Friday, July 4, 2014

VOKI Talking Characters to Liven Up Your Class

Happy Fourth of July!  If you are reading this right now, you MAY just be a teachaholic like me.  I know I am supposed to be at a parade somewhere head to tow in red, white, and blue or sitting on an adirondack chair by the lake, but the fact is....I am sitting in my house where the air conditioning is finally running.  Our air conditioner has been down and out the past two days, which was TRAGIC not only because it is 108 degrees outside, but because our summer travel fund would have been DRAINED dry.  Luckily, it was fixable and we are back in business! We will head to the pool for Fourth of July fun later today.

At any rate, Voki, Voki, Voki.  Have you heard of it?  I first learned of Voki in one of my graduate degree technology classes.  Of course I forgot about it, until I stumbled across Voki again on PINTEREST.  Imagine that.  Voki is a teaching tool that allows you to create characters that speak.  You can use one of their voices, or add your own voice to the character like I did below.  The characters can be animals, historical figures, and even you.  In my class we have a camping theme, and Marty the Moose is our mascot, so I created a quick announcement below:

Voki has several different options:  Voki (free avatar creation), Voki classroom (a classroom management system), and Voki Presenter (a presentation tool).  The classroom and presenter options weren't user-friendly enough for me to integrate into my classroom at this point.

The big questions is, "How will I use Voki in my classroom next year?"  Here are a few ways:
  1. I am going to have a Voki for the first day of school, projected on my Smartboard, that gives directions & introduces the morning routine. This could carry on throughout the school year...
  2. I am going to use Voki to explain homework assignments or projects.  I will post an avatar on my classroom webpage/blog for students to access at home.  So fun!
  3. Students can create their own Vokis to demonstrate comprehension of a concept.  This makes a great formative assessment tool.
What I love about Voki is that it engages students and sparks their curiosity, which we know is an ENORMOUS part of the learning process.  Student engagement = increased comprehension and increased participation.