Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Neat Website I Learned About Today

I discovered voki this morning on this kindergarten blog and am quite intriqued by it. I just created my own speaking avatar that's embedded above (I think she's quite a bit younger than me). Creating the avatar was very simple. However, to avoid negative phone calls from parents, I would caution teachers (especially of young students) to guide their students away from the "edgy" avatars. I recorded my message so that my avatar would have my voice.....can you tell I'm a Texan? I used a microphone and probably had it too low when I set it up. Apparently if you use your cellphone, it is a free call, but I haven't tried this yet. You are allowed a voice message up to 1 minute, so you may want your students to have a script that they have practiced and timed. If your students don't want to record their voices or if you don’t have a mic, they can type in their message which generates a computerized voice.The only snafu I ran into with voki was embedding it in Blogger. When I tried to get a Blogger code for my avatar after I had saved it, the result was just a link to "Get Your Own Voki." Finally after playing around with some of the codes for other spaces, I used the code for "other" which worked. One other negative feature is the commercial ad on the embedded player.

Here is my daughter's first attempt at using voki.

I think voki would be great for students to introduce themselves to collaborators around the world without posting actual photographs of themselves. I also see where this could be used in reading classrooms to give a 1 minute summary of a book chapter or a 1 minute book trailer of their favorite books they want to share with others. Wouldn't parents of PK-K kids just love to see/hear their child's avatar counting their numbers on a classroom blog? I would like to hear other ideas for using voki in K-3 elementary classrooms before I share the website with teachers in my district this fall.

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