Monday, March 10, 2008

Voicethread - One of My Favorites Gets an Upgrade

I am a huge fan of Voicethreads. I have had the opportunity to create several with my students from scratch. I have also had my students participate in Voicethreads created by other students or other teachers.

I like to hear what my students are thinking in math and computer class. This is one opportunity that Voicethread has given me. My students can record their thoughts and then listen to the responses of others in the class, evaluate the information, and add more thoughts.

I have uploaded photographic images and JPGs created from KidPix pictures.

Students have the opportunity to respond in whatever form they feel comfortable with. For some students this means recording their voice, for others it means typing a comment, still other students choose to write on the image with a pencil (in the talk mode).

Today, I was really excited to receive an email that stated the opportunity to download Voicethreads would soon be available. They also mentioned that Pro users could start right away.

I signed up for an Ed account a while back. It cost me $10. I decided it was worth it if I would have an easier time showing off our work in other schools. I had trouble accessing Voicethreads when I spoke to teachers in an alternate route program back in early February. As a result of that class, at least one teacher contacted me to show me his Voicethread that was created for a group of first year Spanish as a second language seventh graders. He made a very complex scene, gave the students one minute to look at the scene and begin speaking - no notes allowed. It gave him the opportunity to assess his students abilities quickly and easily.

Many educators have really taken to this tool. I keep a list of links in delicious that I update. Another educator has created a wiki to keep track of the many uses in

I was curious if there would be a cost associated with downloading the files. They are VERY generous in giving teachers a free Pro account. I was hoping that they would provide downloads for free.


According to an blog post that Miguel Guhlin wrote today, the cost will be $2.99 per download for free accounts with bulk and educator discounts on the way.

From my years working in business, I know that Voicethread has already spent their time and money in the development of this exciting new option. I am hopeful that they may choose to give educators a limited number of free downloads per year. The downloads could become very lucrative income if students are able to bring these videos home. We could end up bringing their company money in the long run.

I know I am not going to spend my personal money on downloading Voicethreads and I'm sure my principal would not take on this cost. I would love one download per month for free for distribution and backup purposes. A lot of work goes into these presentations.

I hope the owners of Voicethread take this into consideration going forward. I appreciate the need to recoup the development dollars, but feel that we will help them in the long run if we provide free advertising by sending home Voicethread videos with our students.

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