As powerful and easy to use as VoiceThread is for teaching and learning, it can be difficult for instructors to determine how to best get started. To help, this Roadmap to Using VoiceThread at Penn State provides instructors interested in using VoiceThread five basic steps to follow to build a solid foundation before creating and delivering their first VoiceThread. This Roadmap is aimed at providing a simple set of steps to follow using the available resources at Penn State as well as VoiceThread.

Note: You can join in the VoiceThread of this “Roadmap to Using VoiceThread” and leave comments if you would like.

1. Go to VoiceThread at Penn State website: http://voicethread.psu.edu/ 

This is the service support website/hub for all Penn State users interested in using VoiceThread. It contains various materials geared to help all users get started with VoiceThread including:

  • Quick Start guides for faculty and students
  • FAQ’s
  • Video Tutorials
  • Help requests and knowledge base articles
The first part of your journey is to explore this website and learn more about how to use VoiceThread. It won’t take you long until you are ready for the next stop. In fact, bookmark this site because you can expect to return to it throughout your experiences with VoiceThread.

2. Sign In and Try it Out

After reviewing materials on the support site, you are ready to give VoiceThread a try. Simply click on the Sign In button on the support site at http://voicethread.psu.edu, enter your credentials at the PSU web access sign-in screen and you will be in VoiceThread.

Once you’ve logged in, go ahead and create your first ‘test’ VoiceThread. Refer to the support documents from the support site if you need but it is very easy to create a VoiceThread. “Play around” and upload different types of media and try all the different ways of commenting on it. Other key features to try:
  • Use the doodle tool to draw on an image
  • Share a VoiceThread
  • Embed a VoiceThread in a blog or webpage
You will be up to speed on how to use VoiceThread in no time. Your next stop will be to investigate how you would like to use it.

3. Review Examples

After getting a grasp on the functionality, it’s a bit easier to visualize how you might use it in your course. Now is a good time to go back to the support website to look at such resources as the VoiceThread Digital Library or current case studies of Penn State faculty who have used it.
Think about the various learning opportunities that may match up for what you do in the classroom. Activities such as reflection, collaboration, peer discussion, content presentation and more are all possible.

4. Sign up for training via ITS Training Services

If you think VoiceThread may be a fit for your teaching, consider a formal training option from ITS Training Services. To view the latest schedule, visit http://voicethread.psu.edu and find the link to the VoiceThread training offerings.

5. Design It

At this point, you are ready to design your VoiceThread experience. As you do, to remember:
  • Be ready to refer to http://voicethread.psu.edu to answer questions, review best practices and keep up with the latest VoiceThread news
  • Keep your learning objectives in mind and develop rubrics
If you feel you need help, you can access a consultation from a Learning Designer. Click the “Design Consulting” link in the Support section of the support homepage and fill out the form. A Learning Designer will be in touch to help you get started with your design.
While this is the last step in the Roadmap for getting started, it certainly is not the end of your experience. Hopefully, you will continue on to create, deliver, and assess your VoiceThread activities with your students.
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