How to Integrate Web Tools into Student-Led Projects

This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThread user, Craig Kemp. My name is Craig Kemp, a kiwi boy living in Singapore. I am Head of ICT & Learning Innovation at an International School here in Singapore. I am proud to classify myself as a globally connected educator. I love twitter and blogging. My guest blog today is based around some practical experience I have had in the classroom utilising VoiceThread as a tool to support student led projects, in particular PBL (problem based learning). … Continued

LTI - Learning Tools Interoperability now available

We have some very good news to report today, well at least if simplicity is important to you, or lowering the workload for your ITS staff, or lowering your operating costs, or future proofing your long term IT planning? VoiceThread is now officially LTI conformant. Available to every institutional VoiceThread partner, LTI represents not only the future of standards-based interoperability, but also the core values of VoiceThread itself: increasing accessibility, simplifying the user experience, and making technology disappear into the background. … Continued

VoiceThread as a discussion board

VoiceThread makes a powerful replacement for traditional, text-based discussion boards. While flat text scrolls and pushes the topic of conversation off the screen, VoiceThread allows for richer, more dynamic conversations that take place around the topic rather than below it. Creating the VoiceThread Go to the Create page and upload a piece of media to “anchor” the discussion. This can be an image that relates to the conversation, a thought-provoking quote, a document, or just about any piece of media that ties to the topic. … Continued

Using Groups to facilitate easy sharing

Groups make sharing and organizing VoiceThreads quick and easy. Knowing how to create and manage Groups is key for any course. Creating Groups manually Any Pro Educator or Pro account holder can create a Group and invite other people to join. Instructors may create as many Groups as they’d like. Click here to download a printable Group Creation Guide. Groups can be created for any purpose, whether it’s to share VoiceThreads with a whole course section, to break students into smaller Groups, or to share VoiceThreads for a specific project. … Continued

Video commenting

Commenting on a video in VoiceThread is a powerful way to communicate. While leaving a voice or webcam comment on a video, a commenter can play the video as he/she speaks, use the timeline to scrub to a different location in the video, and pause it at any location, all while using the Doodler to annotate on the video. See the sample below, and create a video comment of your own! … Continued

Comment Moderation

A VoiceThread can be one of two very different types of conversation space. The first is an open discussion where all comments are visible to anyone who can see the VoiceThread. The other is one where comments are kept hidden and are only visible to the person who created the VoiceThread. Comment Moderation is what makes this second type of discussion space possible. Enable Comment Moderation in the Publishing Options for a VoiceThread by following these steps: … Continued

Announcing VoiceThread Mobile

The VT team is proud to announce VoiceThread Mobile! The App is now available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Developing a mobile app was something our users have been asking about for quite a while, and after nearly a year of development, we are happy to deliver on that promise. Did we mention it’s free to download? VoiceThread Mobile is integrated seamlessly with the flash-based web application you’ve come to know and love, and the versatility and simplicity you expect is now mobile and touch-driven. … Continued

VoiceThread Impacts Teaching and Learning

We’re very excited to join Deb Frazier, an elementary-school educator, as she shares her experience and best practices in her first of a series of posts around VoiceThread. She says, “…VoiceThread has been an amazing tool in our classroom; extending classroom walls, time and learning!” Her first entry addresses online identities: Step One ~ Create Student Avatars To teach the importance of computer safety we do not link picture with name. … Continued

VoiceThread Changes The Way Educators Teach

One teacher’s VoiceThead Ah-Ha moment: Brad Wilson, @Dreambition, describes why VoiceThread is valuable in education today. Despite the ever-changing web and world, a growing PLN, new ways to connect and share ideas available every single day… one thing has remained constant: VoiceThread is the highest quality, most dynamic and empowering web tool available to teachers and students for learning projects. (In My Opinion) And I have tried everything. I decided that all the students in my district (and everywhere) deserve a chance to be this engaged. … Continued

VoiceThread Mobile for Apple® iDevices

VoiceThread bridges the gap between real-time discussions and static multi-media slideshows, making it the platform for on-demand teaching, learning, training, and collaborating. We are working with the lofty goal of true accessibility so that any “door” used to access VoiceThread is equally effective for your means of participation. “We want to serve the needs of a person with dyslexia or ADHD, an outdoor classroom with mobile devices, a user in the developing world without high-speed internet, a kindergartner, or an elderly lifelong learner. … Continued

Congratulations to the winning VoiceThread teams from Hawaii's Department of Education!

