Over the last week I have been playing with Voki.com to create my own speaking avatar to embed into my blog or ning pages. The avatars can be customised by choosing the character heads, eyes, mouth and even make up! I chose my outfit and then changed my mind at least 10 times! This behaviour has no resemblance to me in real life!!! I chose a background, a photo of one of my classrooms which I uploaded, but you can choose from the backgrounds that are already supplied. I recorded my message so my avatar had my voice. If you are a bit shy or don’t have a mic you can use the computer voice for your message. I like to personalise the voice.
I have been interested in finding ways that these speaking avatars can be used to in the educational context of a classroom.
Here are some possibilities (from discussions in Classroom2.0) :-
- Students can create avatars that are similar in looks or personalities and record a message that tells about themselves.
- Students can exchange these avatars with e-pals either within their own setting or anywhere in the world.
- Students can generate questions to ask their avatar e-pals.
- ESL (English as a Second Language) students can use the speaking avatars to practice and listen to their speech. They may use the computerised voice first then record their own voice when they feel more comfortable. Writing, reading and pronunciation are all practised.
- Students can create an avatar that resembles a character from a story, add a setting and give it speech. The speech could be from the story or a creative point of view (POV) from the character on an event.
I guess it is the way the technology is used. If used creatively and linked with what the kids are learning at the time (rather than a stand alone lesson) then there is greater chance of it being a meaningful experience that can generate discussions and reach learning outcomes.
Have you used the Voki avatar in an interesting and purposeful way?