VoiceThread is one of my favorite free, online applications.  If you’re not familiar with VoiceThread it is a “collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.” Users can also doodle while commenting, highlighting various features of the images, video or document what will sync up with the voice comments. In order to do all these great things it uses Adobe Flash which means it won’t run on many mobile devices.

However recently VoiceThread released a new mobile app that allows you to view, create and comment on VoiceThreads from your iPad or iPhone.  I just finished testing it and I think it is a really great app.  It’s not as full featured as the online Flash-based application you use on your computer but it has most of the features you would want in a mobile app.   The biggest issue I see on the mobile app is the inability to alter the Playback and Sharing Options.  This isn’t a deal breaker because you can always log in to your online account at a later time and change the settings there but it’s just a bit inconvenience.

What you can do:

  • Search and view existing public VoiceThreads
  • Create new VoiceThreads (only 3)
  • Upload images and videos from your Camera Roll
  • Rearrange media order
  • Delete media
  • Comment using voice and text
  • Doodle during voice commenting which is so much easier on the mobile device than on a computer
  • Add a title, description and tags for your VoiceThread
  • Share VoiceThreads
  • View and edit VoiceThreads you have created, either online or using the app
  • View basic stats on your VoiceThread such as the number of views, comments and votes
  • View and manage comments awaiting moderation
  • View and edit (if applicable) VoiceThread that have been shared with you
  • Change your “voice” profile

What you cannot do:

  • Alter the Sharing Options (see defaults below)
  • Alter Playback Options (see defaults below)
  • Set or alter your profile image
  • Update your profile information

Playback Options default settings

The VoiceThread app gives you the following playback defaults for any VoiceThreads created within the app.  To change these settings you need to log in to VoiceThread from a computer browser.

Sharing Options default settings

The VoiceThread app gives you the following sharing defaults for any VoiceThreads created within the app.  To change these settings you need to log in to VoiceThread from a computer browser.

Restrictions – this may be a deal-breaker…

According to the VoiceThread Mobile app site “Commenting is always free, and you can make five free VoiceThreads using this app. After that, you can purchase another five VoiceThreads or upgrade to a Pro subscription. A Pro subscription is $5.99 per month, and allows you to create an unlimited number of VoiceThreads.”   I’m not 100% sure about this.

  • First of all, it only allowed me to create 3 not 5 using the app.
  • Second, unlike the VoiceThread on the web, I couldn’t delete existing VoiceThreads (VTs) to reset my creation number.  In other words, in the online version I’m only allowed to have three VTs so when I reach my max I just need to delete one in order to be able to create another.  When using the app, I created three then deleted two but I still wasn’t allowed to create any more.  This is a big problem, especially if you are trying to use it in K12 ed with limited funds.
A possible workaround, that I have yet to test, might be to replace the images in an existing VoiceThread instead of deleting it.  This might let you continue to create them while only keeping 3 but I can’t be sure yet.

If you love the app and reach your max you can buy 5 more VTs for $2.99 and unlimited for $5.99 per month.

Despite this flaw I still recommend trying this app.  I think you’ll really like it.