NECC 2008, techLEARNING testimonial

VoiceThread’s first NECC conference was a big success and we’d like to thank all the people who helped make that happen. Our VoiceThreaders seemed to be everywhere, giving some amazing presentations, some formally scheduled and others seemingly from the tops of soapboxes.

As we stood in our booth we were presented with a steady stream of educators who would start by saying “I just saw this fantastic presentation by [Wes Fryer, Kevin Jarrett, Jodi Meacher, or ‘those MathCast people’ and many, many more] and now I have a few questions for you.” We didn’t have t-shirts or any other gifts for our VoiceThread Corps (perhaps fine chocolates next year?) so I just want give a sincere thanks, we really couldn’t have succeeded without you.

Cheryl Oakes shares a VoiceThread testimonial on her techLEARNINGblog post (excerpt) titled “Assistive Technology goes Mainstream!”:

“I met an occupational therapist recently who explained how a student of hers began using VoiceThread for her school projects. This may not seem remarkable until you learn that the student, although able, would not speak in the classroom. Once VoiceThread was added as a tool in the classroom toolkit, the student was empowered to make changes with much peer support. The student recorded her school projects in VoiceThread, her peers were thrilled to hear her voice. Make change happen for your students in need of these tools.” (Read more…)


VoiceThread partners with LPGA

VoiceThread has recently partnered with the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association (LPGA) on their just launched LPGA Fanbook feature. LPGA Fanbook allows fans to ask players questions and have the players respond directly to them, all using VoiceThread technology.

From LPGA.com: “LPGA.com has launched its newest feature LPGA FanBook which allows you to ask your favorite players questions through audio or video. Players will then respond to your questions via video or audio. All you need to record an audio message is a telephone and if you want to record video then you can use a webcam or other video recording device.”


VoiceThread = Webware 100 winner!

We are very happy to announce that VoiceThread has received a 2008 Webware 100 award from Webware, a CNET site. We’d like to thank our users for their support and votes! The 2008 Webware 100 awards recognize the best Web 2.0. sites, services and applications. The Web 2.0 user community cast nearly two million votes in an online voting poll that ultimately selected the winners. Finalists for the 2008 Webware 100 Awards were selected by the editors of Webware.

We’ve done some rigorous back of the napkin math calculations and discovered that our users must have voted for us at ten times the per/user rate of many of our fellow competitors. This confirms what we know already about the people who use our product every day, they share our passion for simplicity and usability, and more human interaction on the web. We have big plans to pursue in the next year and we will continue to rely heavily on our VoiceThreaders for their engagement, advice, and support.


Export Archival VoiceThreads

We are very, very happy to announce the availability of Archival VoiceThreads. Downloadable as a widescreen movie, this version of a VoiceThread will play offline, stored on your computer, iPod or other portable device and can be burned onto a DVD or CD. These Archival movies are an exact replica of the content and commentary of any VoiceThread, which include the text commentary, audio commentary, webcam commentary, and also, the animated drawings we call Doodles. This has been our #1 requested feature and has taken quite a bit of work to pull off. To make one, just click the ‘Export’ button when creating/editing your VoiceThread.

Does it look and feel like a VoiceThread? You bet, and portable. Click here (~6.2 mb) to download an example. During a beta test period the export function will only be available to Pro users, at no charge. After this period, 30 per year will be included free with every Pro account. Individual archival exports will be $2.99 for free accounts, with bulk and educator discounts on the way.


CNET’s Webware 100

Hey folks, VoiceThread has been named a Finalist in the 2008 “Webware 100” Awards which “recognize the best Web 2.0 sites, services, and applications that are leading the next wave of innovation.” We humbly concur with the wise choice by the Editors at CNET, but the public actually has the final word. So please help us out by heading on over to the Webware 100 site to vote for us, we’d really appreciate it. Thanks!


Ed.VoiceThread

We’re launching a new web-based collaborative network that is simple, powerful and safe, called Ed.VoiceThread. This community is specifically designed for K-12 educators and students. Here is an overview of how it works:

 


Phone Commenting Remote Control

Here’s a quick VoiceThread showing off how you can use your phone to leave comments and navigate pages in your VoiceThreads – like a remote control – from your phone.


Phone commenting, Thread & URL import

We’ve added 3 exciting new features to VoiceThread today.

Phone commenting

VoiceThread now allows you to record voice comments from any domestic U.S. phone number. Simply type in your phone number and VoiceThread will call you to comment. You can even comment on more than one page, using the phone to navigate VoiceThreads like a remote control. All accounts include 3 minutes free, and then it’s just $10 for each additional hour of phone commenting. Additionally, we’ll soon allow you the option to give phone commenting minutes to your VoiceThreads, so that those you invite can use your minutes.

Import media from your existing VoiceThreads

By clicking on the ‘My Media’ button when creating, you can now import pages from other VoiceThreads that you’ve either created or are an editor of.

Import media from a URL

You can also now use the ‘URL’ button when creating to import images, docs and videos from a URL. For example, using ‘http://domain.com/image.jpg’ will import image.jpg to the VoiceThread.


Video Doodling, webcam

We’d like to introduce you to a couple new features on VoiceThread.

Video Doodling

VoiceThread’s Video Doodling feature allows you to control the playback of a video as you comment using a microphone or webcam; giving you the power to voice comment over specific portions of video. It allows you to move to a specific segment, doodle while you’re there, then move to highlight another segment, all while leaving your comment. See it in action!

Video comments with a webcam

If you’ve got a webcam on or hooked to your computer, simply click on the webcam icon (to the left of record) and capture video from your webcam, as your comment. Free accounts include 30 minutes of use, while Pro users have unlimited access to this feature.

Other additions:

  • Control whether VoiceThreads open in fullscreen mode by default (handy for presentations)
  • Allow others to right-click-download original image and document files (Pro users)
  • Hide the final share page (Pro users)
  • RSS feeds: for MyVoice new comments, the Browse page and Blog

And on the not-so-distant horizon, we’ve got a bunch more exciting features slated for release. New functionalities might just include: another compelling way of commenting on VoiceThreads, the ability to take VoiceThreads with you for offline or archival use, and accessing VoiceThread content from devices other than your personal computer. We’re big fans of accessibility and are working to ensure VoiceThread is available to the widest range of people and devices. Stay tuned.


Today’s Release

The latest version of VoiceThread is ready for primetime.

The feedback we’ve received from our users has been outstanding. Thank you for working so closely with us, your help has been invaluable. The introduction of the new VoiceThread addresses some long-standing bugs and limitations of our old site. We think we’ve built a solid foundation that’s faster, more robust, and more accessible. And for all you enthusiasts out there, we are pleased to offer VoiceThread Pro accounts with new and enhanced features.

For those not ready to move to the latest version of VoiceThread, you can still access the previous version – VoiceThread Classic – via the link on the top right of the new homepage. We’ll keep it up and running until at least the end of 2007.

P.S. We’re looking to grow the conversations within our shiny new forum, and would love your help with that too.