Using VT to Increase Engagement and Community

Voicethread (VT) is a great tool to build community in F2F, online, and blended courses. Here are a few tips for incorporating VT into your courses:

  1. Use VT, instead of the Discussion Board, to do course introductions. If you ask your students to answer specific questions in the introduction, it allows them to see each other and learn a bit about their peers in a fun way. You can also require them to welcome and say hi to a certain number of students to further community building.
  2. Students can submit assignments, ranging from digital stories to documents/papers, to VT for comments by both their peers and the instructor.
  3. VT can be used to check for student understanding using 3-2-1 (3 things you learned, 2 things it reinforced, 1 question you still have) or K-W-L (What do you Know? What do you Want to know? What did you Learn?) strategies. After students complete readings, have them post these to a course VT you build for the week – this allows you to check for understanding and find out where they still have gaps and modify your content accordingly.
  4. You can use multiple VT screens to create a case study. Additional information can be presented on each slide, students can be asked to comment on their thoughts and how they’ve changed based on the new information, etc. The final slide asks them to share their conclusions from the activity.
  5. Consider asking students to complete a video reflection in VT at the end of the semester about the big picture things they have learned. Through reflecting on the semester and hearing/commenting on the reflections of others, you solidify their learning for the course.

NOTE: On all of these, it’s a great idea to create a rubric and set expectations for the time limit of the post. While it’s great to share and hear thoughts, it’s important students not spend 10 minutes when you expected two.

These ideas represent a few strategies I share with faculty but there are many other ways you can use VT. If you have a great tip for using it in your course, please share in the comments below!

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