Voicethread is pretty sweet. My mind is racing with ways I can use this in class. Off the top of my head, I like it for topics I want to make sure students look at, but that aren't nearly important enough for class discussions, or when class ends on a Friday afternoon and I want students to weigh in on something quickly because I know they'll forget what they were thinking about by Monday morning. I love it as a way to deal with students who might have to deal with absences (especially extended ones) or unexpected snow days if there's something that an email alone might not cover. I love that it's interactive. I love that different organizations and museums can create their own tutorials about things in their collections. Did you see the New York Public Library's voicethread? I also found a librarian's series of book talks. The possibilities are endless...
I also really like that this might give teachers a way to reach students with different learning styles, who are more auditory than visual, and a great option for dealing with absences or school closings. If a student misses a class, I usually just send her a copy of the Powerpoint (if one was used for notes or to guide discussions) and tell her to read it and check a classmate's notes if there's anything unclear. I'm not sure that really works for everyone. Honestly, I suspect a lot of students rely more heavily on the notes from a peer instead of the file anyway. But if instead I uploaded individual slides and commented on them, to call attention to the extra important ideas, or to share some of the significant responses to questions, that could be a lot more useful.
I will say I had some technical trouble hearing my playback and embedding the file. I was prompted at one point to make sure that no more than two tabs were open in my browser and thought that was a little annoying (who's ever online with only two tabs open?), but overall, my problems were minimal and the site seems pretty user-friendly. I'll definitely be thinking more about how to integrate it in the future.
Without further ado, my first Voicethread: