Using VoiceThread as a Tool for Language Learning




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Learning Outcomes

  • creation of an educational VoiceThread [1] product that students take ownership of and are eager to share with the world
  • usage of the future tense verb in Spanish
  • demonstrate increased knowledge of grammar, pronunciation and presentation skills
  • communication in Spanish of ideas and opinions surrounding a central theme of discussion

Course Rationale

When learning a second language, learners often struggle in several key areas:

  • comprehending new vocabulary
  • mastering pronunciation
  • expressing complete thoughts in the target language
  • fear of not being understood

VoiceThread is a powerful web 2.0 technology that allows language learners the opportunity to interact in an online discussion, while practicing good speaking and writing skills. Practice in the target language is strengthened by interaction with peers and teachers through discussions centered on topics of interest. Because VoiceThread allows participants to respond in oral or written form, this technology supports a multiple intelligence approach to language learning. Time is often an important factor in inhibiting student participation in a traditional classroom because there is not time for reflection when a question is posed.

Using VoiceThread, there is ample time for students to properly reflect and construct a response before posting to the discussion. This helps encourage participation and builds learner confidence. Additionally, language expression is strengthened because students can correct any mistakes in voice recordings or typed text before posting to the class discussion. Using a visual prompt supported by a guiding question in the target language, students add comments and inquiries based on their level of language ability. This encourages all students to participate irregardless of their level of language competence. Lastly, publicizing a student's production online allows for a greater audience, increasing student motivation and attention to details, while also fostering a greater sense of work pride.

This mini-course is designed for students completing a Spanish III Regents level course where the ability to converse in the target language forms a significant portion of the state assessment. It is believed that the more practice students receive in listening to and using Spanish, the more comfortable they will become in conversation. A high degree of grammar recognition and usage is expected of language students at this stage. Instruction in grammar, although essential, is often dry and uninteresting to many language learners. VoiceThread fills the instructional need for such practice while, at the same time, offering students the opportunity to improve the overall level of their language skills. Very few language learning technologies offer students the ability to practice speaking, reading listening and writing while focusing on one umbrella topic. Using VoiceThread in the language classroom has the ability to improve vocabulary, improve pronunciation, assist students in constructing well-developed responses through reflection, and decreases language use inhibition among students

Performance Objectives

It is intended that, by the termination of the VoiceThread project, students will be able to:

  • recognize and use the future verb tense in Spanish
  • define how VoiceThread works and how to leave comments in written and recorded form
  • construct a lively and interactive class discussion in the target language surrounding the chosen topic
  • utilize good control of the Spanish language exemplified by good grammar,good vocabulary and good pronunciation
  • demonstrate a growth of language ability utilizing the future tense through group conversations

Prerequisite Skills

  • moderate computer skills and abilities
  • ability to select and sequence a series of events represented by a visual
  • content knowledge in Spanish
  • basic understanding of language transfer skills from native language (English) to target language (Spanish)
  • ability to decode, process and respond to classmates in target language (Spanish)in both written and oral form
  • self motivation and positive attitude

Instructional Curriculum Map

See Barbara's Portfolio Page


Unit 1: Introducing the Future Verb Tense in Spanish


Learning Outcomes

It is expected that, by the end of Unit 1, students will be able to correctly identify the future tense verb endings in Spanish and that they demonstrate proper verb usage in written and oral practice activities. It is intended that students will be familiar with the future tense in all four language components: reading, speaking, listening and writing.

Performance Objectives

  1. Students will be able to identify verb endings associated with the future tense in -ar, -er and -ir verbs
  2. Students will be able to aurally discriminate verbs spoken in the future tense
  3. Students will be able to incorporate the future tense conjugation in conversation with peers
  4. Students will be able to classify passages written in the future tense
  5. Students will be able to answer questions and generate simple essays using the future tense


Prerequisite knowledge consists of the student's ability to:

  • use computer technology
  • use Inspiration as a graphic organizing tool
  • navigate and use as a learning resource for reading, listening and writing practice in Spanish

Learning Activities

Lesson 1: Introduction to the Future Tense Verb Endings Using a Graphic Organizer

1. First, direct instruction showing the future tense verb endings will take place. Afterwords, students will be instructed to go to to construct and fill-in a graphic organizer. Students will then demonstrate their knowledge of the appropriate verb endings for the future tense in Spanish.

2. Next, using a list of some common Spanish verbs, the students will complete a table of the future tense for all pronouns, thereby compiling a useful list for future writing practices.

           File:Spanish Future Verb Tense Fill.doc

3. Finally, students will be asked to produce a set of flash cards for practicing future verb tense with an array of verb types and conjugates. They will use the conjugates from their fill-in table. Paired in groups of 2, the students will hold up the Spanish conjugated verbs to their partner while the latter translates to English. The two students then switch roles.

