VoiceThread – GSU’s new tool for conversations in the cloud

voicethreadThis Spring, GSU is piloting a VoiceThread integration with Brightspace. VoiceThread is a digital discussion tool that is more personable and engaging than a traditional threaded discussion. What makes VoiceThread special is the way that participants use voice and video to have conversations centered on media. VoiceThread touts that its tool “bridges the gap between real-time discussions and standard video lectures or online presentations” and allows for “conversations in the cloud.” So if you are looking for new ways to engage students online, VoiceThread may be just what you are looking for.

Ultimately, a VoiceThread is created when you select media, such as PowerPoint slides, images, video, or audio, to seed a conversation. Once you add media to a VoiceThread, you can shared it with your students who begin a conversation through voice, video, or text comments. As an added bonus, when you or your students use the audio or video comment tool, you’ll have the ability to use colored pencils to annotate the seed media on the screen. Here’s a sample.

So how could you use VoiceThread? Well, here are a smattering of options.

  • In any field, have a conversation around your narrated PowerPoint or multimedia presentation
  • Work through case studies and scenarios like this one on radiology
  • In kinesiology and health, have students use colored pencils to indicate whether body alignment is problematic
  • In studio art, have students critique each other’s work or evaluate historical art
  • In social sciences, create a structured asynchronous debate
  • In language classes, ask students to create conversations in the target language around media

We are currently piloting VoiceThread’s integration with Brightspace, which means that now you can create as many VoiceThreads as you would like and securely share them with your class. You don’t have to worry about creating student accounts, paying for access, or copying and pasting long links into Brightspace. If you are interested in trying it out, send an email to help@gsu.edu with your request. Make sure to include your course information so that we’ll know which course(s) to add VoiceThread to. Once VoiceThread has been added to your course, you’ll be able to create links to VoiceThreads or create graded VoiceThread assignments in the Content tool. The VoiceThread below provides an overview of the process.

We’d love to hear what you are doing with VoiceThread. How could you use VoiceThread in your content area, especially now that it is integrated with Brightspace?

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7 comments on “VoiceThread – GSU’s new tool for conversations in the cloud
  1. Lauren Davidson says:

    I can see using VoiceThread for remote collaborative work on an ID project – or any visual project really. It takes asynchronous discussion to a whole new level with what are essentially micro audiovisual presentations. The only possible downside would be that, unlike in typed discussions, one can not print the thread to keep it. Printing is an important option because it is much easier to visually scan for information than to go through audio tracks. To this end, I would love to see a transcription option in VoiceThread. Overall, this is a great new feature of Brightspace. I look forward to using it.

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