The Hawaii Department of Education Statewide VoiceThread initiative recently ran an engagement contest/campaign soliciting VoiceThreads from their participating schools. VoiceThreads were submitted by teams of three from two divisions: Elementary and Secondary-Ed. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges from HIDOE, and then friends and family members were invited to vote. See all of the finalists at: http://hawaiivln.k12.hi.us/vt/winners.html Elementary Winner: Bully Free Zone from Hale Kula Elementary Secondary Winner: Child Abuse from Kapaa High School … Continued

“VoiceThread Commenting” Assignment for Moodle 2.0

The Moodle “VoiceThread Commenting” Assignment is a new assignment type within Moodle 2.0 that allows instructors to host a discussion with students on a particular VoiceThread, all within the Moodle interface. Instructors can assign students to make and submit a comment (or multiple comments) for the instructor to grade using the standard Moodle gradebook interface. For more information, please visit LMS Integration. … Continued

VoiceThread Universal and Section 508 Accessibility

VoiceThread Universal is an accessibility project that our team has been working on and we’re very excited to release the public beta. VoiceThread has been an accessibility aid for many users and many communities of users, but it has always had a major weakness; it did not work with screen-readers, so vision-impaired users had a hard time participating in these conversations. We’re now introducing a version of the VoiceThread application that is specifically designed to not only work well with screen-readers but, much more importantly, work well for the people who use screen-readers. … Continued

VoiceThread Repository for Moodle 2.0

We have finished our new Moodle module for repository support. The Moodle Repository module allows easy access to VoiceThreads to post on your Moodle site. A listing of created VoiceThreads will appear in the Moodle file picker, and a link will be created for your selected VoiceThread. This module is useful for obtaining links to your VoiceThreads, and it is planned to be integrated into current and future Moodle modules from VoiceThread. … Continued

M/5 Commenting: Simple Powerful Presence

A new version of VoiceThread now allows people to browse entire collections of media while making a single unbroken comment. These new M/5 Comments feel a bit like screencast only they’re much smaller in file size, and more importantly, they are delivered to your audience in a richly interactive space. This powerful new feature requires neither instruction or training. You are simply free to navigate from image video to document to presentation slide or any of 50 different media types without breaking your narrative comment. … Continued

Updated Modules for Moodle 2.0

We have updated our Moodle Embed, Assignment, and Authentication modules for compatibility with Moodle 2.0. The Moodle Embed and Authentication modules are also compatible with 1.9; however, the Assignment module should be chosen that corresponds to the version of Moodle you are running (1.9 or 2.0). To learn more, please visit our LMS Integration support page. … Continued

Authentication Integration Choices

A common question for new VoiceThread schools, districts, colleges and universities is “How should we do authentication integration”? There are often many options, with their own pluses and minuses. Let’s start with the easy decision: If you have Shibboleth in production, particularly if you already are federated with inCommon, you should do Shibboleth SSO. It’s a tool built for the purpose, and it offers a very secure platform with a great deal of flexibility. … Continued

Penn State University & VoiceThread

Penn State University (PSU) has integrated a customized version of VoiceThread’s communication platform in an effort to provide a seamless collaborative environment for its staff and students. PSU user accounts are automatically authenticated into the platform, providing instant access to VoiceThread. The integration was developed in close partnership with PSU’s Educational Technology Services group, whose white paper and support portal provide remarkably clear and helpful guidance for new student and faculty users. … Continued

Upload improvements - complex PDFs

We have made recently made some improvements to our upload process, to accommodate PDF uploads with more than 65,536 individual shapes in a single PDF. This is primarily caused by how PowerPoint renders high complexity backgrounds (i.e. complex patterns instead of a simple color or a bitmap / picture). We still recommend simple backgrounds for the best user experience, especially since extremely complex PDFs can still take 20-30 seconds per page to process. … Continued

