Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vokis are fun!

Voki is a very simple platform for creating talking avatars. Voki Classroom has additional features that make it appealing to teachers - no email required for students, lessons can be set to private, teacher management of classes, no ads, etc. Supporting over 25 languages, Voki is a natural fit for my French Immersion school.

Michael Gorman presents 20 Ways to Use Talking Avatars including:

  • book talks
  • persuasive speech
  • testing
  • class announcements
  • poetry
  • news stories
  • test review

In Voki for the Classroom, José Picardo points out that:
"teachers quickly realize that Voki allows students to express themselves on the internet in safety and confidently, as their real identities are hidden behind the avatar.  As far as teaching languages is concerned . . . Voki helps my students improve their oral proficiency in the target language"
William Kist (2010) talks about "new literacies" that feature "work in multiple forms of representation" and "places of student engagement in which students report achieving a "flow" state" (p. 8). Using Voki in with students allows them to represent their learning in a very unique way. For many students, this will be a very comfortable way of presenting, rather than having to stand in front of their class themselves. By putting Vokis on websites and blogs, students are actively participating and publishing on the read/write web. Richardson (2010) says that students must be literate in the ways of publishing if they are to truly take advantage of the power of the read/write web (p. 149). Voki is a simple and fun way to have students enter the realm of publishing.

Kist, W. (2010). The socially networked classroom: Teaching in the new media age. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.

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