VoiceThread & Recorded Group Discussions


Case Study

Antonio is an ELT teacher in Peru. He uses VoiceThread with his students to get them working in groups and discussing certain points. These are high level students and he tries to link what the students do in the class with what he wants to get them to do in their assessments. For example, he might do a lesson about bullying and afterwards the students are put into groups and asked to produce a discussion around bullying.

VoiceThread is free for the students to sign up to, and they can then add their voice recordings. This means that several students can work on one topic. They can all add their recording and agree and disagree with what the other students have said and also add their own comments. This makes the discussion very dialogic.

To make it easy to find the recordings, the students embed them into a wiki where they can be easily accessed. Antonio provides feedback on a group basis and sometimes plays back the best recordings in the class to show the other students.

Students like the tool as it develops their oral skills and they have to listen to what the other students have said before they make their own recordings.

The tool is easy to use; students can record and re-record until they are happy with the recordings they have made.

Focus on technology: VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a free tool. It allows you to upload documents, pictures, video and other digital media and then a voice recording. It is not limited to one voice recording. You could in theory upload a PDF document onto VoiceThread and then all the students in the class could add voice recordings to sit alongside the document.

VoiceThread also allows you to click on a button, copy the code and then embed the VoiceThread into a website, blog or wiki. It requires no coding at all. It has quickly become one of the most popular Web 2.0 tools on the internet. http://voicethread.com

Antonio is looking for interesting ways to get students to develop their oral skills. He links the assessment to what has been covered in the class and the tool he has chosen allows the students to easily add their commentary to a picture, video or document that Antonio has uploaded.

The students can also listen to the recordings that other students have created and react by either agreeing or disagreeing with their opinions.

Antonio tries to choose a topic that is relevant to the students and one he feels they will have opinions on. He provides general feedback on the overall performance of each group and uses classroom time to highlight good examples by playing back some of the recordings.

The feedback is quick and will hopefully feed forward into subsequent recordings. When Antonio set up the VoiceThread assessments he focused centrally on the assessment task and was careful to choose relevant topics related to what the students had been covering in class time. He paid less attention to the feedback.

Now that he has seen that the idea works, he is focusing on improving the feedback he provides to the students.

Currently he listens to the students recordings and provides general classroom feedback which he hopes will provide them with guidance on how to improve subsequent recordings, and he also plays some of the best examples in the class.

However, he is thinking of new ways to approach the feedback, including getting the students to perhaps provide peer feedback.


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