VoiceThread Status

We have a new twitter feed, twitter.com/voicethreadIT. This is solely for system status information, and we will use this to announce any maintenance or issues that result in user-visible slowdowns or downtime. As always, we have highly redundant infrastructure and strive for zero downtime, but there are occasionally changes needed for long-term stability, performance and growth that result in brief outages or slowdowns. … Continued

Moodle Integration Resources

All of the documentation for our Moodle LMS integration modules is now online. Please go to the LMS Integration About page for more information. Take a look at the embedding, assignment and authentication modules, and see what they can do for your organization! Please note that we only support Moodle 1.9.x at this time; we do plan to port to Moodle 2.0 once it has been released. … Continued

Edutopia Back-to-School Guide, Digital Library additions

VoiceThread is proud to be featured in Edutopia’s “Back-to-School Guide: Jump Start Learning With New Media” for the 2010-2011 school year (download it here). This is a fantastic guide to learn how to incorporate new media tools into your teaching. Some wonderful articles have recently been added to the VoiceThread Digital Library that highlight VoiceThread’s effectiveness in various teaching and learning settings. The library is a great resource for educators using VoiceThread. … Continued

InCommon

VoiceThread is now a member of the InCommon Federation. This greatly simplifies Shibboleth authentication integration with colleges and universities already members of InCommon, which includes the majority of Research-I Universities in the United States. This should allow for faster deployments for Shibboleth authentication, with much less work on the University / Identity Provider’s end. Thanks to Penn State University for sponsoring our InCommon application. … Continued

Moodle “Create a Thread” Assignment Module Beta

We are pleased to announce that we are now in open beta with our first Moodle assignment module. This module provides a clean, easy to use student and teacher interfaces for submitting, viewing and grading a VoiceThread. The module is compatible with Moodle 1.9.x and requires either our Embedding or Authentication Moodle modules for configuration support. For the duration of the beta, we only support one Moodle instance with one VoiceThread Manager account. … Continued

Authentication Integration

For larger accounts (districts, universities, etc), VoiceThread can integrate with your own authentication or Single Sign On (SSO) system, including using Moodle as a Single Sign On provider. We support Microsoft’s Active Directory, most LDAP implementations, and several standard SSO products, as well as Moodle 1.9.x with our VoiceThread SSO block. Whether or not VoiceThread uses your authentication, all user content is still stored on our servers, and all user interaction (other than login, if using SSO) is still with our servers. … Continued

VoiceThread Accelerator

The VoiceThread Accelerator is a high performance content distribution and caching appliance that can provide a tremendous improvement in VoiceThread performance for certain network configurations. In particular, if you have excellent connectivity within your organization, but limited downstream bandwidth from the Internet at large, the Accelerator might be a good fit for your organization. Pricing depends on the number of bundled accounts; please contact us for more information. … Continued

Moodle Integration

As many of you are aware, we have a Moodle embedding module. We’re now looking to kick our Moodle integration up a notch, and need your feedback! What are the top three things you would like VoiceThread and Moodle to be able to do together? We’re already looking at ideas from assignment modules to single sign-on, and need your feedback! Please send us your thoughts. … Continued

Document Conversion Upgrade

We have upgraded some of the software involved in Office type document conversion. You should see smoother imports of Office 2007 format files in particular. Note that this only affects freshly uploaded files; if your PowerPoint slides weren’t perfectly pointy, you will need to re-upload them. As always, we recommend you keep Office documents simple for the best VoiceThread experience. … Continued

New Comment Email Notifications

You spoke, and we listened. One of our most requested features was the desire to be notified when comments are left on one of your VoiceThreads, without having to actually check VoiceThread (we all already have enough things to check). One thing people do check regularly is email. So, we decided to create an email notification system that sends a “Daily Digest” version of all of the comments on your VoiceThreads, from the last day. … Continued

Flickr Creative Commons, Comment Reordering

As part of the new Media Browser, we’ve rebuilt our Flickr import feature to make it much faster and most importantly to enable the search and import of images with a Creative Commons License. As with the images from the New York Public Library, we will automatically insert a link back to the original web address of the image. We hope this makes gathering content faster and easier. Our most requested feature of the last year is now live and ready for beta-testing. … Continued

