What is VoiceThread for Education?

(Image credit: VoiceThread)

VoiceThread is a presentation tool that allows for storytelling with lots of mixed media sources, and for interaction between teacher and students.

It is a slides-based platform that allows you to upload images, videos, voice, text, and drawings. That project can then be shared with others who are able to effectively annotate it with rich media as well, including being able to add text, voice notes, images, links, video, and more.

So this is great for presenting to the class, in the room or remotely. But it's also a useful way to get students working collaboratively on projects that can be presented in a different way. Crucially, this can all be used in the future too.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about VoiceThread for education.

What is VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is a tool for presenting via a number of platforms, including the web, iOS, Android, and Chrome. This lets teachers and students create slides-based presentations that can feature lots of rich media and be interacted with using a wide selection too.

For example, this could mean a slideshow with images and videos about a subject or project, set by the teachers. When sent out, using a simple link, this can then be made available for students to feedback and build on. It can provide a great way to learn and develop a point of knowledge, all done in class or remotely at the students' pace.


(Image credit: VoiceThread)

VoiceThread, as the name suggests, lets you voice record notes on slides so that it can be used as a way to offer students feedback on their projects or as a personal way to guide them through your presentation.

This is a useful teaching tool as when a project is complete, there are options to set privacy, sharing, comment moderation, embedding, and plenty more so it can be perfected for the school environment.

How does VoiceThread work?

VoiceThread offers a useful control platform for teachers. Using the administrative account, it is possible to adjust the security settings so that student work can remain private. That said, it is still difficult to restrict student access to the wider Ed.VoiceThread and VoiceThread communities.


(Image credit: VoiceThread)

VoiceThread is easy to use. Go to the top of the page and select Create. You can then select the plus Add Media option and pick from your device, or simply drag and drop files from your machine onto this page to upload into the project. You can then edit or delete via the thumbnail icons at the bottom, or drag and drop to re-order them.

Then you can select the Comment option to begin adding your touches to each slide. This ranges from text to voice to video and more from online. This is done using a clear and simple icon interface at the bottom of the screen. 

For talking, for example, select the microphone icon and start talking – you can then click and highlight and draw on the screen to show what you're talking about. Use the bottom right arrow to go between slides, during your comment. When done, hit the red stop record icon then save once you're happy.

Next you can select Share to allow you to share with lots of options to suit all different platforms. 

What are the best VoiceThread features?

VoiceThread is simple to use, despite giving a huge range of ways to communicate. Live linking is a helpful feature that allows you to place an active link in the comment on a slide so students can check into more depth using that option before coming back to the slide.

Hiding the comments using moderation is also a great feature. Since it allows only the VoiceThread creator to see comments, it forces students to be original in what they're saying. It also discourages reactive comments. 


(Image credit: VoiceThread)

Tags are a great part of VoiceThread as it allows you to carry out a search based on keywords. You can then organize your VoiceThreads for quick access. For example, you could tag by subject, student, or term, and then quickly get to those specific presentations using the MyVoice tab. 

To tag, look for the tag field in the Describe Your VoiceThread dialog box under the title and description fields. A good tip is to keep tags to a minimum so you don't end up searching through tags to then search through the content itself.

How much does VoiceThread cost?

VoiceThread allows students to participate in a conversation for free by simply creating an account. But to create projects you are required to have a paid subscription account.

A single educator license for K12 is charged at $79 per year or $15 per month. This includes an Ed.VoiceThread membership, 50 student accounts, a virtual class organization to hold the accounts, a manager to create and manage student accounts, and 100 export credits per year.

Go for a school or district wide license and that is charged at a tailored rate for which you need to contact the company.

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.