Photo of Using a Bilingual Spanish-English Dictionary by David Thompson

Using a Bilingual Spanish-English Dictionary by David Thompson

By David Thompson



VoiceThread is a tool that allows instructors to create on-line learning tutorials that are both content-rich and interactive. Not only can tutorials made with VoiceThread help students see concepts and processes better, they let students actively engage the concepts / processes. Interactive tutorials made with VoiceThread ask students to practice what they learn outside of class, so the instructor can observe their practice, respond with feedback, or modify classroom teaching to address students’ needs.


I began with a kind of storyboard on paper to conceptualize the tutorial on using a bilingual dictionary. I tried to start with a “problem” or assignment that a student might encounter in a typical Spanish class, imagine some common pitfalls in translating from English to Spanish, then create a procedure for using a bilingual dictionary well to translate from one language to the other.

I transformed the storyboard into PowerPoint slides and made a few digital images from dictionaries using a scanner and image editing software. I uploaded all of the slides and images to a VoiceThread, arranged them according to the structure of the tutorial I created with the storyboard, then made voice and text comments to each slide to narrate the tutorial and instructions for students.


The goal was to create a tutorial that would serve as a resource for students who need to perform translations in English/Spanish. Using a bilingual dictionary correctly is an important skill for nearly all language students, and this tutorial aims to help students understand how to use a dictionary well. Moreover, the tutorial aims to be interactive, demonstrating a procedure for students and then asking them to practice the procedure in the VoiceThread itself.

Easy Parts

The easiest part was creating the storyboard, problem and examples.


The hardest part was creating the voice narration to accompany each slide. I spent a significant amount of time writing and revising the voice comments for each slide, so that they would form a logical sequence throughout the tutorial.


I used PowerPoint and image editing software.


I can imagine all sorts of interactive tutorials with VoiceThread. VoiceThread was made to facilitate interaction and collaboration, so there are many possibilities for tutorials in which instructors provide content and ask students to practice concepts or processes.