New York Public Library and Learning Modules

We’re very happy to announce that over 700,000 historical images from The New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery are now freely and instantly available whenever you’re creating a VoiceThread. Our new Media Browser (located in the Upload menu when creating or editing a VoiceThread) allows you to search or browse these primary source materials – maps, photos, drawings, paintings, posters and more, and then import them directly into any VoiceThread. … Continued

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

VoiceThread has been recognized by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) as one of The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, a list of ‘tools and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning.’ We’re very honored to be recognized by this organization and community, and fully support the vision they’ve set forth in the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. If you’re looking for the language to describe the proper role of technology in education, you can find it within this great document. … Continued

The Power of the Human Voice

At the recent Sloan-C Symposium for Emerging Technologies a presentation given by Michelle Pacansky-Brock explored what it takes to engage modern learners online. Using specific examples she compares first generation collaborative environments like BlackBoard’s textual based discussion boards to current multi-modal collaborative platforms like VoiceThread. The examples in the video are extremely instructive as they point out the specific qualities needed to construct and maintain a productive community oriented learning environment (a great online classroom). … Continued

The Horizon Report

The recently published Horizon Report 2009 K12 Edition published by the New Media Consortium refers to VoiceThread as one of the emerging technologies “likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within education”, with a ‘time-to-adoption’ horizon of one year or less. The report includes a well-written overview and analysis of collaborative environments that highlights many of our current goals for VoiceThread in education. Here’s a short excerpt: … Continued

VoiceThread Digital Library

Today, we’re pleased to announce the opening of the VoiceThread Digital Library. The Digital Library is a database of articles about successful VoiceThread projects. Our hope is to create a resource that offers guidance and inspiration for people looking to undertake new projects using VoiceThread. Within each article is a detailed exploration of how these projects were created and what lessons were learned, because success can be replicated if it’s documented. … Continued

VoiceThread Effects On Learning

Michelle Pacansky-Brock, an Art History Professor at Sierra College, recently completed a thorough assessment of the effects of VoiceThread on the learning experiences of her online students. She will be showcasing these results in presentations at several upcoming venues including MoblEd in Pasadena on April 23 and 24, the Online Teaching Conference in Aptos on June 11 and 12, the Sloan-C Symposium on Emerging Technologies in San Francisco on June 17-19. … Continued

Easy Moodle Embedding

We have a new feature: easy Moodle embedding. This is not actually a VoiceThread plugin, it’s a Moodle filter plugin. We are releasing the code to this plugin under the same license as Moodle, which means it is open source. Once the plugin is installed and configured, all you have to do is say [[vt:409]] (for full size) or [[vtsmall:409]] (for small) to embed thread 409 into a Moodle page, resource, etc. … Continued

Copying VoiceThreads, iPod exports

We’ve added a couple exciting new features to VoiceThread. Copying/Cloning your VoiceThreads We’ve had a lot of requests for the ability to copy an existing VoiceThread so that it can be reused with a different group of people or to just create a backup copy. Beginning today you have that ability right on your MyVoice page (in the gear menu), just click ‘Make a Copy’ – and a menu opens for you to title, describe, and choose the comments you’d like to include in the new version. … Continued

More languages for text comments

We are pleased to announce that we’ve added support for more languages when text commenting, one of our most requested features. Text commenting now supports the Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrewscripts. We’ll be also adding support for Asian languages soon. Please keep the great feedback coming in and enjoy! Update – October 8th 2008: It appears that text commenting in Asian languages is also now working, just as long as you have the fonts installed on your computer. … Continued

Integration: VoiceThread at UNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has integrated a customized version of VoiceThread’s communication platform in an effort to provide a seamless collaborative environment for it’s staff and students. UNC user accounts are automatically authenticated into the platform, providing instant access to VoiceThread. The interface of the collaborative environment also has been built to reflect UNC’s colors and design. Developed for UNC’s ITS Teaching and Learning group, these custom services are now available to any university or organization. … Continued

