Currently, I use wikis to provide supplemental materials for my English language learners. In each wiki, my students enjoy the Voki avatars. Voki is a free service that allows your students to create personalized speaking avatars and embed them on a blog or wiki or send them via e-mail. This service provides numerous features to help students personalize their speaking avatar's voice, appearance, hair color, background, clothing, and more. Additionally, when you make changes to your Voki these are automatically updated. These various options make Voki ideal for engaging students in any subject at any grade level.
My adult students enjoy listening to weekly conversations from Shelly and Steve. The adults visit the class wiki to listen to the conversation, then answer questions. Below is a conversation about the Super Bowl. I asked my students if they could figure out what the phrase "rooting for" meant by listening to the conversation.
Another way I use Voki is to help my very young students create digital identities. The parents feel more comfortable with the children using avatars instead of their real identities. The children also create the conversations for the Voki. Voki also helped me engage students with our class puppet, Teddy the Bear. The children helped me create a Voki in Teddy the Bear's image. At the beginning of each class, Teddy the Bear greets the children by name, tells them what he's been up to, and asks them a question.
These are a few ways I use Voki with my students. How could you use Voki to engage your students in your subject area?
Shelly Terrell is a technology teacher trainer, English language teacher, and the Director of Educator Outreach for Parentella. Explore her Teacher Reboot Camp blog for tips on professional development and integrating technology effectively into the curriculum.