Voki avatars in the classroom

Voki picOver 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) :-

  1. Students can create avatars that are similar in looks or personalities and record a message that tells about themselves.
  2. Students can exchange these avatars with e-pals either within their own setting or anywhere in the world.
  3. Students can generate questions to ask their avatar e-pals.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

21 thoughts on “Voki avatars in the classroom

  1. Helen, I’ve seen Vokis on other blogs and I’ve thought that they would be a really cool way to get students on board with a topic. But… I haven’t done anything about it. I wasn’t even sure that they could be embedded in edublogs but your post shows me otherwise. Well, now I’ll need to have a go – my IWB in the classroom will never be the same! Thanks for the inspiration, Helen! And cool to have another Aussie educator to follow on Twitter.

  2. Thanks Graham. I copied the code under the wordpress option for Voki and pasted it into a text box for the side panel. And it worked. Yeh!
    See you on Twitter.

  3. What an excellent way to use Voki! Thank you for incorporating Voki into your classroom. Please know that I put the good word out (on Digg) and already Educational News picked it up. I hope your students have a great time making their Vokis!

  4. Thank you Team Voki. We will keep exploring the Voki possibilities.

  5. Helen, what a nice note from Voki team. I have to see about making one for my edublog too. Thanks for writing this nice post too to get us to start thinking about some more possibilities.

    I was thinking that is might be fun for ESL/EFL students to has 4 vokis on a page .. the first one asks a questions or begins a dialog … then the next 3 vokis (A, B, C) would have answers, or continue with logical dialog … and the student would listen and pick the correct language sample …

    See ya
    Frank
    Frank’s Faces of Web 2.0 ★ 21st Century Teachers

  6. Thanks Frank. I like your idea. I will add your blog to my blogroll.

  7. Great ideas on how to use the speaking avatars with students. I am adding your page to my blog.

  8. Thanks aaplem. I’ll have a look at your blog too.

  9. Hi Helen
    We met the other night at the Blogger’s feast at South Bank. thanks for your suggestions on voki. I’m going to try and put in on my edublog and get my yr7 students to have a play with them.

  10. Yes, it was a good night. Loved meeting up with people. I think your students might like the Vokis. They are fun.

  11. I use Vlki on my wiki! LoL. That sounds funny! Also, in united streaming, I use avatars to read the directions to the assignments I create. Love ‘em!!

  12. Hi Helen,
    I have just signed my class up with the Voices of the World wiki. http://votw.wikispaces.com/ They set a new challenge each month using the students’ voices. This month’s challenge involved creating a class voki and uploading it. My students LOVED listening to the other vokis and then listening to the Australian ones, it made them realise how strong our accent is!

  13. I’m trying to use the voki.com avatars on my classroom website. Our webmaster has unblocked the voki site, but it still cannot be seen AT school. From home, it’s great.

    My students have written scripts introducing their chosen novels from summer reading, so I was hoping to teach them how to create the avatars and answer questions about their readings and future assignments.

    I’ve written two emails to voki.com, but they are just returned to my inbox. Any suggestions? I opened my mouth to my students before I realized that it wasn’t going to work at school.

  14. Hi Luann,
    I’m not sure why it isn’t working for you. Are you able to check with your technician as it could be as simple as it being blocked. If this is the case, you will need to ask for it to be unblocked. You may need to go to your ICT specialist or an administrator if your technician has been advised from above.

  15. Hi,
    I’m glad that you are enjoying Voki.
    I work for Voki and at the moment we are trying to figure out what we can do to make Voki more valuable to educators. Would you be willing to spend a few minutes chatting with me?

    Thanks,
    Avi
    agoldwerger@oddcast.com

  16. I was playing with a voki. and I really like that you can go from text to speech. But it would be cool if you could go from speech to text (or at least have captioning) that way a student who is deaf could communicate with classmates through vokis, just an idea.

  17. I played with Voki with my 5.5 year old niece as a precursor for using it in my grade one classroom this September. She loved it and we quickly made secret Voki’s which we e-mailed to her parents. She was SO excited by it. It’s a great tool.

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