Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Voki: A Tool for Bringing Characters to Life

Voki is a free web 2.0 tool used to create talking avatars.  Characters can be customized to look like historical figures, animals, cartoons, and even one's self. For a fee, users can join Voki Classroom for more access to options and the ability to control privacy settings. Vokis are limited to 60 second recordings of either a user's voice or a computer generated voice, so I use Voki for quick assignments or part of a larger project.

Creating a Voki is very easy and can be done quickly. Even in the free version there are a plethora of options and characters to choose from. Users can change the background image and customize the look of the stock characters. Publishing Vokis is easy too and users can publish directly to sites as well as copy/paste a hyperlink or embed code.

My 9th grade Honors students incorporated Voki as part of their Create a Hero Project, creating a profile of their hero character and give him/her life using Voki. Students provided an overview or teaser for their hero's journey stories and published the Vokis on their student blog pages by embedding the Voki into their Hero Stories. I was able to show my students how to embed in HTML without having to go over the basics of coding-- something I have yet to learn. Students also shared their Voki with others in their Edmodo small groups.

Here are some examples from my students. Click on the PLAY icon in the bottom left corner of each one to hear a preview of their stories.

 My students could also create Vokis of characters explaining concepts taught in class or summarizing chapters in a novel. World Language teachers could use Voki for recording students speaking short passages. History teachers could have students bring historical figures to life. Voki is an easy to use and versatile classroom tool for any subject area. For other lesson ideas, visit Voki's Lesson Plan Page.

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