Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 20- Voki

Here is a special treat for Day 20.  Click on the play button below:



You can create your own Voki account at Voki.com

There are lots of different Voki avatars to choose from. Each Voki can be customized in terms of appearance, background, player theme, and voice. You can record your own voice or choose from several different digitized voices that can speak in different languages and accents.

Once you generate your Voki, you can embed it in any digital environment by copying and pasting the HTML code. Even better, there are buttons that allow you to automatically embed your Voki in many of the most popular digital worlds, including blogs, websites, and social media sites.

Here's a tutorial to help you get started:



I also recommend that you spend some time exploring the Learn Tab inside of Voki.com

Voki has also recently created a pay service that allows teachers to manage student Vokis online with lots of additional functionality:



Even better, though, Voki has a free lesson plan database that you can search for ideas related to Voki in the classroom. This database is available to anyone without the pay service, so I encourage you to explore and share your ideas as well.

Your Assignment: Create a Voki, explore the Voki resources, and report back with your ideas about how you could use Voki in your classroom or professional practice.

30 comments:

  1. First again? I better start to look at this a lot later in the day so people don't think I am just blog-stalking!!!

    This one was a lot tougher to come up with a plan to use in my classroom, but here goes.

    The use of an avatar, as I see it, can create a link into the literature.

    The assignment will be to create an avatar for a character in a piece of literature that we are reading. The avatar must then take on as many characteristics of the original literary character as possible.

    The purpose of this assignment is an assessment of reading comprehension, specifically looking at character development through the character sketch. So many times we ask our students to "sketch" the character in words, but this will give them the chance to really sketch the character.

    I think that this might help in comprehension and reading skills as it asks the student to visualize the story and the characters. By asking my students to create a character, they will demonstrate that skill.

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  2. I'm with John, this one was harder to come up with a use in my classroom.

    I could see using Voki more in my math class than my chemistry class. Instead of assigning ordinary word problems from the book, I could use a Voki to create a verbal word problem. This would force students to listen for the important information necessary to complete the problem. Students could replay the Voki as many times as necessary to gather the information.

    To take it a step further, students would then have to create their own word problem and turn it into a Voki. They could switch with a partner and solve their partner's problem. This might be a fun and useful in class activity because it will allow me to see which students truly understand the math and which ones just copy the steps from the examples. It is much harder to create a good math problem than solve one!

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  3. I could see my students creating a Voki and embedding it into the home page of their digital portfolios. Currently their home page is a written musical life history - they could introduce themselves and give their musical life history with Voki instead.

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  4. I tried using this about a month ago when we got it in an email. I set up an account and made a recording. I am not sure if it was my computer or just technical error on my part, but I could not get it to record. It would just time out. I was hoping to use this to get messages out to students if I were absent or if they were absent through angel. It is something interesting to look at, because we all know we space out when listening to a voicemail, but it it was a 'videomail' we would pay more attention.

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  5. I have used Voki in my classroom to have students create an avitar to talk through how to work a problem. For example, multiplication of decimals...they have to explain how they knew where to put the decimal point in their answer once they talk through each multiplication step. I have also used Voki on my classroom blog to help with the start of the class (agenda for the day) so I can take quick attendance.

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  7. Loving the idea of having the students create an avatar to teach a topic. They could then create a website or class wiki to display information about their topics and avatars. I had a lot of fun making my avatar, and I know the students would LOVE it. It would take longer to teach topics this way than more traditional methods but a big pro is that the students would be having fun and more engaged.

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  8. I could use Voki after a lesson with Little Bird Tales. In my classes (3rd-6th), I have students take a narrative that they've written in ELA and turn it into an online book. In the past I've used Story Jumper but this Spring I plan on using Little Bird Tales. Once students have completed creating their online book, I could have them use Voki to create a custom avatar for the main character in their story.

    Students could use Voki to bring their fictional character to life. They could focus on the character's traits and development throughout their story. The neat part of this for students would be the ability to add voice to their character and really bring the character to life. I wonder if there is a way to add a Voki into Little Bird Tales?

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  9. The lesson plan database is definitely worth checking out. One idea I liked was a vocabulary practice lesson plan. The teacher Voki states the definitions of the vocabulary words currently being studied and the student supplies the correct vocabulary word. This would work well as a learning station in the elementary grades with minimal teacher preparation. The teacher Voki could also be used for students who need tests read to them.

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  10. I'm with a lot of you as well...this one was definitely more difficult to come up with an idea for.

