Saturday, May 18, 2013

Voicethread in the World Language Classroom

Voicethread is an engaging website where users publish content with pictures and words or voice, and then others can add comments with either words, voice, or drawings on the presentation.  Users can limit who can comment on presentations, are able to moderate comments, and can make the voicethreads either public or private.  

How I used it:
I mostly used Voicethread to introduce vocabulary in the world language classroom.  I created my first voicethreads by uploading the images from PowerPoints I had on file.  A few days before formally introducing a new unit, I would give students an assignment to use the new vocabulary word or expression on the “slide.”  Instead of focusing on accuracy for this assignment, I focused on communication of ideas.  Students had to write an original sentence and were encouraged to connect to prior comments. Later,  using my Smartboard in class, we would review the comments in the target language.  The online connections, combined with the high school sense of humor, created many funny minutes in the classroom.    A sample activity and rubric are below.

What I liked:
  • Asynchronous online communication
  • Many students were “braver” in French because it was online and they were able to plan their sentences
  • Improved vocabulary memorization
  • Students were able to make voice comments, important in the world language classroom
  • There is a Voicethread app

What I disliked:
  • The technology was not as intuitive as others used in the classroom, so some students needed assistance.
  • Users are required to “login” with email, which did not jive with district policy; so we paid for student accounts ($1 each) to allow sign-ins without email. This process was not obvious. 

    For homework, you must: Answer the questions on each picture.
    1.     Go to my web page for school
    2.    Go to “French 3”
    3.    Go to “Assignments”
    4.    Click to add comments; you will be prompted to login; follow the prompts.

    How you will be graded:

    # of comments
    Quality of comments
    10 points
            Creative use of language, using a variety of vocabulary and expressions from French 1-3
            You use the vocabulary expressions appropriately.
            Few errors; they do not interfere with your message.
    8 points
            You use the vocabulary expressions appropriately.
            Few errors, 1-3 may prevent communication of ideas.
    6 points
            You use the vocabulary expressions appropriately, but a bare minimum.
          4+ errors prevent communication of ideas.   

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