Voice Thread vs Camtasia

In my previous post, I talked about Voice Thread and a little bit about Camtasia, but I did not go into depth as to what I liked about both software and what I thought of them. Let me start by saying that on the surface they seem very similar but they are not. Sure they both can do screencasting, but how one can use them is different.

Voice Thread is a wonderful tool when you want to start a conversation with your students or get the course to be more interactive as online courses can seem static, cold, and impersonal. For the past few weeks, I have been using Voice Thread to talk about what we are doing for the week and my students have been responding in a very positive way to my Voice Threads so I am planning on using this tool to do class discussions and a couple of assignments. I think that when I think of Voice Thread the word personal comes to mind. In a way, it recreates the in-class room interaction between the instructor and the students, which is something that has been missing in an online classroom.

So here is an example of Voice Thread for ESL students discussing the infinitive and the gerund: https://voicethread.com/about/library/infinitive_or_gerund/

On the other hand, Camtasia which is created by TechSmith is an amazing software if you want to create professional screencasts or lessons. Unlike Voice Thread which is a tool that allows you to do more of in the moment type activities it does not allow you to edit and fine tune your work like Camtasia does. Camtasia is a lot more complex than Voice Thread but worth learning to use if you want to produce online lectures and quizzes.Here is a video of what Camtasia is all about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGzYeh5lp54&feature=youtu.be

Having said that, I think Camtasia and Voice Thread are both worth knowing how to use as they fulfill a different aspect of e-learning. I am planning on continuing to use both kinds of software in my courses in order to create a multidimensional experience in my online lessons in order to keep my students learning and moving forward with their education.



Voice Thread

I have begun using Voice Thread for my online courses as my university decided to incorporate it into Blackboard, Hurray for smart decisions!!! I say this because I have used everything under the sun from Adobe Presenter to Adobe Captivate to Camtasia to create video lectures, but somehow they seemed cumbersome because once I created the videos I had to upload them to YouTube or to Vimeo, then take the link and uploaded to Blackboard. It was too many steps and the students could only watch. My video lectures lacked interactivity, which is so important for an online class. If they had a question then they had to exit the video and go to the Q&A to post a question. With Voice Thread the students can view the lecture and then comment orally or via text on what I discussed. This function is such a great feature as it lends itself to so many interactive activities in an online course.

Once I just finished posting a response to students podcast reflections using Voice Thread this tool really showed me the possibilities it has, as a student within minutes of share the thread posted a response to tell me that he finally understood how the assignments work. It seems that because the student could hear me speak and explain the way the assignment structure work it really helped him understand what I was telling him via text. That is so powerful and amazing to me.

The other thing that I liked was that it took me only a few minutes to record and share an oral message with my students. I think that the only thing I didn’t like was that it did not allow me to edit my recording. This is such a small thing and I am sure as I get more familiar with it I will discover the rest of the features Voice Thread has to offer.