This week I had my students use Voicethread to provide feedback on the latest round of their cigar box panels.
A little bit about how this worked - the students were put in groups (combined editing groups from across my two Humanities classes) and asked to provide specific and detailed feedback to their peers. I prepared this list of elements that they needed to comment on as they provided feedback to each other. The idea was for students to get as much peer feedback as they could from the two classes. I was generally pleased with the comments that they students provided to each other - and I really liked how the drawing tool allow students to write on each others panel. I remember first learning about Voicethread about a year ago - and at the time, I was excited about the potential of students being able to use the drawing tool for editing these cigar box panels.
However, there was a second way we used Voicethread. After each student received feedback, they had the opportunity to use the suggestions to change and improve their panel. I think this is such an important part of creating effective feedback loops in our classrooms. I then gave the students three questions to answer in order to explain their second panel. How students answer these three questions has become so important in my assessment of the student cigar panels, since I feel a get a clear understanding of the student's historical understanding. As you flip through the voicethread above, for most of the students you can see their first version (with peer feedback) followed by the final version with their explanations and justifications.
In the past, I have asked all students to record voice recordings using Garageband, but on this panel, I gave the students a choice as to whether they would type or record their panel explanations. This is one of the great elements to Voicethread - the ability for students to decide which form of expression they wish to use. I told the students to pick the medium (typing or speaking) that best allowed them to share their understanding. I think it's fantastic that tools like voicethread exist - and give our students so many new ways to interact, collaborate and demonstrate what they know.