VoiceThread is a tool for having asynchronous conversations around multimedia slide shows. Create a conversation by uploading PDFs, images, or videos (it is recommended to convert presentations, such as PowerPoints, into PDFs prior to uploading them). Then you, your colleagues, and students can leave comments using a phone, webcam, microphone, or keyboard. Each participant uploads an image to represent themselves which appears in the boarder of any slide they have commented on.
The webcam and microphone options are recorded through the user’s computer to the VoiceThread website (below you can see the video bubble that appears when listening to a comment left via webcam).
Text bubbles appear when viewing a typed comment and a speaker icon appears next to the speaker’s image when their voice is heard.
The ability for students to record comments via their phones is what I like best about voice thread. You can start a discussion by emailing a link or including it in your online lesson. Students viewing the presentation can then enter their phone numbers into the site, VoiceThread will call them and record up to a 3 minute comment, and the comment will appear in the conversation almost immediately.
I also really like the doodle feature. This allows users to draw/write directly on the screen while leaving their comments. Doodles can be added on top of videos as they play, or you can scroll back and forth and add doodles to a paused video, image, or document. And you don’t have to erase what you doodled! After a few moments the doodles begin to fade and soon disappear.
There is a lot to explore in VoiceThread, but without further ado let’s talk pricing. The Free Account option will be perfect for most students. It allows unlimited participation. Students will not be charged for viewing and commenting on VoiceThreads. If you would like your students to be able to create their own VoiceThreads, for a presentation or to lead a discussion, they’ll need to purchase a Basic Account for $2.
Instructors have three options: Basic $2, Pro $59.95, or Manager $99. If you would like to get started with a Basic Account, you can easily upgrade if needed.
The $99 Manager Account includes 1 Pro Account and 50 Basic Accounts. There are other fee structures for creating a customized site for your institution and for fully integrating your authentication system into the VoiceThread infrastructure.
VoiceThread has something for everyone, from small projects to major undertakings. Take the first step and try it out!