Lesson 2: Reading and Writing Practice Using the Future Tense

1. Using the website students will be asked to practice their future tense verb skills. As a formative assessment, students will access the Study Spanish website and follow the grammar--->Unit 9--->lesson 99 links to the future tense lessons. Completion of exercises a - g will allow student to pinpoint any problem verb conjugates they may have.

2. As an exercise in future tense verb writing, four questions will be written on the whiteboard for reflection:

  • Como sera la escuela en el futuro? (What will school be like in the future?)
  • Como sera el transporte en el futuro? (What will transportation be like in the future?)
  • Como sera la communidad en el futuro? (What will communities be like in the future?)
  • Como sera la communicacion en el futuro? (What will communication be like in the future?)

Students will be asked to answer each question in Spanish using 2-3 sentences. These will be turned in for corrections so that students can learn where they need to strengthen their language skills.

Lesson 3: Listening and Speaking Practice Using the Future Tense

1. In order to become familiar with listening to the future tense in Spanish, students will use the blog site by Zachary Jones, Actualidades. Go to and listen to the song by Nek entitled, Deseo que ya no puede ser (#10 on the play list). Students will then complete the Clozeline activity by clicking on the artist's link from the Actividades close list. This exercise will be printed and turned in for grading.

2. Students will be asked to practice the future tense in Spanish by composing a 100 word essay on how they imagine themselves to be in the far future. These will be graded using the NYS Spanish Regents Writing Rubric.

Unit 2: Planning and Producing a Spanish VoiceThread Conversation


Learning Outcomes

It is expected that students will complete this unit with the ability to use VoiceThread as a recording tool for oral and written Spanish. Other performance expectations include the ability to navigate VoiceThread, add pictures, modify character identities, use the draw feature in VoiceThread, and demonstrate an overall comfortable level of usage with the technology tool.

Performance Objectives

  1. Students will identify the structure and functions of VoiceThread 2.0 technology
  2. Students will demonstrate the various functions on VoiceThread for recording responses
  3. Students will generate, discuss, and collaborate on responses to the questions posed in Spanish on the future of the world


Students should have:

  • previous knowledge of recording devices and playback equipment
  • previous use of computers

Learning Activities

Lesson 1: What is VoiceThread and how does it work?

1. Introduction to the structure and use of VoiceTherad: Students will use the following tutorial to become familiar with the components of VoiceThread. They will be encouraged to explore and experiment using this technology tool. A mock VoiceThread will be set up beforehand that will allow the students to experiment with recording voice and text.

              File:How to use VoiceThread.doc
Lesson 2: Brainstorming and construction of a VoiceThread Conversation: Como sera el mundo en el futuro?

1. Using the central question: Como sera el mundo en el futuro? (What will the world be like in the future?) students will practice using the future tense in an open classroom discussion.

2. Using the constructed answers that students produced from Unit 1, Lesson 2.2, students will orally practice their responses with each other in order to prepare for VoiceThread recordings.

Unit 3: Generating Classroom VoiceThread Discussions in Spanish

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Learning Outcomes

It is expected that at the termination of Unit 3, students will be proficient in their knowledge and use of the future tense in Spanish. Through the construction of a VoiceThread classroom project, students will demonstrate strong linguistic abilities to recognize, use and incorporate the future tense in writing and speaking activities.

Performance Objectives

  1. Students will generate two voice recorded responses using the future tense in Spanish in response to two specific questions about the future of the world
  2. Students will generate two written responses using the future tense in Spanish in response to two specific questions about the future of the world.
  3. Students will classify the quality of the produced VoiceThread as a tool for learning language
  4. Students will execute and facilitate further discussion in the class-created VoiceThread by adding more conversational content


Students will need to know how to:

  • use VoiceThread to produce written and recorded comments
  • use the future tense in Spanish as part of an interactive classroom discussion given a specific prompt

Learning Activities

Lesson 1: Composing and recording oral responses in VoiceThread

1. Using the VoiceThread Tutorial as a guide, students will record two oral comments in VoiceThread answering the first two questions posed in Unit 1, Lesson 2.2

Lesson 2: Composing and producing written responses in VoiceThread

1. Using the VoiceThread Tutorial as a guide, students will record two written comments in VoiceThread answering the second two questions posed in Unit 1, Lesson 2.2

Lesson 3: Student practice as VoiceThread discussion facilitators

1. Students who finish the assignment early may post additional questions concerning life in the future, and act as discussion facilitators for those posts.

2. When all students have posted responses to all 4 questions from Unit 1, Lesson 2.2, we will review the entire VoiceThread for comments and discussion.


This project was actually completed this quarter in my 10th grade Spanish Regents class. The project was assessed using the NYS Spanish Regents Writing and Speaking Rubric. The link to the finished VoiceThread may be found below:

       Spanish Regents VoiceThread: Como sera el mundo en el futuro?[2]

Back to Barbara's Portfolio Page

Back to ETAP 623 Fall 2009