Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Using Voicethread in Science Lessons

Using Voicethread in Science

Teacher led questions about Science explanations don't always get students thinking for themselves.
It's easy to slip into asking closed questions and this doesn't really test the students understanding.

VoiceThread allows students to comment on a short slide show, a text or an image.  Teachers can collect the "voices" of an entire group on a single slide using computer microphone, keyboard, or webcam.  The students can also annotate the image as they speak.

Advantages of Voicethread over teacher led questions are:
  1. The students participate simultaneously - so more students express their ideas. 
  2. The student have a choice in the way they answer - text, voice, video.
  3. There is a collaborative product created by the class - for future reference.
  4. While able students are busy, the teacher can help the least confident students to contribute. 
Watch this video introduction to voicethread   -  2 mins

Middle School Chemistry -
Explaining ideas u
sing Voicethread

This is a simple activity to help students express ideas about chemical changes when copper foil and coins have been heated in the Bunsen flame. 

Running the Activity
  1. Students carry out the copper envelope experiments to see what happens when pieces of copper and coins are heated in the Bunsen flame.
  2. A photo is taken of the coins before and after the experiment
    You may get a photo like this one, (or something better)
  3. Upload the photo to VoiceThread.
  4. Share a link to the VoiceThread with the students.
  5. After the experiment Students record the results of their experiment in the usual way, but before writing a conclusion they use VoiceThread to comment on the photo and explain what happened.
  6. The VoiceThread will collect different ways of describing what happened.
  7. It remains as a record so that weaker students or ESL students can watch the explanation again.
  8. Students then write their own conclusions in their lab report.
This link is a voicethread that a small class of 12 year olds made after heating coins in the Bunsen burner to see what happened.   http://voicethread.com/?#u2227463.b2634427.i13955376

Resources - Web 2.0

Access to the internet is required for this activity.
Headsets / Webcams are really needed if you want students to record their voice.
There are some Network Requirements worth sharing with your network manager.
Students don't need to log in, nor create an account.

To encourage students to talk about scientific ideas
To improve students ability to write about concepts
To record this sort of plenary session.

Voicethread could be used in assessment.
Answers to a single question on each slide could be collected.

Alternative Ways
This activity could be adapted to many other classroom discussions:
  1. Collating phrases to use in a conclusion - move them about to make sense
  2. Plenary sessions - "What have we learned today?"

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