "Record " if you want to add an audio message. Click on the video camera if you want to have a video recording. For a little $ you can call in from your phone! You'll get a little message asking if you want to allow VT to use your camera and/or microphone. You must choose "allow". One other option is to type your message rather than record it. Our Macs have built-in microphones and cameras so this is pretty painless. If you're working on another computer you may have to connect an external microphone and/or webcam. Once you're finished with your recording click on "Save" or "Cancel" if you feel like you need to redo it. Go to your next slide and add your next recording! Do you see the little color palette when you hit the record button? You can choose a color and draw right on your voicethread! It records your actions!VTrecord.png
  • Share. The default is for your VoiceThread to be private. That's good so no one sees it while you're in the editing stage! On the bottom of the screen, choose Playback Options to determine how your VoiceThread is going to play. Next choose Publishing Options. This is where you really want to pay attention. On the education subscription, you can allow anyone to view. Only other schools that have the ed. subscription will be able to view it. If you allow comments (and this is a pretty powerful part!) do you want to moderate the comments before they're published for your students to see? Show on Browse page? Ok, if you want people to find your VT check it. If you've created a semi-private VT, you might choose not to have it show up in the Browse area. I made a Happy Birthday VT for my brother Joe. I sent him the URL to the VT. I didn't really want people to search for that VT since it wasn't educational nor of interest to anyone else.


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That's pretty much it! If you have a blog, wiki, moodle, or webpages, you might want to embed your VoiceThread. When you click on the embed button you'll be able to copy the embed code. You'll then paste it in your blog, etc. You must allow anyone to view if you're going to share it out!
Buhler teachers - if you want your students to create their own voicethreads, let me know and I'll send you their login information or ask your media specialist.

If you need more help understanding how VoiceThread works, search YouTube for some video tutorials. VoiceThread also has a pretty good help menu.


Extra Touch.
For a little added touch I have created each of my slides for VoiceThread in Keynote (or PowerPoint). I have added LARGE text and a background for each slide for consistency. When it is totally finished (this is just step 1 of creating the VoiceThread - Upload/Edit), export them or share them out as images or photos. These should go into a folder you created for this project. Now you'll just continue with the instructions above. Here's an example of that:


Curriculum Connections

Ha! Anything that you would make a powerpoint of or Keynote of, can be created in a VoiceThread. The advantage is that it is online, can be viewed many times, and is collaborative! Also browse other VoiceThreads for some great examples. If you need help in coming up with ideas, I'll be happy to help you!



Embed a sample of your voicethread on this page: http://christmascountdown.wikispaces.com/voicethreadsamples