Voki makes it easy for educators to incorporate technology into lesson plans and assignments (and it's advertisement free!).
A couple weeks ago in the post “3 Quick Lesson Plan Ideas That Utilize Technology”, we explored some ways in which animation web sites could be used in the classroom. These types of tools were new to me and struck me, and readers who commented, as a great way to engage students in preparing assignments, reports, or projects.
I had a lot of fun getting hands-on and trying out GoAnimate (as illustrated in this video blog post), and I've been looking forward to exploring Voki, the other site suggested by guest writer Rebecca Garland in that post.
This weekend I spent some time with Voki, and had fun learning about Voki's resources for educators, and creating and using my own Avatar. In the video below, I show how easy it was to create a customized speaking avatar using Voki. In the rest of the post, I discuss some of Voki's resources for educators.
The folks at Voki are clearly focused on education, and have created a special “Voki for Education” web site section. Two of the main resources provided for educators are a Lesson Plans database and a Teacher's Corner forum.
Voki's Lesson Plans Database
Voki's database of lesson plans is searchable by grade level and subject area. Objectives, Materials, and Activities for each lesson are clearly laid out, and the lesson plans can all be rated. Following are a few examples of some of their top rated Lesson Plans:
- Community History (Grade Level: 7th Grade): In this lesson, students analyze the development of a community, use interactive media, and learn interview skills.
- Delivery (Grade Level: Higher Ed): Students learn about how to identify and read nonverbal communication, and how body language can be perceived by an audience.
- Hygiene (Grade Level: 1st Grade): Using Smartboard and Voki, students learn about good oral hygiene, why brushing your teeth is important, and which foods are bad for the teeth, while developing better reading comprehension.
The Teacher's Corner
The forum provides 5 discussion areas: Q&A, Ideas & Feature Requests, a “Newbie's Corner”, Voki in the Classroom, and a section for Voki Partner Sites. The forum includes quick links to access “Recent Topics”, “Hottest Topics”, and a Search function. Some of the Hot Topics that looked particularly interesting to me were threads focused on embedding your Voki creations in other apps, like PowerPoint 2010, Blackboard, and Blogger.
I think Voki is pretty cool, and I bet you probably will too. I can't believe I haven't come across more information and discussion about using animation tools in course work before. Voki and GoAnimator are just two of many of these types of tools available online, for free. While Voki is geared towards the creation of simple speaking avatars, GoAnimator lets you create little animated movies. Another example is MakeBeliefsComix, which bills itself as an “Online Educational Comix Generator for Kids of All Ages” (thank you to Ryan Moulden for mentioning this in a comment on the “3 Quick Lesson Plan Ideas …” post).
The one primary shortcoming of Voki that occurs to me is the 1 minute limit to what can be recorded for a given avatar. Multiple avatars can be created, but I saw no obvious way to simply copy an avatar so you could then record more speech to create a new “scene” for it. Additionally, there did not seem to be any apparent help utility (beyond an FAQ section). If I just missed this, and someone knows how to find help or request help in Voki, kindly comment and point it out.
I'd love to hear more about these kinds of apps and how readers are using them in the classroom. If you've used these or other animations applications, or if you have some questions, please don't hesitate to comment below and share your observations or thoughts.
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Vuvox Rocks (what a great tool for creating student reports and teacher presentations)
Comparing 12 Free Screencasting Tools
3 Quick Lesson Plan Ideas That Utilize Technology