Tuesday, September 20, 2011

VoiceThread SmartTeacher Badge Program

After four years of transforming my online and face-to-face teaching through the use of VoiceThread (and other fabulous tools), I am now officially working for VoiceThread as a (paid) consultant.  I share that to be transparent but also because I'm really excited! 

Since I resigned from my most recent full-time academic position nearly two years ago, I've been in search of my next step.  I can't say I've found it yet but it feels really great to be working for a company that has brought so much value into my own teaching and fostered such dynamic, inclusive learning environments for so many of my students who commonly feel marginalized in traditional "lecture-based" classes (or online classes that are the virtual equivalent of a lecture class).

Over the coming months, I'll be fleshing out my role with VoiceThread but I have been tasked with developing training and support for higher ed clients about the effective integration of VoiceThread in support of pedagogy.  How cool is that?

Last week, I felt like the planets were aligned when the new HASTAC Digital Media & Learning Competition was announced.  This is fourth competition released in this series and it's focus is on "Badges for Lifelong Learning."  In an instant, I had a vision of how VoiceThread could develop a training program designed around digital badges that also fosters the ongoing development and sharing of open educational resources.

With the support of Steve Muth and Ben Papell, the VoiceThread co-founders, I began to write.  And today I entered our submission into the DML Competition.  It's titled the "VoiceThread SmartTeacher Badge Program" and you can read the full submission overview here (and leave a comment or "like" it while you are there!). 

Essentially, it's an open training program built around the concept of "SmartTeaching" which integrates the use of VoiceThread into a learning environment using the principles of Universal Design for Learning and brain research.  The program trains educators to teach with VoiceThread while simultaneously developing a growing repository of VoiceThread samples, shared with a CC license in support of open educational resources. 

And three cheers for Pat James, Dean of Technology and Distance Learning at Mt. San Jacinto College, who immediately supported the concept and got institutional support to participate in a pilot.  All this is contingent, however, upon the grant's approval.  So wish us luck!

Then leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  If you like the concept, please share it with your networks!
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