NECC 2008, techLEARNING testimonial

VoiceThread’s first NECC conference was a big success and we’d like to thank all the people who helped make that happen. Our VoiceThreaders seemed to be everywhere, giving some amazing presentations, some formally scheduled and others seemingly from the tops of soapboxes. As we stood in our booth we were presented with a steady stream of educators who would start by saying “I just saw this fantastic presentation by [Wes Fryer, Kevin Jarrett, Jodi Meacher, or ‘those MathCast people’ and many, many more] and now I have a few questions for you. … Continued

VoiceThread partners with LPGA

VoiceThread has recently partnered with the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association (LPGA) on their just launched LPGA Fanbook feature. LPGA Fanbook allows fans to ask players questions and have the players respond directly to them, all using VoiceThread technology. From LPGA.com: “LPGA.com has launched its newest feature LPGA FanBook which allows you to ask your favorite players questions through audio or video. Players will then respond to your questions via video or audio. … Continued

VoiceThread = Webware 100 winner!

We are very happy to announce that VoiceThread has received a 2008 Webware 100 award from Webware, a CNET site. We’d like to thank our users for their support and votes! The 2008 Webware 100 awards recognize the best Web 2.0. sites, services and applications. The Web 2.0 user community cast nearly two million votes in an online voting poll that ultimately selected the winners. Finalists for the 2008 Webware 100 Awards were selected by the editors of Webware. … Continued

Export Archival VoiceThreads

We are very, very happy to announce the availability of Archival VoiceThreads. Downloadable as a widescreen movie, this version of a VoiceThread will play offline, stored on your computer, iPod or other portable device and can be burned onto a DVD or CD. These Archival movies are an exact replica of the content and commentary of any VoiceThread, which include the text commentary, audio commentary, webcam commentary, and also, the animated drawings we call Doodles. … Continued

CNET's Webware 100

Hey folks, VoiceThread has been named a Finalist in the 2008 “Webware 100” Awards which “recognize the best Web 2.0 sites, services, and applications that are leading the next wave of innovation.” We humbly concur with the wise choice by the Editors at CNET, but the public actually has the final word. So please help us out by heading on over to the Webware 100 site to vote for us, we’d really appreciate it. … Continued

Ed.VoiceThread

We’re launching a new web-based collaborative network that is simple, powerful and safe, called Ed.VoiceThread. This community is specifically designed for K-12 educators and students. Here is an overview of how it works:   … Continued

Phone Commenting Remote Control

Here’s a quick VoiceThread showing off how you can use your phone to leave comments and navigate pages in your VoiceThreads – like a remote control – from your phone. … Continued

Phone commenting, Thread & URL import

We’ve added 3 exciting new features to VoiceThread today. Phone commenting VoiceThread now allows you to record voice comments from any domestic U.S. phone number. Simply type in your phone number and VoiceThread will call you to comment. You can even comment on more than one page, using the phone to navigate VoiceThreads like a remote control. All accounts include 3 minutes free, and then it’s just \$10 for each additional hour of phone commenting. … Continued

Video Doodling, webcam

We’d like to introduce you to a couple new features on VoiceThread. Video Doodling VoiceThread’s Video Doodling feature allows you to control the playback of a video as you comment using a microphone or webcam; giving you the power to voice comment over specific portions of video. It allows you to move to a specific segment, doodle while you’re there, then move to highlight another segment, all while leaving your comment. … Continued

Today's Release

The latest version of VoiceThread is ready for primetime. The feedback we’ve received from our users has been outstanding. Thank you for working so closely with us, your help has been invaluable. The introduction of the new VoiceThread addresses some long-standing bugs and limitations of our old site. We think we’ve built a solid foundation that’s faster, more robust, and more accessible. And for all you enthusiasts out there, we are pleased to offer VoiceThread Pro accounts with new and enhanced features. … Continued

A Fresh Look

Welcome to our latest version of VoiceThread. Over the last few months we’ve been hard at work updating and upgrading VoiceThread. As you poke around, if something strikes you as particularly interesting, something doesn’t work as expected, or something just doesn’t work at all, please don’t hesitate to let us know via email from the ‘Contact Us’ link in the above navigation bar or from the ‘Feedback’ link within the application’s ‘Help’ menu. … Continued