The following is a reply I shared tonight in a closed online learning community to the question, “Is VoiceThread something you can use [for digital storytelling] instead of GarageBand?”

— start of response —

VoiceThread can be used for digital storytelling instead of Garageband, but I see it as a different tool with different benefits as well as limitations. The biggest advantage of VoiceThread is it lets learners of all ages interact and have conversations. These can use text, audio-only, or video. VoiceThreads are immediately on the web and accessible to parents as well as students, which is a BIG deal. They are created on the web, so of course they are immediately on the web. When you make a podcast in GarageBand or Audacity, you have much more creative control over the production: background music, multiple voices put together, etc. But it is more challenging to get a GarageBand podcast published online in a moderated, safe, interactive environment. With VoiceThread that is very straightforward. MobileMe does facilitate publication of all iLife media products online, but it is not free as VoiceThread is, and commenting features do not include the audio and video options which VoiceThread provides.

I love digital storytelling with both VoiceThread and with Garageband, and encourage you to do both yourself as well as help your students do both. This is a great compare and contrast activity idea. After your students have created digital stories in both, use one of the tools to create a reflective digital story about this very question. If you do this, please send me the link and I’ll check it out. I’d like to hear your kids’ impressions about this.

— end of response —

GarageBand Workshop
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Of course Audacity is also a great (and free) audio editor for classroom podcasts. All of my workshop and presentation materials related to digital storytelling (including podcasting) are linked on handouts.wesfryer.com/digitalstorytelling.

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One Response to VoiceThread compared to GarageBand

  1. AllanahK says:

    I really like to podcast with Garageband with my class and to make our podcasts we collaborate in class and receive feedback after the podcast is finished and published. In class we tend to listen via iTunes, not Podomatic, to avoid advertisement which doesn’t lend itself to giving feedback.

    The thing I like about Voicethread is the way other people can add their comments and contributions immediately and orally, collaborating globally on the thread. In that sense the thread is never completely finished- always growing. We collaborate and grow the thing together, even after it is supposedly ‘finished’.

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