Voicethread Success

I have been determined to successfully incorporate voicethread into my classroom, but I have had a hard time coming up with authentic ways to integrate the voicethread into my classroom.  I believe that when we use technology, it must be meaningfully integrated into our classrooms, rather than using technology to just say we have used technology.  While trying to come up with ideas for using voicethread I have played with a few ideas that were not really good and didn’t seem to inspire my students to conversation.  I ran across a blog posting where a gentleman said that he posted a voicethread up on his class page and didn’t require the students to use the voicethread, rather he just created conversation if the students wanted to participate.  I tried that (only one week) and I only had a few students log-in and comment.  I could have had few comments because the topic was academic in nature rather than just for fun, so maybe I need to rethink what I put up, but I have a hard time putting up non-academic items.  I guess the key to that is to put up something that the students don’t know is academic but actually has value to the content.

I decided to put up my flipchart in voicethread.  We have activboards at our school, so I “printed” my flipchart to a PDF (uncovering and hiding all of my actions) and then imported the PDF into a voicethread.  I put the voicethread up on my website the night before a quiz and the students finally commented!!!!  I had 72 comments.  Most of the comments were answering questions on that were already in the flipchart, but some students drew on the pictures and discussed the process of photosynthesis (the concept we were covering) and some just talked through the slides!  I also was on that night approving comments (I have the voicethread moderated) and helping the students where they were having trouble (as I found by listening to the comments).  I know this process will improve as time goes by and I think this may be my favorite way to use voicethread!  I am interested in hearing how other teachers are using voicethread.Please let me know if you have any great tips.  Below are links to my great voicethread idea’s, examples, and best practices.  Also, please check out my voicethread that my class used on Photosynthesis!

Digitally Speaking  – Voicethread

The Blurb – Voicethread Training and Tutorials

Voicethread 4 Education

Techieteachers pagecast

Photosynthesis Voicethread

 

 

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Auditory Processing and Technology

mypc-128x128In my class I am seeing more and more auditory processing disorders.  According to the National Institute on Deaf and Communication Disorders auditory processing is ” a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you”.  When a student has an auditory processing disorder that students may not hear what I say as a teacher correctly and may not then understand what I have said.  This disorder has a huge impact on academic performance.  As a teacher that loves to use technology I know there may be an answer to this problem using technology.

I read an article this morning by Robert Marzano that discusses the use of interactive white boards in the classroom and how academic performance is improving by the use of these boards.  I think that article could also be expanded and we would see that technology use in general, if applicable to student learning, will increase test scores as well – especially in students with auditory processing disorders.  Most teachers only teach to auditory learners, but we know through research that most students ARE NOT Speaker-256x256

auditory learners.  The reason test scores are improving with the use of the whiteboard is because we are finally reaching all of the other learners in our classroom – especially the visual and the kinesthetic learners!

When my student’s create a wordle they are interacting with words and visualizing patterns with words which is so much more powerful than me saying vocabulary words over and over.  When I use voicethread to help my students with vocabulary words, they are seeing a picture of a word and hearing the word, so I am helping visual learners again!  By giving all of our students opportunities for success our academic performance can only rise.

Technology enhances learning and allows students to visualize what they are seeing, not just hear the words.  It is important for educators to promote the use of technology for those students who need the extra visualization in class.