Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A what?

A Voki, you say, well just what is that?
It sound like something you'd say to a cat!
An avatar that talks, as cute as can be.
I made one, little spider, take a look and see.

This morning, I created a Voki to put on the library website. It was very simple to use and create. The entire process took about 30 minutes. I enjoyed creating a funny looking character and the fact that I could upload a picture of my actual library for the background. I created a character that speaks in French, though it took me quite a long time to choose which voice to use. I needed to spell some of the words phonetically as the pronunciation was not quite exact and it still isn't perfect. I tried some of the voice effects, but most of them made it very difficult to understand the character - not sure if the effects would be clearer with English.

For students, I think this is an excellent tool as it is so simple, does not require an email account or even to log in to create something.  Voki Classroom is also available where teachers can create classes that are private or public, have access to lesson plans using Voki and a home page where all Voki projects appear. The teacher must approve any Vokis before they are posted, giving an additional layer of security for the class. A Voki Classroom account is $29.95 per year, which gives one teacher up to 10 classes and 200 students. They have additional discounts for schools creating accounts for more teachers. Before purchasing Voki Classroom, I will definitely try out a free account first.

One of the nice aspects about Voki is the ability for students to create their Voki that speaks French. Being at a French immersion school where all subjects are conducted in French, this really is a necessity. The need to write some words phonetically in order hear correct pronunciation would be tricky for some students.

I like this video that shows how Voki was used to help students with a writing project. By hearing their writing read back to them by the Voki, students were able to find errors and changes that needed to be made to their writing.

Of course, Voki is also just plain fun - creating a funny looking character that talks in a funny voice is very engaging! However, there are not so many choices available that the creation part is overly time consuming.

I will be looking at how I can use Voki with a class soon!

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