Comment Moderation

A VoiceThread can be one of two very different types of conversation space. The first is an open discussion where all comments are visible to anyone who can see the VoiceThread. The other is one where comments are kept hidden and are only visible to the person who created the VoiceThread. Comment Moderation is what makes this second type of discussion space possible.

Enable Comment Moderation in the Publishing Options for a VoiceThread by following these steps:

1. Go to the MyVoice page.
2. Click on the gear menu icon in the corner of the VoiceThread.
3. Select “Edit.”
4. Click on the “Publishing Options” button at the bottom of the page.
5. Check the box that says “Moderate Comments?”
6. Click “Save.”

As soon as Comment Moderation is enabled, all future comments on that VoiceThread will be moderated. Learn more about revealing comments below.

Comment Moderation is useful any time the commentary on a VoiceThread should be private by default. Some scenarios include:

Public VoiceThreads
When inviting the public to participate in a conversation, a VoiceThread creator risks getting a larger volume and lower quality comments than with a private conversation. Comment Moderation allows the creator to view all new comments before deciding to allow everyone else to see them. The creator can control the quality of the conversation and the number of comments that participants can see.

Individual Assessment
Comment Moderation is a great way to evaluate individual learning. Have students respond to a prompt, evaluate themselves, or express an opinion while assuring them that their comments will be private. Individual comments can always be revealed later in the case that an instructor wants to showcase an exemplary comment or allow students to see each other’s work.

Critique
It’s often important for students to critique each other’s work. Comment Moderation will allow an instructor to screen all criticism to make sure it is constructive before allowing the other participants to view it.




Announcing VoiceThread Mobile

The VT team is proud to announce VoiceThread Mobile! The App is now available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Developing a mobile app was something our users have been asking about for quite a while, and after nearly a year of development, we are happy to deliver on that promise. Did we mention it’s free to download?

VoiceThread Mobile is integrated seamlessly with the flash-based web application you’ve come to know and love, and the versatility and simplicity you expect is now mobile and touch-driven. Create and collaborate with anyone you choose; anytime, anywhere, now with even greater flexibility in how you collaborate outside of the classroom or boardroom.

For existing accounts, sign-in using the same credentials as you do online – the App is a free add-on to your current subscription! For new users, creating a new account is simple and free. Within minutes, discover the intuitive and flexible uses of this “equal-participation” collaboration platform. We even have a designated Mobile support area to help with any questions.

Improvements and enhancements planned for updates in the near future will bring VoiceThread Mobile even closer to the experience you’ve come to love, but it’s truly inspiring to see what people are already saying!

Download the VoiceThread mobile app from the Apple App Store and leave a review. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Read about other features of VoiceThread Mobile and things people have said about the App below.


VoiceThread Impacts Teaching and Learning

We’re very excited to join Deb Frazier, an elementary-school educator, as she shares her experience and best practices in her first of a series of posts around VoiceThread. She says, “…VoiceThread has been an amazing tool in our classroom; extending classroom walls, time and learning!”

Her first entry addresses online identities:

Step One ~ Create Student Avatars
To teach the importance of computer safety we do not link picture with name.

Read more of her post.

Deb describes herself in 160 characters as “…Mom, wife, educator, children’s book lover, learner, curious about authentic tech in the classroom… [and a] new member of the blogging community, Primary Perspective.”

Follow Deb at her Blog or on Twitter: @frazierde


VoiceThread Changes The Way Educators Teach

One teacher’s VoiceThead Ah-Ha moment:
Brad Wilson, @Dreambition, describes why VoiceThread is valuable in education today.

Despite the ever-changing web and world, a growing PLN, new ways to connect and share ideas available every single day… one thing has remained constant:

VoiceThread is the highest quality, most dynamic and empowering web tool available to teachers and students for learning projects. (In My Opinion) And I have tried everything.

I decided that all the students in my district (and everywhere) deserve a chance to be this engaged. They deserve to become the teachers and to practice 21st Century skills. That belief fueled my energy to write a district-wide grant for VoiceThread access and to give presentations at three conferences (including MACUL) encouraging its adoption. The grant was approved in the spring of 2010 by our local Educational Foundation, so last school year was the first full year with VoiceThread accounts for every teacher and every 3rd-12th grade student.

Click here to read the entire post.


VoiceThread Mobile for Apple® iDevices

VoiceThread bridges the gap between real-time discussions and static multi-media slideshows, making it the platform for on-demand teaching, learning, training, and collaborating. We are working with the lofty goal of true accessibility so that any “door” used to access VoiceThread is equally effective for your means of participation.

“We want to serve the needs of a person with dyslexia or ADHD, an outdoor classroom with mobile devices, a user in the developing world without high-speed internet, a kindergartner, or an elderly lifelong learner.” (Read more)

With that goal in mind, we’ll be releasing a Mobile App this fall for the iPad®/iPhone®/iPod touch® that will provide the same experience of creating and collaborating around your content on your Mobile device that you would experience in the web-based application… and we’re pretty excited about that!

Take a look, and tell us what you think.


Congratulations to the winning VoiceThread teams from Hawaii’s Department of Education!

The Hawaii Department of Education Statewide VoiceThread initiative recently ran an engagement contest/campaign soliciting VoiceThreads from their participating schools. VoiceThreads were submitted by teams of three from two divisions: Elementary and Secondary-Ed. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges from HIDOE, and then friends and family members were invited to vote.

See all of the finalists at: http://hawaiivln.k12.hi.us/vt/winners.html

Elementary Winner: Bully Free Zone from Hale Kula Elementary

Secondary Winner: Child Abuse from Kapaa High School



VoiceThread Universal and Section 508 Accessibility

VoiceThread Universal is an accessibility project that our team has been working on and we’re very excited to release the public beta. VoiceThread has been an accessibility aid for many users and many communities of users, but it has always had a major weakness; it did not work with screen-readers, so vision-impaired users had a hard time participating in these conversations. We’re now introducing a version of the VoiceThread application that is specifically designed to not only work well with screen-readers but, much more importantly, work well for the people who use screen-readers.

Many websites and online tools use an “add on” to gain compatibility with screen-readers, simply allowing the page and its elements to be read aloud. This means that screen-reader users must listen to volumes of useless information before they can navigate and participate in the space. VoiceThread Universal is a version of the the VoiceThread application designed specifically to be beautiful to the ear with navigation, instructions, and tasks are stripped of superfluous elements, whether visual or textual. Concise, clear, and efficient is the goal for the experience. Read more about our thoughts on Accessibility.

In the coming months we’ll be gathering feedback as we build improvements. Please help us out by adding your criticisms and suggestions on this Forum post, or by emailing them to accessibility at voicethread.com.