I have heard teachers say, “To be a good teacher these days, you have to tap dance and put on a big show.” That is probably what it takes in this day and age. Just like my mechanic told me about my rough running vehicle with 180,000 miles on it, “That is just the nature of the beast.” That is just the way it is. Today’s learner is surrounded and bombarded with devices, distractions, and constant entertainment from the time they leave school until they return the next morning. We have to put some effort, creativity, and fun into our lessons. Remember, if you do what you always have done, then you will always get what you have always gotten. Teachers, as well as students, will become more engaged in a lesson or project if we are all using our imagination and creativity.
Voki enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice or text-to-speech using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters, animals, monsters, anime etc. Your Voki can speak in a variety of methods including your own voice which can be added via microphone, upload, or phone.
How to Get Started
- Go to Voki.com
- Teachers and students 13 and older could register and create an account. I recommend this, because having an account will allow all Vokis that you create to be saved, edited, and retrieved easily.
- To create your Voki, click the create tab.
- Under Customize Your Character, click on the head.
- From here you can look through categories of characters such as oddballs, randoms, and VIPs. There are more than three categories, you can go through them by clicking on the arrows at the end of the row. Any characters where you see a graduation cap, is not free. Once you choose a character, you can click on the hair and lips to customize those. For example, if you choose a character with a mo-hawk, it can probably be changed to some other hair style. Then, you you can click on the clothing and bling tabs to change out the clothing and add jewelry, sunglasses, and other items. When you are finished with all three tabs, then click done at the bottom of this menu. NOTE: All characters do not have the same options. Some characters have more clothing, hair, and bling options.
- Skip the Give it a Voice section and go down to the player and backgrounds.
- Just like when you chose your character, you can choose from several categories of backgrounds such as, city views, landscapes, beaches, and others. The players button allows you to change the color of your frame that your Voki is in.
- If you want your Voki to be futher away so that you can see him/her better, click on the magnifying glass to the bottom right of your character. It will then allow you to to click on a plus or minus sign that will bring him/her forward or backward in the scene. If you want to move the character left or right, then simply click and drag your character to the position you wish.
- In that same area, you will see color and tweak tabs. The color tab allows you to modify the colors on your mouth, eyes, skin, and hair. The tweak tab allows you to change the size of your mouth, head, and body.
- Once you have your character looking the way you like, then lets add the voice.
- There are a few ways that you can add a voice. You can call in and record your voice with your phone. If your device has a microphone, then you can just record that way. You can do a text -to-speech method where you can choose from several male or female voices from the United States, Britain, and Australia. Lastly, you can upload an audio file that you have already created.
- When you get your character looking and sounding the way you like, then click on the publish button. From that point it will ask you to give it a name. If you have an account that is how you will identify it, if you have several saved. If you do not have an account, then it really does not matter what you name it. If you do not have an account, it may ask you to create one. If you’re not 13 years of age or over, then just X out of it.
- Whether you have an account or not, you can share it out multiple ways. You can share on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Word Press, and Blogger by just clicking on the buttons. You can copy the permalink and paste it in your browsers URL bar. From that point you can bookmark it or make it a favorite. You can email it to a friend. Lastly, if you have a webpage, you can copy and paste the embed code onto your site. Your Voki will come to life for visitors of your website.
- That is pretty much it! It is one of the most user friendly sites I have used.
- Students or teachers could use this tool to introduce themselves to the class.
- Teachers can use this tool to make announcements or ask weekly questions.
- Students can create an Avatar of a famous person and use the information in a report to have that person tell about themselves.
- Students can use Voki to read their reports and other writing assignments.
- To aid resource students, teachers can record oral pronunciation of vocabulary words as a review-guide for upcoming assessments.
- Foreign language students can use Voki to speak “in character” for different assignments.
- Students can compare and contrast between themselves and their avatar.
- A student could create two Vokies and each Voki could tell a different point of view about a topic.
- Science teachers could use a Voki to give instructions for each step of an experiment. If anyone needs instructions repeated, just replay the Voki.
- Students can create a Voki for different characters in a book or novel and have them report on parts of the book from that character’s point of view.
Why It Matters (Teacher Rubric)
2.2 Presenting Instructional Content–Voki is a way that teachers would be consistently uses a variety of ways to engage with content and maintain student interest, extend and apply content, concepts, and academic vocabulary appropriately.
1.1 For lesson pacing and structure, Voki would be an excellent way to structure transition time so that instruction time is maximized.
If you have never, used Voki.com, then I challenge you to create an account and tell us how you used it in your classroom. If you already have a Voki.com account or have used it, then please share how you have used it in your classroom or school and how your students reacted to it.
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