Thursday, June 25, 2009

Documenting NECC 2009 with the New VoiceThread Mobile Application

It took something really exciting to get me to blog about it…

On Sunday, June 28, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., I am presenting a pre-conference workshop at NECC in Washington, DC on “Using VoiceThread and a Camera to Track Student Learning.” The 19 participants are in for a treat as I will be sharing the new VoiceThread Mobile Application. I have been talking (begging for) with Ben Papell and Steve Muth, co-founders of VoiceThread, about a mobile VoiceThread application and knew they have had something in development for quite awhile. I spoke with Ben Papell, co-founder of VoiceThread, earlier this evening and he provided me with the details on the brand new application, permission to blog about it and the okay to share with my pre-conference attendees. Although it is still in “Alpha,” and there are a few bugs, the new application has some amazing possibilities and allows VoiceThread users the ability to create Threads on-the-fly with a cell phone camera. My conversation with Ben and my initial testing of the application has me really excited about sharing and using it. This is something I have been looking forward to and think that I will make more Threads this way than with my computer.

VT Presentation, originally uploaded by klmontgomery.

My family and I are leaving tomorrow night and driving to Washington, DC. I have embedded a Thread below that I started with my iPhone to track our trip before, during and after NECC. I am planning to upload all the photos and comments from my iPhone throughout our trip starting tomorrow night. I have made the Thread public, if you'd like to add a comment, please do. Of course, all comments are moderated:-)

My 2009 NECC Trip

In order to use the VoiceThread Mobile App you must have a VoiceThread account, a camera phone and a data plan that allows you to e-mail photos from your phone. The application is very simple to use. Send a photo from your cell phone via e-mail to the VoiceThread mobile e-mail address. The e-mail account you are sending from needs to be the same as the e-mail associated with your VoiceThread account. When the photo is received, you immediately receive an e-mail from VoiceThread that tells you, “Just reply to this email and we'll use the media you attached to create or add to a VoiceThread.” But that’s not all. You can also do some really neat things by adding some text to your reply message, like:

• Include your 10-digit US/CA phone number, e.g. 5555555555, and VoiceThread will call you for comments.

• Include "share" and VoiceThread will make it public and send you an email with a link that you can send to all your friends.

• Attach more files and VoiceThread will add those too.

• Add a title to your Thread by typing title:anythingyouwant, e.g. title:My 2009 NECC Trip" And if your title matches one of your current Threads, VoiceThread will just add your media to it.

• Add a text comment by typing comment:anythingyouwant, e.g. comment:Can you believe I ate that?"

• Here's an example of a reply e-mail that calls you for a comment, sends you a sharing link, and gives your Thread a title:
5555555555 share title:I can't believe how beautiful Washington DC is!"
That's it!

Once you have created a Thread, you can continue to add more photos from your cell phone by putting the title of the Thread in the subject line. The first photo you send becomes the first photo in the Thread, so if you embed a Thread, the last photo displayed will be the most recent addition. Photos can also be added from a computer like any other Thread. With my new iPhone, I am able to send multiple photos with the initial e-mail, thus creating mobile Threads with more than just one photo. At this point, only photos can be sent, but VoiceThread is still working on the entire mobile feature set and it is literally changing hour-by-hour. You won’t see the mobile application, yet, which is why I haven’t shared the e-mail address used to create a Thread from a cell phone. Those participating in my pre-con workshop will have an opportunity to try it. Be sure to stay tuned.

By the way, if you are interested in participating in the pre-conference workshop, you can still register onsite. There are 11 seats available. Attendees receive $25 worth of exports & are entered in a drawing for a school ($200 value) account.

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Karen Montgomery is the author of Gomeric Hill. The opinions expressed herein are mine and not necessarily those of my employer.