Monday, August 17, 2009

Voki – Creating a New You!

I have been having fun playing and creating Avatars!!

“A Voki is a talking voice character, a computer-generated version of oneself. The more generic term for a Voki is a speaking avatar, a digital representation of a person or being.” (Dyer, 2009).

The Avatar I have created I intended for an early phase class, particurlarly prep or year one. I see it being used as part of the literacy rotations. The learning manager could make these prior to the class and change the text to suit the activities.

The task: Choose 3 avatars and complete the activities in the alloted time.

The students would then listen to the task from the avatar, which is to find an object in the room and place it in the box. At the end of rotations, students could explain their items. An avatar used in this role could then be used when short on parent or aide helpers.

The learning manager could use avatars for many types of literacy or counting activities. Students could record themselves as the avatar coutning, reading, explaining or journaling. I am excited about using this tool in my classroom.

I have been researching and have found that avatars have been successful in many classrooms of all ages. I particularly liked the thoughts put forward on Classroom 2.0 (2009). These ideas are from educators who have used and found these ideas successful.

• Students can create avatars that are similar in looks or personalities and record a message that tells about themselves.
• Students can exchange these avatars with e-pals either within their own setting or anywhere in the world.
• Students can generate questions to ask their avatar e-pals.
• ESL (English as a Second Language) students can use the speaking avatars to practice and listen to their speech. They may use the computerised voice first then record their own voice when they feel more comfortable. Writing, reading and pronunciation are all practised.
• Students can create an avatar that resembles a character from a story, add a setting and give it speech. The speech could be from the story or a creative point of view from the character on an event.

“Engage Me or Enrage Me” by Marc Prensky (2005) says that back in the day the kids didn’t expect to be engaged by everything they did. There were no video games, no CDs, no MP3s—none of today’s special effects. Those kids’ lives were a lot less rich—and not just in money: less rich in media, less rich in communication, much less rich in creative opportunities for students outside of school. As educators of digital natives, we must ensure tools such as Avartars are used to keep our students engaged. Prensky (2005) goes on to say, that even if you are the most engaging old-style teacher in the world, you are not going to capture most of our students’ attention the old way. So we have to find how to present our curricula in ways that engage our students.

I really liked the article by Prensky and hit home that our students need to be taught in a way that will engage them, not by just reinventing the “old stuff”, but by using tools relevant to this generation.

Til next time,



Classroom 2.0 (2009). Retrieved 17th, August, 2009, from:

Dyer, K. (2009). Voki – Avatars in the Classroom. Retrieved 17th, August, 2009, from:

Prensky, M. (2005, September/October). Engage Me or Enrage Me. Retrieved 17th, August, 2009, from:

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