Voki is a free Web 2.0 website where students can create their own online avatar character that they can customize, add voice, and then publish to the Internet. Using this website in the classroom will engage students in the learning activities offer by the website. There are so many educational applications for this technology tool in the classroom!
Using Voki in the Classroom
Voki has two pages of their site that are dedicated to using Voki in the classroom: Voki for Education and Lesson Plans. In the Voki for Education page, teachers can learn about what Voki is, why they should use it in the classroom, and get connected with other teachers who are using Voki. In the Lesson Plans section, teachers can search an extensive list of lesson plans that range from kinder through high school and cover many subject areas including geography, spelling, drama, and technology.
Teachers could create Voki avatar to share with their students or even the parents. Introducing a project, lesson, or unit with a Voki avatar really catches the interest of the students. Teachers could also create an avatar to welcome parents to a back to school event or open house night.
Students can also create their own avatars. The main idea of using this program would be to have the student research a specific topic and then record what they have learned to then share with the rest of the class. For example, students can create a Voki about learning about facts of a state, explaining the steps on how to solve a math problem, or a science experiment. In a special education classroom, students could use the avatars as a fun way of communicating in the classroom via the text to speech option.
When I used this program in my classroom, each student researched a different tab on the new Microsoft Word 2010 Ribbon. They then wrote a script, recorded their script, and then they shared their Voki with the other students in the class via the SMART board. This way, all of the students learned about the all of the tabs in Word 2010. It was such an engaging assignment and the high quiz scores proved that this assignment really actively engaged them in the learning process.
How to Use Voki
Voki is very easy to use. To begin, you select the create button, and then you can customize your avatar. When you customize your character, you can change the style of head, hair, mouth, and facial features. You can also change the clothing and ‘bling.’ The features of the avatar can then be made larger or smaller and the color can even be changed. After that, I suggest that the students select the background for the avatar. Students can choose one of the many pre-made backgrounds, or they can upload their own.
I suggest that before students start to record either their voice or using the text to speech feature, that they draft a script of what needs to be said. This way, when recording the ideas are well thought out to meet the needs of the assignment and the avatar. They also need to keep the 1-minute time limit into consideration when writing their script. Then the students can either use the phone to speech, microphone to speech, or text to speech tools. The text to speech tool would be great to use for students who may have a disability that makes it difficult to speak or even students who are shy. Always remind your students to “Save” their speaking after they are finished recording it.
When the students are done creating their avatar, they can then publish the avatar. One great feature of this site is that to publish the avatar there is no need for students to create an account. However, if they want to save the character and be able to go back and make changes, they will need to make an account. Students need to be at least 13 to create an account. When they publish their avatar, there are literally hundreds of ways to share them. The most simple way is to save are to email it, publish it to an already created website via the embed code, or to post it to a social networking or blogging site that has already been established and is approved and secure
Have you tried Voki? Feel free to share the links of your Voki avatars!
Article By Laura Ketcham