How do we not give zeros? Voicethread response.

April 12, 2009 at 9:38 am
filed under Classroom, Connecting, Pedagogy, Podcast, Reform, Research


I finally had a chance to check out my incoming links and discovered Miss Teacha’s post on how she creates a podcast. At the same time I am reviewing some voicethreads made by students (actually, trying to. Forgot the reminder about making the threads public so I’m kind of locked out of them for the moment! There goes my Sunday morning grading plan because I am sure NONE of my students are up at 8 am on a Sunday morning to make the changes needed for me to view them!) and it made me think that voicethread could be a neat alternative to podcasting.

This morning I learned that you could use your webcam to make a comment on a voicethread! Ms. McMullen-Dent’s class created a voicethread about Self-Control and it was the first time I saw some movie comments (have I been under a rock? or is this new?).

There are 60 some odd comments, mine is waaaaaaaaaaay at the end.

Getting to the point…

It got me to thinking that I could record a voicethread instead of a podcast for my blog and that commentary could come in many forms. Either as traditional blog comments or typed, audio, or webcam comments directly on the voicethread.

So. Let’s try it out. That very same Miss Teacha left a comment a little while ago on an older post of mine Why I Don’t Do Zeros. She asks difficult questions. Let’s try to address them together, shall we?


I warned you I’d be tagging you…Please invite others you think could add to the conversation.

Dr. Jan
Angela Stockman
Angela Maiers

Dr. Douglas Reeves on Toxic Grading Practices. Getting Things Done.

Voicethread image: Report Card by Divine Harvester on Flickr


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  1. Magistra M

    on April 12, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I think this is a very important and interesting topic. And one that depends in many cases on the situation. Sometimes the work is all about getting the project done. I try to evaluate the process and not just the final product so that students who have a habit of just not finishing (but follow many steps along the way) and not permanently ruined by that final grade. The students have no choice but to complete the tasks along the way. At the same time, when I have more than 80 students in 5 different classes, sometimes their isn’t enough time to devote to guiding every student through every lesson. It is a sad reality of life that sometimes there just isn’t enough time to do all that we would like to do. I am not satisfied that giving a 50 or 60 is the best answer – if a student has not done the work given a number of opportunities, then credit has not been earned. But I think keeping that window open so that students can come back and try again is important.

  2. Tracy

    on April 13, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I agree – I love this –> “But I think keeping that window open so that students can come back and try again is important.”

    There are certain things (most) throughout the year that I tell my students I mark in pencil. If they can demonstrate that they are putting more time/effort in trying to understand and complete their work then I have no problem changing marks.

    Back to MissTeacha’s original question – But what about those kids who don’t put any effort at all, who don’t seem to care?

    Both you and Douglas (see his comment to the original post on giving zeros here) hint that the secret lies far away from grades. My philosophy is that the grades will come only after a lot of work building relationships with the ‘I don’t care’ students. This kind of thinking requires a change in school culture (and parent culture, political culture…) around competition and grading procedures.

  3. Michael Doyle

    on April 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm


    I need to get back to this, but I must confess:

    I do not have a webcam.
    I do not have a cell phone.
    I do not have a computer microphone.

    I am thoroughly addicted to words pretending to be letters.

    Keeping the window open is all we can do sometimes. and it can be hard when all kinds of debris is blowing past.

    But we must keep them open.

  4. Tracy

    on April 27, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Yes, keeping the window open seems to be the consensus, but we can’t just stare out the open window. What then?

    ps…you don’t need the bells and whistles. If you notice 2 of the three of us typed their answers into the presentation :)

    pps … so nice to hear from you Michael! Look – it’s finally sunny out!

  5. David Fordee

    on June 4, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Wow, tried my hand at the video voice thread. Never done that before and it came out pretty staticy. I’ll probably try with my headphone and mic set sometime this next week. We finish school this weekend.

    Love this technology though. There are times when I want to know who the person is on the blog. What does their voice sound like? What do they look like? How passionate are they about what they are discussing? All the answers to those questions are hard to gather through just reading text. So I love the voice thread and video stuff. Just starting to play around with it myself.

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