In the middle of the school day, I received the e-mail with the news that one of my favorite tools, VoiceThread , has added a new service:
The ability to download a VoiceThread
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.
My first reaction was to let my network on Twitter know.
Not too much later more tweets started popping up with with everyone realizing the not so good news.
Going back to the e-mail from VoiceThead and re-reading the details:
During a beta test period the export function will only be available to Pro users, at no charge. After this period 10 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.
I felt like the air had been taken out of a balloon!! I had grand visions of making different classroom projects available for students to downloading them onto their iPods or burning them onto CDs as a year end classroom gift demonstrating the growth of our elementary school kids.
The teachers at our school have really taken tremendously to this storytelling tool.
- Kindergarten kids have created Valentine’s messages for their parents
- First graders have have recorded their voices to the question: “If I were President…” and illustrated and recorded “Our Favorite Season”
- All second graders worked collaboratively on a Solar System VoiceThread, demonstrating their knowledge about our plants and even sang a song to remember all the names and their order
- Sixth graders wrote and recorded monologues from the perspective of different Greek Gods
- The entire school is participating in a cross-level and cross-subject project in documenting what we have learned in our year long Egypt study. Over 400 voices will add to a summary of a year long Journey to Egypt
This tremendous success, participation AND collaboration has ONLY been possible through the generous policy of VoiceThread in providing a free account for educators.
Please also read NJTechTeacher and her musings on the VoiceThread upgrade and from Miguel Guhlin on Around the Corner. Miguel already has written to VoiceThread and received a response from Steve Muth:
It’s not available to educators just yet, we’re beta testing for a couple of weeks with our Pro users to get all the bugs out and to get some real data on how much these things are going to cost us. Our napkin calculations need a little work;) We’re definitely not going to be able to do it for free but we’re hoping to get it really really, really low for educators. I can’t tell you how excited we are at the possibility you just described, we just need to figure out a way to make it work. Thanks very much for all your support, -Steve
Please VoiceThread, PLEASE make this really, really , R E A L L Y low for educators. We are willing to test your services, introduce it to a new generation of subscribers, take it to the next level, advertise for you on our blogs, wikis, podcasts and in our presentations around the world. You will not find a more loyal group of professionals once we found a product and service that is teacher and student friendly.
Maybe we can earn points toward free downloads for every school project that has been completed or new educators we refer to VoiceThread??