I’ve been a huge fan of VoiceThread since I discovered it late last spring. In fact, every teacher I’ve shown it to falls for it instantly. We love its teeny-tiny learning curve and its huge potential for communicating and sharing stories, artifacts, art, etc.
Ed.VoiceThread went live yesterday. The new web-based, multimedia collaborative network, offers a more secure solution for those who’d like to play in the 2.0 sandbox but have to deal with the realities of district restrictions on social networking.
The folks at VoiceThread describe the tool as:
More like a pencil than a software platform, Ed.VoiceThread is a space for creating digital stories and documentaries, practicing language skills, exploring geography and culture, solving math problems, collaborating with other students, or simply finding and honing student voices.
Unlike the continuing free version of VoiceThread, all users of the educational version will be registered and responsible for their content and behavior. Ed.VoiceThread will be restricted to K-12 educators, students and administrators.
VoiceThread explains the reason for pricing its educational service:
Web services with free accounts are blocked in many school districts because of child online protection policies, and are not eligible for federal eRate monies. For this reason, there are no free Ed.VoiceThread accounts and student email addresses are not required.
While VoiceThread offers reasonable pricing for annual whole-school subscriptions, (the base school rate is $50/month or $600/year allowing up to 60 GB of bandwidth), a Pioneer Class subscription rate is now available for the first 1000 applicants. This may be the right solution for visionary teachers who are just introducing their schools to VoiceThread as a tool. Pioneer subscriptions are available for $10 for one month, or $60 to subscribe an entire class for the school year and allows an educator to offer every student his or her own account.
VoiceThread would prefer:
to empower teachers to lead the way without having to personally pay for it because the responsibility to provide safe and effective learning tools should not fall to the educator. We urge you to advocate for a school subscription, (contact us if you need help convincing, cajoling, and stepping on toes;) If a school subscribes to the network within the first year, we will refund the $60 paid by an educator who started a Pioneer Class. This would make the cost to the educator $0, which is exactly what we think it should be.
For further information on the Ed.VoiceThread network, check the FAQs.