I’ve been debating on whether or not to use VoiceThread (VT) as an alternative to text-based, threaded discussions in an online course I’m teaching this Fall. The course is titled EDU 263 – Teaching, Learning & Technology. The last time I taught the class, we experimented with VoiceThread, but only during one week of a ten week class.
Instructor presence and community building are keys to the success for learners in online courses. VoiceThread will be used to not only support these principles, but also supports the following standard competencies for the course:
III. Utilize technology to manage and communicate information.
VI. Utilize instructional technology to support a wide variety of learners and learning styles.
VII. Explore various instructional tools and technology, including computers, video, graphics, multimedia, audio, and other media, and their contributions to the learning process.
VIII. Investigate and design a lesson using instructional technology coupled with a variety of instructional strategies, including: cooperative learning, discovery, problem solving, games, simulations, discussion, demonstration and presentation.
IX. Select the most appropriate instructional methods, materials, and media for a particular lesson or presentation.
The deciding factor for me as I was spending my Friday evening evaluating and testing VoiceThread, was receiving timely technical support from VoiceThread. I sent support a message to VoiceThread support tonight at 6:50 pm and received an email response from Sadie at VT at 7:14 pm which resolved my problem. What is really impressive is that I’m using a FREE version of VT! I’ve been experimenting with VoiceThread since 2009 and look forward to using it in my course.
Quality technical support is crucial when teaching with technology and I hope the level of support I received from VT tonight continues for me, as well as my students. I’ll let you know how it goes…