Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Voicethread About Voicethread

If you're not familiar with Voicethread, you should give it a look soon. In the last year Voicethread has become a very popular web-based application among educators. Voicethread allows users to post images and comment on the image, kind of like a movie made of slide shows. That part is nothing fancy. What makes Voicethread really neat is the capability for other users to join in a conversation about the images through voice, text, or video messaging.

Below is a Voicethread about Voicethread created by Dianne Krause, check out her blog here.

Applications for Educators
Voicethread has been used by math teachers to create "how to" videos about math problems. Voicethread could be used with students to have a conversation about a wide variety of topics. My students are studying Africa right now and one group of students is planning to make a voicethread as their culminating project. Voicethread's basic accounts are free and "upgraded" accounts are free to educators that submit some very basic proof of being a teacher. (I submitted my district email extension as proof).

Here is an example of a math teacher using Voicethread.

Free Technology For Teachers: Wicked Decent Learning podcasts

Wicked Decent Learning just released their tenth podcast! Wicked Decent Learning podcasts are about an hour long and cover many topics related to technology integration and education in general. Those of you outside of New England, USA may not be aware that the term "wicked" means something is very good to New Englanders. The podcasts are produced by two Maine teachers, Jeff and Dan, and the podcasts are indeed "wicked decent." I've enjoyed the podcasts for a couple of months now and have described them to my colleagues as Tim Sample discussing real education issues.

Here is how Jeff and Dan describe their podcast and accompanying blog.
"Like the fair loon that swims with the best of them but has serious issues and looks awfully goofy when trying to get airborn, a new education podcast has taken flight in the podcast-o-sphere and the blog-o-sphere: Wicked Decent Learning. Created by two practicing educators, Wicked Decent Learning examines issues in education of importance to Maine and the world beyond. Each episode features a discussion as well as a number of integration suggestions related to technology, literacy and media. And, ayuh, we throw our fair share of western Maine shenanigans into the mix, too."

Wicked Decent Learning is available through iTunes as well as on Jeff and Dan's blog,

You can also access the Wicked Decent Learning podcasts at

Free Technology For Teachers: Tech Teacher Podshow

A middle school teacher in California, Ron Kroetz, produces great podcasts for educators. Ron's weekly podcasts discuss websites and web-based activities teachers can use for instruction. Listen to Ron's podcasts here.

This week's podcast on The Technology Teacher podshow features Google educator tools. Last week's episode discussed uses for the activities featured on Check out The Technology Teacher podshow and listen to the podcasts today, you won't be disappointed.

Free Technology For Teachers: Dropbox

Dropbox is a web utility designed for backing up the files on your computer and for sharing files.
Dropbox is similar to which I've been using for months and have written about in the past. Click here to read more about

Applications for Educators
Dropbox is a good way to share files with students and parents. Dropbox is particularly useful for sharing large files like MP3s or slide shows. Rather than mass emailing an attachment you can share a file through Dropbox and save space in your email application.
Dropbox is particularly useful if you regularly work on more than one computer. Using Dropbox you can access and work on files from any Internet-connected computer.

Free Technology For Teachers: Lessons from China

My friend and colleague, Jason Long, is spending the semester teaching in China. Last year our high school started a teacher exchange program with a school in Jinhua, China. Jason was the first teacher selected for the program.
Jason is writing a blog about his experiences as a teacher in China. Jason has been writing about the experience of adjusting to living in China as well as the adjustment to teaching in a large Chinese school. Here is an excerpt from one of Jason's recent posts regarding teacher access to technology,
"I had a flash drive in my pocket with the Power Point file on it the entire time. I could have just plugged it into the computer and it would work. But, the classroom computer is locked in a solid wood box and no teacher has a key. Another strange difference is that the only photocopier is in the administration building, staffed by three people who make the copies for you, and only available at certain hours. I suppose it is a good way to prevent teachers from unintentionally breaking computers and photocopiers, but it takes some getting used to." Read the rest of the post here.

Jason's Viking in China blog is entertaining and insightful, I encourage you to take a minute to read an American perspective on Chinese schooling.