Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 26 -- Voki - the free avatar tool for learning

Our guest blogger today is Todd Whitlock, Technology/Curriculum/Testing Coordinator, North Daviess Community School Corporation.

If you are a teacher that has the student that never participates or maybe those kids that just don’t seem to want to pay attention maybe crating a Voki is for you. Maybe you are that principal that is always looking for ways to spruce up those morning announcements or welcome messages for student and parent programs and your web page – maybe Voki is for you. Create speaking Avatars to use them as an effective learning tool.

Whatever your role or need may be you may find that Voki is a tool you can use. What is Voki? Voki allows users to express themselves using their own voice or a computer generated voice through a talking character. The web site says “Voki is a combination of "vox", which is Latin for voice, and "Loki", which, is a prankster character in Norse Mythology.” Prankster – maybe that is why I think this is a pretty cool tool!

English Version of Welcome

Spanish Version of Welcome

So what are some ways I could use Voki in my classroom. The voki lesson plan database has many idea and lesson plans for using Voki in the classroom. Student can demonstrate and give material back to teachers using their own voice. Some of the most common uses are for elementary and foreign language students to give oral presentations using their voice and creating their own avatar.

More Common Uses* Students can create avatars that are similar in looks or personalities and record a message that tells about themselves.
* Students can exchange these avatars within their own setting or anywhere in the world.
* Students can generate questions to and exchange them with each other.
* English as a Second Language students can use the speaking avatars to practice and listen to their speech (own or computer)
* Writing, reading and pronunciation can be practiced.
* Students can create an avatar that resembles a character from a story, add a setting and give it speech.

Strengths of the tool include:
* Free
* Fun and User-Friendly
* Easy to embed in a variety of ways
* Student can record their won voice with a phone or microphone
* Requires students to carefully organize their ideas and thoughts
* Many Languages supported

Some of the weaknesses of the tool include:
* Limited recording time
* Email address is need to for registration (for those without student email accounts)
* You may have to type some words phonetically to have the computer voice sound correct
* It can be TOO MUCH FUN and result in off-tasks time

The Teachers’ Corner is also a great resource to get questions answered.

The Challenge

Your challenge is to create a lesson that allows your students to create or show mastery of content using a Voki. Post the lesson and a sample of student work to the Learning Connection Community – Indiana Project Library to share with others.

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