Say hello to the next big thing: VoiceThread... or is it? Recently our class has decided to investigate the appeal of this new, interactive collaboration and sharing tool that enables users to add images, documents, and videos, and then other users can add voice, text, audio file, or video comments. According to the VoiceThread website, the collaboration tool is defined as:
"With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected from anywhere in the world at any time and shared in one place, all with no software to install. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, interactive, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos. It allows people to navigate through the slides and leave comments in 5 ways: using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file (for VoiceThread Pro users), or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues so they can record comments, too. Users can doodle while commenting (drawing annotation overlays), use multiple Identities, and pick which comments are shown through Comment Moderation. VoiceThreads can even be embedded to play and receive comments on other websites, and they can be exported and saved as a file on your computer, a CD or flash drive so that you can send them in an email or play them as an archival movie on a digital device."
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So, how will a class focused on Manzoni in the Digital Age utilize this tool? First, students and teachers can upload screen shots of specific passages from I promessi sposi and contribute annotations. Contributors can make note of reoccurring themes, symbols, diction, parallelism with history, etc. Second, an image can be uploaded to be analyzed for comparison to the novel. For example, an image of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, or Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins, a capuchin crypt in Rome, Italy may be a useful to analyze in comparison with the character of Fra Cristoforo in I promessi sposi. Third, a video clip of scenes from the movie I promessi sposi could be uploaded and analyzed in comparison to the novel. Fourth, other documents can be uploaded and comments and critiques shared amongst the users. For example, the class is currently working on a timeline that parallels the events of I promessi sposi with the life of Alessandro Manzoni; VoiceThread could be utilized to gain input from all users and have a real-time discussion outside of the classroom.