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VoiceThread: An Online Space for Project-Based Learning

#Twitter: 
#voicethread
Presenter(s)
Jody Lawrence (University of Minnesota, USA)
Additional Authors
Brad Hokanson (University of Minnesota, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 11:15am
Track: 
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Location: 
Atlantic Hall
Section: 
G
Position: 
5
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Session: 
Discovery Session 2
Abstract

The online visual annotation software VoiceThread was integrated into a face-to-face design studio to promote the exchange of ideas needed for effective problem-based learning.

Extended Abstract

Jody Lawrence, MArch, MAT
Doctoral Student, College of Design, University of Minnesota
Brad Hokanson, PhD
Professor and Director of Educational Futures, College of Design, University of Minnesota

Extended Abstract

To promote the dynamic and frequent exchange of ideas needed for project-based courses, we recently integrated VoiceThread into a traditional, in-person Interior Design studio. This resulted in engaging students and strengthening their connection with the subject outside of class. During this Discovery Session, we'll share how this technology has enhanced the learning and teaching experience.

VoiceThread is an online discussion space where visual media can be uploaded and presented as a slideshow or "thread." The program allows viewers to give feedback on the contents of a thread by leaving typed, audio, or video comments combined with a drawing tool. We used this technology to facilitate instructor and peer critiques because of its capabilities to annotate images of student work. The program was very successful in engaging students; the threads provided students a place to share the development of their ideas and contribute to meaningful discussions. Students valued the experience of engaging with other students in this way as well as the ability to get additional input from faculty. Aside from single studio use, we also used VoiceThread as a critiquing tool across multiple sections of an identical course.

We also used VoiceThread as an alternative method for critique from outside professionals, which is a common activity for design courses. Such critiques typically occur in-person and are time consuming. They can often be difficult to organize due to scheduling conflicts. VoiceThread's communication attributes enabled us to organize critiques with professionals from all over the country. The asynchronous technology made it easy to participate, allowing visiting critics to comment at their convenience, and students to review their comments privately and on their own time. The program provided a unique longitudinal record of critique where students could upload the progress of their work, and continue their discussion with professionals throughout the development of their project. The VoiceThread critiques were exported and archived as digital video files as a record of the interaction for later review.

VoiceThread has proven to be invaluable resource to our design course, and illustrates how we can readily and successfully integrate online sources into design education. The program demonstrates an effective way for students to critique the work of their peers and provides a method for students to connect with the industry, bridging studio and practice. Integrating VoiceThread has improved the fluency and frequency of student-teacher communication beyond the studio, expanding class critique time.

Our students have adopted the integration of VoiceThread as a dependable resource that empowers and enhances their learning. They say this technology has been an exciting way to share their work, to connect more with the instructor, and that it supports a more efficient, productive, and fluid learning experience.

Presenter Bios

Jody Lawrence is a Doctoral Student and Graduate Instructor at the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. With a background in architecture, educational facility planning, design studio instruction, creative problem solving courses, K-12 teaching, science and music, Jody's scholarly interests stem from a diverse integration of disciplines. Jody is currently developing research that examines contexts that foster creative instruction. She is also collaborating on projects that explore online technology as a catalyst for extending the traditional design studio.

Brad Hokanson is a professor in Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota. He has a diverse academic record, including degrees in art, architecture, urban design, and received his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology. He teaches in the area of creative problem solving has published research in the fields of creativity and educational technology. He is completing research on the relationship between creativity and achievement in school children, comparing measured creativity with standardized achievement scores. He is also planning his third massive online course on creativity for the University of Minnesota. Previous courses enrolled over 52,000 learners.

Lead Presenter

Jody Lawrence is a Doctoral Student and Graduate Instructor at the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. With a background in architecture, educational facility planning, design studio instruction, creative problem solving courses, K-12 teaching, science and music, Jody's scholarly interests stem from a diverse integration of disciplines. Jody is currently developing research that examines contexts that foster creative instruction. She is also collaborating on projects that explore online technology as a catalyst for extending the traditional design studio.

Notes: 

Connect with Jody on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jody-nyboer-lawrence/14/299/4b8

Read Jody's recent contribution to the VoiceThread blog: http://blog.voicethread.com/2015/09/28/voicethread-an-online-counterpart...

Participate to try you chance at a one-year license to VoiceThread - compliments of VT! https://voicethread.com/myvoice/#thread/7156488 (first one to post wins!)