    Personally, I'm all about transparency on the web...I think its an important part of building a good digital presence. Our names are all over the place and I think its important to let kids realize that their faces will also be attached to it in one way or another. But, as a teacher, I have a responsibility to maintain learner privacy.

    So, here's my point. This could be a good way to help kids anonymously share work on the web. *I* would know who they are, but none of their other information would be shared with the public. It's a good way to bridge the gap. We still need to teach kids responsible digital footprints and citizenship, but we will have full control of their privacy, etc.

    Anyways, that's about all I came up with. So, for those of us still struggling with how to get kids on the internet responsibly and effectively, this could be a good way to start that process/

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  11. When I first heard about this a few weeks ago, my first thought was to use it when I am out of the building and a sub is in my classroom. I could have it pre-arranged and the sub could play it for the students. It would also be fun to have the students record narratives for class.

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  12. Cute tool. I created my Voki in just a few minutes. Seems easy enough to change options. Here's what I did:
    http://www.voki.com/pickup.php?scid=4869995&height=267&width=200

    As for how I could use this, it could be used for just about any project I ask students to create. I think it would be great to use for a blog reply or to post thoughts or comments on another's work. Kind of like critiquing an art show.

    I could also use this while teaching descriptive adjectives. I have an activity where I ask students to draw a crazy character or monster and then have them describe it. I could use it to have selections of text read to students as they draw the monster. Alternatively, the student could create the voki and describe it either by recording their own voice or making it speak for them.

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  13. This is a really cool tool! I can see using this to teach bell work or have a mini lesson one day. I can also see having my students using this tool to create their own voki to explain step by step how they worked a problem. This is a great way to incorporate technology as well as letting my students use their creativity for an assignment. It sure beats doing it themselves.

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  14. Molly, John , and Gayle all great ideas! Thanks for sharing I will be sure to try these. Aaron I like the idea for a sub one I had not thought of. I heard, saw, and played with Voki at the ICE conference this year. My plan is to take a picture of Ben Franklin and turn him into the students reading their report about his life and his inventions. Gee can you guess what we've been studying about for the last few weeks! I also think it would be cool to take a picture of the kids or create an avatar and then give a book report or other report using their Voki character. I really like the thought of creating a character from a story and telling about the story from their perspective. How about History reports using pictures of famous people in the past or even you introducing or reading the chapter to them using a Voki? I think that would be a lot more fun than them seeing me do it or just listening to the students.

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  15. This was really fun to create and explore. In my middle school reading classes this would be a great way to make literature come alive. I could use this in my class while either reading a novel or short story by creating Voki avatars for each of the main characters in the selection. This avatar would read the lines for each character in the story.
    The avatar would give the students a face to associate the words with and give the story more meaning to them. This would be especaiily great for my lower level students that have trouble differentiating between characters in the story when it is just read aloud to them. Different voices and faces would work wonders!

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  16. What a neat tool! I like the idea of having myself make one to help the kiddos step-by-step on a project or problem. There are so many times that they need prompts and there is only 1 of me and 26 of them. :) I also like the idea of the students making one themselves working out a math problem. Then they could compare the Voki with another person's Voki to see if there steps were the same. You could very easily do the same as a group for science.

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  17. This is one I had to think about how will I use it in my classroom. I have clicked on it a couple of times in the symbaloo page of links for education, but I hadn't tried it, until today. I like the ideas above about using it for instructions on a lesson, or for a sub to use. My students love anything interactive, so I think they will enjoy putting their voice to a character. In music, we are always trying to get them to come out of their shells and be creative, so I can use this to give them another way to record their voices and visually see the results as well as listen to them. They could record themselves singing a song and have the voki character with it, then we can all listen back and they will have fun, as well as see the results of their work on screen.

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  18. I played with Voki yesterday and am still not sure if I did everything correctly. It was fun to create one, but my ideas as to how to use it are limited. I could use a Voki to explain problems and imbed them in a blog for students who need extra homework help. The Voki could also be a way that students can check their homework. I could see a Voki being used in English classes for giving speeches, particularly if a student is too shy. I have seen Mrs. Esparza's Voki and she uses it well. I may need some Voki tutoring from her, but this is one tool I would really like to be able to use efficiently. I think the students would find it engaging and a nice change of pace.

