Tools for Asynchronously Collecting Stories

Nearly fifteen years ago I used VoiceThread to have my students collect stories from their parents about changes in the community since their time in high school. VoiceThread is still available today although it costs a lot more than it did when I used it (it was free back then). There are other free tools that can be used today to have students collect stories in the manner that mine did years ago. Three of those tools are Flipgrid, Synth, and Wakelet.
Flipgrid was originally designed for classroom use for students to share video messages with their teachers and classmates. About a year ago Flipgrid introduced the option to invited parents to participate in conversations in Flipgrid. Inviting parents to participate in a conversation in Flipgrid can be a good way to collect short local history stories. Another good use of this feature is to host a virtual career day in which parents share information about their careers. This video shows you how to use the guest option in Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is great but some people don’t like to put their faces in a video. In that case Synth is a good option to use to invite people to participate in online conversations. Synth is a simple podcasting tool that lets you record for about five minutes and publish your audio recording. People who listen to your recording can respond with their own recordings that get threaded below your original.


Wakelet makes it possible collect all kinds of files in one collaborative collection. Files can be video, audio, text, images, or links to other sources. If your students have made a multimedia book with something like Book Creator, it can be displayed on Wakelet. Wakelet also includes Flipgrid’s video recording tool.

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