A new and “refreshed” version of my favorite web-based digital storytelling tool, VoiceThread, is now online and available. I’ve just given it a brief spin, and it looks good. According to Andrew writing on the VoiceThread blog:

Here’s what’s new on VoiceThread:

  • Redesigned browsing, creating content and account management functionalities
  • Upload more media types to your VoiceThreads: PowerPoints (PPT, PPS), Adobe Documents (PDF), Word Documents (DOC), Excel Spreadsheets (XLS) and videos
  • Seamless Facebook image importing directly to your VoiceThreads
  • View VoiceThreads in a full screen presentation mode
  • Integrated rotate and crop tool for uploading pictures for identity management
  • Control the amount of pause between the pages of your VoiceThreads in play mode
  • New informational site, complete with the forum

Of course the most important thing (in my view) about VoiceThread from the perspective of classroom teachers is how it permits most of the “now what?” questions to be answered after creating a media project which students want to share for safe, interactive feedback on the web. The VoiceThread information for teachers (Classroom) is now available as a button on the main homepage:

Classroom link on the new VoiceThread

The previous VoiceThread Classrooms webpage remains available on the “classic” VoiceThread site, including a step-by-step guide for teachers in PDF format.

I added a generic student permission form (in MS Word format to allow editing) to the Great Book Stories project wiki recently, for a teacher I’m working with that will be starting to use VoiceThread with students in an international classroom collaboration project. Feel free to use the form and modify it to suit your needs. The permission form is linked from the project guidelines page.

Parental permission for student participation in global collaboration projects is very important, especially if any student work or voices will be recorded and shared in any format. I also recommend that teachers turn comment moderation ON for all VoiceThreads created by and with students. In our litigious U.S. culture, if we can proactively prevent a scenario where a parent gets upset by an offensive or inappropriate comment posted to a student blog or VoiceThread, we should certainly try. Thankfully, VoiceThread makes that moderation process very straightforward and relatively painless.

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  • Thanks for the parent permission form link!!

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