One of my favorite Web 2.0 tool is Voicethread, billed as a 'group audio blog' by its creators. Voicethread allows users to upload a collection of images about any topic, and then to engage in an ongoing conversation about each image. Multiple comments---both audio and text---can be attached to every picture in a presentation, promoting digital dialogue in an interesting and engaging way.
Check out this Voicethread presentation that is being created by a group of "seriously motivated students living in Cyberspace":
What I like the best about Voicethread is that it allows teachers to seamlessly integrate digital collaboration into the curriculum. Because the skills necessary to use Voicethread are minimal, there is almost no tech-barrier to overcome by teachers or students---and because the tool is simple by nature, the focus of any digital effort remains on the content rather than the technology.
I was so impressed by the potential that Voicethread holds that I plan to use it in a digital partnership that I'm starting between my students and classes abroad. Here are a few handouts I plan to use to help my kids interact with Voicethread presentations in a meaningful way. Maybe you'll find them helpful:
A big thank you to the Voicethread folks for creating a digital tool that has great potential for instruction---and for keeping it free for educators!