Using VoiceThread with Hands-On Projects

Educational technology shouldn’t compete with hands-on learning; it should support it. Regardless of which subject you teach, there are always opportunities for your students to get out of their seats and explore real-world learning and VoiceThread can help. Hands-on learning helps student by providing memorable experiences, but experimenting alone isn’t enough. Students need to analyze and reflect on those experiences to crystalize the lessons.

Here are a few ways you can use VoiceThread to support hands-on projects with your class:

1. Document the Learning Process

It’s not always practical to have a class full of students all working on experiments in the same space. When space and time are limited, take the students outside or ask them to document an experiment at home. With the VoiceThread mobile app, students can document the steps they took and discuss the results of their experiment. Teachers can then add feedback right on the VoiceThread and ask follow up questions to enhance the experience. In the example below, a student uses Jenga blocks to test a physics prediction. He takes pictures of each step, uploads them to VoiceThread and adds his commentary as he goes:\

2. Share Your Classroom Activities with Parents and Administrators

Parents and administrators love to know what students are doing in class, but students aren’t always great at communicating what they’ve learned. Parents frequently ask their children what they did in school and the response they receive is usually a one word answer or a shrug. This can be frustrating for teachers because of the time and energy that goes into designing meaningful lessons. With VoiceThread, you can capture the learning experiences as they happen and give parents or administrators the context around the lesson. In the VoiceThread below, you can see students working on building toothpick bridges and explaining their concepts in real time.\

3. Demonstrate Real World Skills

Teaching students practical job skills is one of the core missions of a university. While direct instruction and reading from a text are important aspects of learning in Higher Ed, practicing skills may be the most important part of the learning experience. Whether students are aspiring musicians, nurses, or lawyers, demonstrating hands-on aptitude is vital when assessing what they have learned. In the video below, you can see a nursing student demonstrate how to give a head-to-toe medical assessment. Instead of soaking up valuable in-class time to watch each student perform these tasks, use VoiceThread and review their work when time allows:\

Digital tools aren’t a replacement for these hands-on learning activities; they are a supplement. Don’t let digital get in the way, use it to capture and amplify the learning.