Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Evaluate facilitation of my Voicethread asynchronous activities

The choice for my mini conf event/activity was an asynchronous activity in Voicethread. I was excited to use this new tool and believed that others would be keen to try it out also. This was not the case, I did not generate as much interest in using Voicethread as I had expected. My inspiration for using Voicethread came from a previous mini-conf activity 'Managing multimembership in online networks'. This is a great example of how a Voicethread can facilitate sharing.

I trialed an initial Voicethread (Vt) with the topic of 'The highs and lows of online learning' (Vt 1) to encourage participants to share their spectrum of emotions that they experienced during FO2010 or in their online learning journey in general. This activity was posted on Voicethread 22nd October. I sent a group email to FO2010 google group list titled 'Want to have a bit of fun with Voicethreads?' and an offer to contact me on my blog if they had any problems. I received a comment from Carole to advise that I needed to make my Vt public to allow access by all which was easy to fix, I then sent an email to confirm all was accessible if anyone had encountered any issues. I also posted a blogpost on which I kept a running commentary on the discussion. I had participation from Sarah, Coach Carole, Jane and Karen H over the following month. In an attempt to encourage further participation on the final day of the mini-conference I sent another email to the FO2010 google group however there was no further participation.

I have written up a summary of the conversation that developed on The highs and lows of online learning Voicethread which served as a backup plan if there were any problems with Vt, I have saved this on Google docs....
If you would like to hear more click here and you may even decide to add your own comment.

The second Voicethread Vt 2 which I created was to encourage participants to think about how they could use Vt, appropriately titled 'How can you use Voicethread?'. This Vt was not promoted via email simply on the Mini-conf wiki page. Participation in this was limited to Sarah who was very enthusiastic about Voicethread and again posed the question of how Vt could carry on the conversation.

What went well?
Vt #1 - I was really happy with the responses from participants re:my simple pen drawings that made up the series of slides/visuals. I believe these simple sketches gave the Voicethread a personal touch.
Vt #2 - this Vt gave me an opportunity to create the individual slides (as per Carole's recommendation) and load them into the sequence of slides. I also created a Screenr on how to create a Vt, which was a great opportunity to learn how to use Screenr.

What did not go so well
Vt #1 - On considering the number of comments I was initially dissapointed however considering that there were 5 participants with honest comments and responses I feel happy with the outcome.
Vt #2 - There was no participation other than Sarah (who I have been able to count on through the course for her support and encouragement. ) Thanks again Sarah! which I can only assume was a result of lack of promotion.

How the event was organised and promoted
Email was the primary method of communication/promotion for the first Vt with the course Wiki having all the relevant details to access both Voicethreads. There may have been some confusion about accessing Vt however I received no questions via my blog re:access.
I was conscious that I did not want to overload my fellow students with too many emails but I think, with the benefit of hindsight, that I did not do enough promotion and I should have used my new found friend Twitter.

What I have learned about Voicethread?
Audio comments can be recorded while scrolling through the slides. Load slides individually to ensure your ability to change the sequence of the slides in future. Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Vt, but I still think it is great.


  1. I appreciated the opportunity to try out Voice Thread Kim. For me I found it a bit of a mental hurdle to get over the idea of recording my voice. Perhaps that also prevented others from participating? In the end - as with many new things, the actual experience was way easier than the anticipation. I was uncertain about the volumne level of my recording but ran out of time to redo it. As a tool it is more time consuming than straight text. Thank you for showing the way.

  2. Hello Kim

    Thank you very much for doing something different for the mini conference and introducing us to another way of communicating. I appreciate your frustration with the lack of people engaging with the VT, but you must remember the 1% rule...to get one active participant, you need to reach 100 people.

    I do agree with Karen...that the technology might have been a tad scary despite your great video that showed us how to use the VT. Maybve it would have helped if you embedded your VT in your blog.

    The other thing it might be worth reflecting on is the topic of the conversation...did it need to be controversial, for example? I think you need to think about how you sell this to people...why should they take part? What is the value to them? What will they get out of it?

    You might be interested in how Meena facilitated her asynchronous event last year: http://meenaadhikari.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html

    Thank you once again, Kim. It has been lovely getting to know you. I have really appreciated your participation and engagement which is what makes a course like this successful.

    cheers Sarah :)

  3. Thanks Karen, I agree the unknown of being recorded is a little uncertain and scary. I agree with you that maybe that did turn some people off, such a shame because I think it is such a fun tool. Funny that I find voice recording easier to coordinate my thoughts nowadays as I tend to ponder too long over the written text, I have even started using the voice recorder on my mobile phone, which is about 5 yrs old.Thanks so much for your participation and insight I look forward to keeping in touch via your blog. From now on I will be posting from my other blog Kim's thinking [http://kimsthinking.blogspot.com/]