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  19. I created a Voki a few weeks ago after we received an email about it through the network. I don't really like it, because whenever I get on to the site and start moving around, my computer freezes up and gets cooky (the cursed rainbow wheel!!) So I would not be likely to use this site because it doesn't seem to be compatible with my machine, and anything that is that much work to get up and running doesn't seem as effective when instructional time is so precious. More importantly, I also found that my Voki looked nothing like me, even though I tried to get a somewhat close rendering. From a cultural perspective, I think it would be a hard sell for a student of color to get on a site that creates an avatar that looks nothing like you. The options were all European-type features and even the shade of brown is not accurate. This may seem like a small thing, but it frustrated me as a user and I am an adult, so I am certain that if I were a kid and had that same experience I would be disenchanted with using the product. So that combination of things makes it a lose-lose in my book, but without those two issues, just the idea of it I could see working very well in a flipped classroom situation, and/or to send your class a message when there is going to be a sub. It let's them know you are still connected to the work they will be doing even though you aren't there, and can go far in making a student think twice if they thought about misbehaving because there is a sub!

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  20. The first thing that comes to mind is teaching point of view and motive in ELA. Students could take a character from a story or novel and present their point of view/motivation. This a better way for students to communicate their ideas rather than writing in paragraph form. This would definitely prove to be more motivating!

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  21. I have to first start with my 'fear' of avatars and talking technology. At the beginning of my use with this, I was a little disturbed by the whole idea. After I started to play with it a little I became engrossed in creating a Voki that represented me. While I know that may not be the point, I was able to create one as a close a likeness as I could and then I embedded it on my website. We'll see if I get any comments about it!

    For the classroom, I think this could be a powerful tool embedded in work on Angel or a teacher website. We all know how well many of students read (or actually don't) instructions. Many times I would students miss an entire assignment just because they did not read the directions. If there was a Voki at the beginning of the assignment, I think that might get more attention to the details of the work.

    On the student creation side, I can see students spending TONS of time creating their Voki for a class project and not realizing that they are actually working! I would love to see some social studies classes create historical characters using Voki. How fun!

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  22. I played with the Voki and enjoyed the time spent but really having trouble like many others on how to incorporate in my work.

    The best I came up with was to create one as an example and share with teachers. They work with them to incorporate into their lesson plans or with students in their projects.

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  23. I just had a blast sending Voki messages to my kids on facebook! This is so easy and fun to use. I agree that teachers could use this when they are out or even to spice up a lesson. Students would also enjoy incorporating this tool in some of their presentations. I think it could definitely be used in pairs. Using problem sets, you could have each student type or speak how to solve a problem. Then each partner could listen to the other's Voki and scribe. This will help both students in math translations of problem solving.

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  24. I have very mixed feelings and am glad to scan through the posts before I digested my opinion.
    1st- I love teaching English because there is so much option for creativity in use of these tools. (capturing characters from novels, student presentations for those who are resistant and self-conscious, tutorials for grammar-which is always hard to make fun, etc.)
    2nd- Dr. Blue's awareness of a lack of diversity, I believe will be an issue of frustration for a lot of my students and I hadn't considered that on first glance. The goal is to improve their confidence and personal style with the content, but it just may be the inverse of that.

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  25. Wow! Voki will be an engaging tool for my students. They are going to love using it in their projects and presentations. I have already created an agenda and an overview of an activity that will be presented at the beginning of class. I am trying to figure out how to put it in my flipchart so that it will be ready when they arrive.
    My kids will have the opportunity to use Voki when they want to advertise for the novels they are completing before Christmas break. They can have their avatar summarize the book. They will love using this tool. I am already anticipating their excitement tomorrow when they see this being used.

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  26. I really like how the different languages aspect. I have a couple of students who are not native English speakers. This would be a great tool for them to express themselves in their own language. Also, the other students could experiment with those functions to interact with ELs in the class.

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  27. I have used text to speech in my classroom before. I use it for "bell ringer" work first thing in the morning or when switching classes. It is very easy to push a button to explain directions instead of repeating myself every time a students arrives in my class. They already enjoy the computer voice, but adding the avatar will really get their attention! I will definitely use this often.

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  28. I think the students would have a lot of fun with this one. Students could create a Voiki when we do the genetics lesson. Students would have to solve a genetic problem and then create a Voiki that matches the results of the punnett square.

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  29. I love this site for the fact that it seems so simple but can still be so powerful. My first idea for this is to have students research an important historical person, preferably one found in the avatars, and type a report about them, transferring it into voki via text or reading it into a microphone.
    Also, students could connect to Voki and choose the randomize feature of the avatar showing, write a narrative about that character, and put it in to be read by the avatar.

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  30. For some students this may be easier if they create someone else rather than it coming directly from them. This could be used in certain groups I conduct, if they did not want to speak themselves they could record it then share it with the group.
    I had not considered the diversity factor, however on the flip side of that it may create an oportunity for a student to "hide" and still be able to share in a group until they become more comfortable.

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