Recommended technology for active learning


Tags: collaboration, recommended learning tools, VoiceThread

One of the most popular and interesting tools for collaboration on online courses is VoiceThread. VoiceThraed is an online application that allows users to have conversations around digital media or to create presentations with audio support tracks.

A collaborative multimedia slideshow created in VoiceThread allows users to add comments in 5 different ways via text, voice (mic or telephone), audio, and video (using a webcam). It allows the user to
1. Share the voicethread through email or posting a link,
2. Embed the voicethread on a wiki or blog,
3. Doodle while commenting,
4. Export voicethread to your desktop.

VoiceThread - Simply Speaking

Educational Implications

VoiceThread is an asynchronous tool and can be used in online courses. Students collaborate by engaging in discussion while using pictures and text to emphasize their key points.
Here are some creative ways to using VoiceThread in education:

1. Digital storytelling -

  • Have students post pictures to tell a story. Peers can comments and give critical feedback to the presentation.
  • Use pictures to describe concepts and processes.

2. Brainstorm -

  • The class can get together as a whole or in groups and brainstorm ideas for a particular problem.
  • Have asynchronous debates.

3. Reflection -

  • Share reflections of the course, describe their learning process.
  • Summarize key concepts and ideas.

4. Reviews -

  • Discuss a video lecture.
  • Report on an event.
  • Critiquing each others presentations, ePortfolios.

5. Introductions -

  • Get students to introduce themselves and post one special thing about themselves.
  • Get students to describe their culture or backgrounds.

6. In an economics or finance course students

  • describe and present on diagrams and charts. Students can also pose questions about certain concepts and use the annotation tool to explain themselves.
  • present a solution  of the problem in Problem Based Learning (PBL).

Using VT in Higher Education

The students debate and discuss various questions on Business Law online course from Professor Russ Meade.

webinar series on using VoiceThread in higher education.


Recommended books

P.Shank (Ed.), 2011.The Online Learning Idea Book: Proven Ways to Enhance Technology-Based and Blended Learning.

S.Ferris, H.Wilder (Eds), 2013. The Plugged-In Professor: Tips and Techniques for Teaching with Social Media.



Using VT as a Visual Discussion Board Tool

What do students say about VoiceThread?

Research paper on collaborative learning

Price Plans

A single instructor (introductory license) or a premium site license are available for Higher Education.



Microsoft documents and PDF files can be uploaded.

The interface is simple and new users can pick up the basics quickly.

There are easy-to-read instructional manuals, extensive user guides and tutorial programs to assist the user.

It is a web-based tool, students do not have to download software in order to contribute.



Because VoiceThread is a flash-based program, the application cannot be used on devices that do not support Flash. VoiceThread has an app available in the Appstore for iOS devices.

Depending on broadband the process of uploading can be slow with unknown or unpredictable time limits.

For Basic account a student has only 1 GB of account storage.