A good presentation needs to have personality, engagement and a good dose of fun. While PowerPoint certainly has its place, when you want to give your presentation a bit of life it is time to look elsewhere. Enter VoiceThread, the ultimate way to inject personality and more into your online presentations.

Based on the simple concept of narrating each slide, VoiceThread is an online presentation tool with the tagline: “Conversations in the cloud”. A great way to get your whole class involved in a project, students can narrate each slide to create brilliant, engaging group presentations. It can also be used to create real online conversations that can promote learning and be used as resources in the future.


Getting Started With VoiceThread

It is very easy to get started with VoiceThread and a simple presentation can be put together in a matter of minutes.  Here are the steps to get your first vocal presentation out to the world.


The first step to getting your VoiceThread out there is to upload your slide content. This can be in the form of images, documents or videos:

  • My Computer – upload any locally stored files from your machine
  • Media Sources – choose media from previous VoiceThreads, Facebook, Flickr or The New York Public Library
  • URL – Select a URL pointing to your online media
  • My Webcam –  Record video from your webcam




Once uploaded you can organize media in sequence simply by dragging and dropping. From this view you can also rotate, delete and replace media. At this stage it is also good to add a title and informative description to your presentation. Remember that if you plan on making the VoiceThread public, the title and description will be what people use to find your work.




You now have the chance to explain each slide with comments. Using VoiceThread, you have a number of ways to comment slides:

  • Phone – Enter your phone number (US & Canada) and you can record audio comments straight through the phone
  • Webcam – A thumbnail video with audio can be recorded from your webcam providing a very engaging way to comment
  • Voice Record – Record just audio through your PC
  • Text – Add text comments (much less engaging, try getting your voice out there)
  • Upload Audio – Upload an audio file



Share and Open For Comments

This is where the fun starts and you can begin getting your students and others involved. Once you are happy with your presentation you can begin to share it with your class or the world. You can share with contacts on VoiceThread, social networks, email and anywhere you can share a link. As students or other viewers watch your presentation they can leave comments in exactly the way you did above; audio, video and text. This adds a whole new level of interaction and content to the original presentation.



Education Use

The collaborative premise behind VoiceThread makes it an ideal candidate in the classroom. Teachers and students around the world are using the service in a number of very creative ways:

  • Try creating a presentation for young readers where they can each read and record a page.
  • Let students ask questions on certain material via the VoiceThread comments. You can then go on to answer them with your own comments, creating a useful resource for the future.
  • Ask students to create their own presentations where they record and present findings through comments rather than a written project. You and other students can go on to ask further questions and enhance the value of the presentation.
  • Try (carefully) reaching out to the public for expert opinions on topics your class may be studying. They can add their own thoughts on your work via recorded comments.

VoiceThread is a tool used by many inside and outside education. On top of their regular service, they offer a secure and accountable environment built specifically for Students and Educators. If you are interested in learning more for your school, see their education page for more details.

Also, if you or members of your school are looking to learn more presentation ideas for the classroom, or just looking to improve your skills, check out our upcoming online course: Introduction To Presenting And Sharing Online.


Have you used VoiceThread with your class? What other tools are you using for presenting and how do you think VoiceThread compares?


Image courtesy of Flickr, ND Strupler

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