Inspired by Bob Sprankle and his posted VoiceThread for BLC 2007, I played with VoiceThread myself for the first time recently and created a narrated slideshow of images taken at NECC 2007 and shared on Flickr. You can both view and leave comments (via text and audio) to this VoiceThread. VERY cool!

Voicethread is very similar to Bubbleshare, with the following differences:

  1. Voicethread lets others leave text comments as well as audio comments on individual slides. (Bubbleshare just supports text comments by visitors, only the author of each Bubbleshare slideshow can leave 30 seconds of voice narration per slide.)
  2. VoiceThread integrates directly with Flickr, which is HUGE. You can directly import all images from different Flickr sets. This functionality is similar to the Flickr integration in Digital Storyteller.
  3. VoiceThread requires users to setup an account first before creating a narrated slideshow. BubbleShare does not, account creation is optional.
  4. VoiceThread supports more sophisticated sharing options than BubbleShare. You can keep a VoiceThread private (VERY important for school contexts) while all BubbleShare slideshows are public. (I think.) VoiceThread even lets you invite others to COLLABORATE with you on a project and edit all aspects of a project, similar to Google Documents. BubbleShare doesn’t support this type of collaboration, it only allows one author. (Others can leave text comments, however.)

I’d like to see a “download as video podcast” and “subscribe as video podcast” option for VoiceThread. That would be VERY cool, especially if it could dynamically integrate all the audio comments which have been added to date for each slide and then make that file available as an enhanced podcast. :-) That may not be possible because of the licensing issues involved with the M4A QuickTime format, however.

I’ve added VoiceThread as another tool included in the workshop “Global Voices: Distributed Learning Projects With Interactive Podcasting and VOIP Tools.” Are their other differences between VoiceThread and Bubbleshare I neglected to see or mention?

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  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    The ability to annotate an image during a recording added to a VoiceThread image is a significant functional difference between BubbleShare and VoiceThread as well. This is used by the author and some of the contributors to the Classroom 2.0 VoiceThread. It is nice that VoiceThread shows you a number by the “MyVoice” icon in the upper right corner when a new comment (text or voice) is left on your own voicethreads or those you’ve subscribed to:

    VoiceThread shows you when you have new comments on threads you're following

    Unfortunately it doesn’t seem you can readily go RIGHT to that new comment, however. (It may be I just haven’t figured out how to go to the new comments.)

  • http://www.voicethread.com Steve

    Hi Wesley,
    Thanks for the great review. The truth is we’re not a photo-site, but a tool for people to asynchronously collaborate around media using their voices. We designed the basic security structure with the classroom in mind, that’s why all voicethreads start out as private as the paper on your desk. You can then choose(and continuously alter) the collaborative environment, slowly adding people and controlling what they can do, and then publish it if you wish(with comment moderation on) so that a classroom project can be shared widely, but safely.
    The other big feature that’s so important for K-4 is the use of ‘identities’ which are nothing more than ‘faces’ for the young students, so that they can have commentary attributed to them while they work under a teachers supervision. Young students really love the idea of their work, and their voice being published ‘Worldwide.’

    Thanks again for the review,

    p.s. We are working on exportable versions of voicethreads, it shouldn’t be too long, we know this is important for a lot of reasons. Also the new comments notification system you refer to above is getting an overhaul, right now we only tell which voicethreads have new comments but we don’t show you exactly where they are. That’ll be fixed soon.

  • Bonnie

    Hi Wesley,
    I just read the comment you left for us on our tech stories blog and blog scrapping, that’s a new one for me. Kevin and I have been working on that site for about 6 months. We created it as a digital storytelling site for anyone interested in sharing and working in the medium. It’s mostly people we work with from the National Writing Project. You might know some of them, Troy Hicks?
    Anyway, it’s clearly not a site where we just grab the work and thoughts of others, although what I appreciate about this web 2.0 ideal of collaboration is the sense that we are all in it together and I have been reading your blog for a number of months having it in my bloglines and loving your work.
    I think you notice that we have always credited your blog entries and they are there for people who might not subscribe to your blog. I may not be up on blog manners, but it seems to me know different from quoting ideas from any other innovator and sharing in the work.
    I think thats what the sharing of Flickr and Jumpcut and You Tube are all about.
    Sorry to hear that you didn’t see it as a compliment. And I think if you look a bit closer at our blog, you’d notice some interesting collaborations there: ABC movie..
    BOnnie

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Bonnie: I’ve exchanged a few emails with Kevin, and I apologize if I’ve misconstrued your blog as a blog scraping site. I didn’t visit more links and I should have before reaching a conclusion…. as I emailed Kevin, I do think that your use and quotation of my thoughts was in line with the “attribution only” license I’ve published with… I guess I just saw everything quoted verbatim without additional comment, and so I assumed “blog scrape.” I haven’t had a great deal of exposure to this, but have run across a few blogs in the past 6 months that do this. (I found the term in WikiPedia sometime back.” So, please accept my apologies for not following other links on your blog and making the mistaken conclusion that you were blog scraping. As I process comments during the day I am sadly guilty from time to time (this is an example) of not spending enough time investigating and researching. I AM honored you’ve found some of my ideas worth sharing, and wanting to empower others to share those ideas is a big reason I write them in the first place, and use an “attribution only” license for my blog content. So, thanks for helping me learn, and please don’t take my comments as a desire on my part for you to either stop reading what I’ve written here and elsewhere, or to stop sharing ideas you think are worth passing along. It’s amazing how fast all this is changing, and until 3 or 4 months ago I hadn’t seen a “blog scraping” site at all. Sorry to misinterpret the post I saw on your site today. Please accept my apology.

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