Categories: Communication, Collaboration
Availability: Desktop, Browser, iOS, Android
Uses: Discussion, Student Engagement, Collaboration, Active Learning, Facilitating Timely Feedback

What is it?
VoiceThread is an application that allows you to create presentations or collections of media, and encourage feedback and engagement through asynchronous communication. Viewers can comment on or respond to your presentation using text, audio, video or by uploading a file. Presentations can be created using a combination of media that are packaged into one presentation online or through the VoiceThread mobile app (although this has been riddled with bad reviews for poor functionality).

How can I use it?
VoiceThread is an ideal tool for communication and collaboration and offers opportunities for students to develop their critical thinking skills. Students can create and present their own thread or critically evaluate and comment on a group thread as part of a class discussion making it a useful tool for individuals and groups.

To get started:

  • Go to https://voicethread.com/ and click ‘Register’ to create a new account
  • At the top of the page, click ‘Create’ to start creating your thread. Your thread can be a combination of media files that will be presented in sequence.
  • Add some media (e.g. image from your computer, YouTube video, etc) and give your thread a title and description
    • Here you can also set some options for your thread and how you would like people to interact with your content. Settings include allowing commenters to add slides to your thread, comment using audio, video, text, file upload and export or copy your thread.
    • You also have the option of adding a cover image to your thread
  • When you have uploaded your media you will be directed to add comments to it if you like, this can be added as text, audio, video or file
  • When you are happy with your thread you can click the arrow icon to share your thread via a link, embed it into a site or post it to Facebook or Twitter for others to view and add comments.
One example of how you could quickly get VoiceThread working in your classroom is to create a simple thread of slides and ask students to critically reflect on various topics or questions throughout. For instance, each slide could have a topic with a specific question and students can add a short reflection in answer to the question on each slide. 

Why should I use it?
VoiceThread can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom to the benefit of both the lecturer and student. VoiceThread can be used to encourage communication and collaboration, and to facilitate active learning and problem-based learning. It can be particularly useful for a flipped classroom approach or for students studying at a distance, whereby they can provide comments and feedback remotely to topics that are introduced by the lecturer before the class. This can help lecturers to gauge understanding and gather opinions quite easily.

For students that always study at a distance, VoiceThread can be a useful way for students to introduce themselves to their classmates, by creating a thread from a collection of media and using the comment tool to add a video or audio introduction. 

VoiceThread can offer an opportunity to provide timely feedback by allowing the lecturer or other students to comment directly on a student’s presentation or reply to other comments, sparking a lively discussion. 

VoiceThread can be used to encourage students to reflect on topics, offer opinions and be creative in their presentation of content through a variety of media. VoiceThread also features a Doodle Tool to help users make their comments more effective and engaging.  

Top Tip
When creating your thread for your class, take a close look at the settings available for the specific thread under ‘Playback Options’ to see how you would like your students to engage with the material. Some material will encourage more discussion and so threaded comments might be more suitable, while other topics might require comment moderation to be turned on. 

Where can I find it?
Unless otherwise stated, all reviews and recommendations are solely those of the Department of Technology Enhanced Learning team and do not reflect the views or opinions of any organisation, including Cork Institute of Technology. The Department is not responsible for any inappropriate, offensive or illegal content viewed or accessed through the tools and products reviewed.