Teaching with VoiceThread in the Hindi Classroom

“For intermediate Hindi students, I use VoiceThread to tell a story. I show students a picture and one person starts the story and then they take turns adding events to create a full story. This is a very good way to practice speaking.”  –Kusum Knapczyk, Ph.D

Kusum Knapczyk, Ph.D, a lecturer in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies department uses VoiceThread in her Elementary Hindi 101 and Intermediate Hindi 203 classes to engage students in a multimedia-rich foreign language learning experience. In this post, Knapczyk shares her teaching strategies and approach.

Peer-to-Peer Learning Experience

Kusum Knapczuk, Ph.D.
Kusum Knapczuk, Ph.D.

Knapczyk explains how VoiceThread creates an engaging language learning experience:

“I started using VoiceThread in Fall 2016 when I joined Duke. It is very easy to use compared to other software I used previously. The big advantage I feel is that each VoiceThread is separate and students can listen to each other’s comments. I use this software with elementary Hindi students for speaking and reading practice.”

A benefit of using VoiceThread in a large class is that the professor does not have to use precious lecture time to practice reading with each student.  VoiceThread allows Knapczyk to “record dialogues and then have students listen to and record their own version of the dialogues.”

Student Feedback

Students have reacted positively to this teaching approach, as we learn from this learner’s story:

“VoiceThread is a good way to improve our speaking skills and having an example is helpful. I think VoiceThread has been helpful in teaching me how to read better, and it also helped me immensely with my pronunciation. It also allows time to speak and cancel when I make mistakes. It lets me practice reading Hindi over and over to [improve] speaking and comprehension.” –Hindi student

Knapczyk gives her students a time limit to record the dialogues so they practice before recording their VoiceThread. She states “I am very glad to see my students’ progress in speaking and reading.”

VoiceThread is a useful tool to help students practice and develop their active oral skills outside of the face-to-face classroom. Students can practice a foreign language orally, and engage in a conversation exchange with their classmates. It’s a great collaboration and peer-to-peer learning approach.

Knapczyk hopes to use more VoiceThread features in the future and experiment with innovative teaching approaches. VoiceThread has recently announced new features, including collaborate with commenters, find comments, and YouTube imports.

Learn more about teaching with VoiceThread

Sophia Stone, Ed.D.

Author: Sophia Stone, Ed.D.

Sophia collaborates with faculty to provide pedagogical and academic technology consulting, training, and project management, for campus-based and online initiatives. She consults on innovative teaching practices across academic disciplines, and works with faculty on course planning, course design and development, and assessment strategies. Her research interests include global online education, instructional design, faculty development, distance education, and international learners.