VoiceThread: Best Tips and Tricks For Teaching

(Image credit: VoiceThread)

The best VoiceThread tips and tricks for teaching take the already impressively feature rich presentation platform and make it even better for teachers and students.

While VoiceThread does a great job of incorporating rich media both for presenting and for feedback, there are great ways in which other teachers are already using this platform to help engagement in the classroom and for remote learning.

VoiceThread lets teachers create presentations with audio and video notes that students can respond to also using audio, video, doodling, and more. The key is to use these interactions intelligently to maximize the learning.

So read on to make sure you and your students get the most out of this with the best VoiceThread tips and tricks for teaching.

Require voice or video with VoiceThread

VoiceThread allows you to comment on slides using voice, video, or text. You will likely find that most students will opt for written responses as they're the best for remaining as hidden as possible. However, it is possible to require video or voice.

By making voice or video a requirement, it helps to better engage students so they feel a part of the subject. It also allows teachers to see the way the students feel about certain areas – ideal if you spot something that excites a lot of the class, which you can then expand on.


(Image credit: VoiceThread)

Start using VoiceThread with an icebreaker

While VoiceThread might seem like an easy-to-use and unthreatening platform to you as a teacher, a student may find it intimidating at first. The requirement to give their opinion on video or in voice format, which is recorded potentially for the class to see, could be daunting.

Lessen the fear by starting off with a low-risk icebreaker. For example, suggest something that is easy to give an opinion on and that won't have them worried about the responses of others. Perhaps a mutual topic of interest in the school, from the news or even from the local community, could be a good way to start introducing VoiceThread.

Use VoiceThread groups for classes

VoiceThread lets you create groups that act as virtual classrooms. These are really valuable as once each is setup, students can easily join with access to only the VoiceThreads that you've shared in that group. This is secure but also makes for a great way to organize your various classes and even sub-groups within those classes.

Create a Group in settings, which is for paying users only, then paste the "innovation link" inside your virtual class, be it on Google Classroom or wherever, so when your students click they immediately register for VoiceThread and join the group all at once.


(Image credit: VoiceThread)

Use VoiceThread Universal if needed

VoiceThread is a very capable and widely accessible platform but it is primarily not built for everyone. Those who are less able to see may want to use full screen readers to navigate the web and VoiceThread won't support that.

VoiceThread Universal is built for this issue as it is able to work with HTML so that students and teachers who need it can use the full screen version.

Take VoiceThread mobile

VoiceThread uses a super simple interface with a clear "plus" icon selection to comment and create. Thanks to this, it lends itself well to mobile use. Encourage your students to download the VoiceThread app so they can use it on their smartphones anywhere.

The VoiceThread app frees students to work on their own devices and comment as and when they need. Since it involves video and voice recording, many students may be more comfortable and capable using the device they're used to.


(Image credit: VoiceThread)

Use VoiceThread for discussion

VoiceThread is useful for commenting directly, and as a discussion tool in the class, it can be used as a jump-off point. Collate students' responses to a question and then have that sectionalized for the lesson. If it were math, for example, you could have right, wrong, and those with more depth; for language, it could be those that have similar opinions and those opposing. However you organize the responses, it can act as a great discussion point in the classroom.

You could even use a dedicated debate platform such as Parlay to make the discussion more structured and digitized.

Use VoiceThread transcripts

If you find yourself using voice notes a lot for comments, this may be fine for some students but not for all. To make sure these are accessible to all it's a good idea to turn on transcription, which will automatically offer the text too.

This will take your voice recording and automatically offer the text along with that so all students have access. It is also ideal for those students who prefer to read along privately, perhaps when in a nonprivate space and without headphones. 

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.