Quick overview: Do you have students that are uncomfortable with public speaking? Using Voki, a student can create a virtual animated avatar that “speaks” a recording of your student’s own voice or written text. Works in French too.
What does it do? Voki allows students to customize a unique looking virtual person, called an avatar. The avatar could be a representation of the student or a fictional character from a book. To make the Voki speak, students either type in text, speak into a microphone, or call in their recording with a cell phone. The Voki avatar is limited to 1 minute of “speaking” time, which helps students keep things concise. A Voki can be embedded into blogs or sent by e-mail. Free. (Source: Dr. Kipp Rogers, ISTE Philadelphia 2011)
How can this be used in the clasroom? There’s a huge bank of lesson plans for using Voki in an educational context, but one approach I like is using Voki to help students that are uncomfortable speaking in front of the class.
A sample lesson idea: Let’s say your students are assigned a book to read and are asked to provide a viewpoint from the story’s protagonist. If your focus is helping your students develop writing skills, you could ask the students to write their viewpoints for their animated Voki to speak. Once complete, the students’ Vokis are presented to the class using a projector and speakers. Alternatively, if you’re focusing on helping your students develop oral skills, you could ask students to speak and record their viewpoints using a microphone with Voki. The Vokis are then presented to the whole class and “speak” on their behalf. The point of the exercise is to get students sharing their viewpoints (formulating thoughts, mobilizing writing and/or oral competencies) without actually having to be put on the spot in front of the other students.
Something to consider: I highly suggest that you set a short time limit when students create the look of their Voki Avatars. The goal of using Voki in a language classroom should be to get students better at writing or speaking, not creating pretty Avatars!