February 3, 2019
I decided to review Voice Thread for this week’s blog prompt.
My first decision to pick this particular tool was to use it as a tool for my final project. At first, from the title’s description, I was expecting it to be a video creator that I could learn to edit for videos that I would be making. Upon reviewing the first demo, I thought that I would not be able to use this tool because it appeared to me to be useful for videos that already existed. Then, upon further investigation, I realized that I could upload my own videos and make comments on them in addition to ones that already exist. I will examine some strengths and weaknesses that I found with this tool before finalizing my decision upon its usefulness in my own project for this course.
When I first looked at this editing tool, I could see how it would benefit an adult online learning or blended classroom with the opportunities for the learner to view the content at one’s own pace and to add commentary when applicable. I feel that if I was teaching an adult course, I could use this tool for formative and summative assessments that would allow for a deeper understanding of what the student understands about the course material.
This tool would also be useful for teaching a course, like the one I have planned, which is less formal and more of a group learning course. I like how comments can be made to videos, and how the course instructor can choose to show which comments get displayed to the public (or class) and in what order. It can also be used as an assessment, both formative and summative, because the instructor can keep comments hidden from others (for example, if the comments were the assessment) and do not need to share them with the other members.
Some of the students I teach are not strong in writing and would benefit from this program because they would be able to tell me what they are learning and use the videos to aide them. I think that it would also add to the students’ confidence levels because they would not need to worry about their writing abilities, but could focus on showing what they know about the material being covered. Also, as discussed in Chapter 7 of Tony Bate’s “Teaching in a Digital Age”this tool would allow for more abstract ideas being able to be shared, especially by these students, who are not strong writers. The opportunity is provided to them to be able to explain things verbally instead of pictorially or in writing.
A negative to using this tool would be if your students are EAL and are expected to comment on certain videos for grades or class presentations, and they have more difficulties in speaking clearly for others to understand. I viewed a nutrition example in the Health section for the K-12 and found a woman commenting on a nutrition video. I found it very difficult to understand what she was saying. This could also be an issue with the audio/video of either my own or her personal device, but have found that this may be an issue when using it for online and blended learning courses. This made me think about my own students, none of whom are EAL, but do have issues with speech. One student in particular, has a speech impediment, that makes it difficult to comprehend some of the things that she is saying. In this case, this tool would not be beneficial for my use in order to accurately assess her content knowledge Although, comments can be made in written form too, if chosen.
There would be a difficulty for students who do not have access to microphones or ones with poor quality microphones. If students do no have access to technology devices at home than there would need to be opportunities for the students to complete the recordings at school in a setting in which they could be heard clearly.
Overall, I think this tool would be good to use as one option of content delivery, classroom discussion, and even as an assessment tool. I believe that this tool would be useful for all students with a variety of needs. I believe that it could highly benefit students who are not strong in presenting their ideas in written form. It would take a lot of modelling and practice with this tool before students would be able to manage it on their own, in my case with grades five and six, but I think that it would become a useful tool for an educator.