Voki is a resource that enables users to create a talking avatar, a fun way to jazz up (dare I say pimp?) your blog.
There are lots of avatar types to choose from; people, animals, anime characters and so on. Once you have chosen your avatar, you can change the colour of its hair, its lips, select glasses and so on. You can also select the type of background; holidays, travel, outdoors, sports, nightlife or insert a background from your own picture collection. Voices and accents can be selected if you decide to type your message in via the computer keyboard. Otherwise you can record your own voice via mobile phone or microphone. The Bright Ideas voki took about five minutes to create, have a look here and also at the one on the sidebar.)
Sue Waters has created a post explaining how to add the voki to Edublogs, WordPress or Global teacher. Following her instructions, adding the voki was simple and took about two minutes. Helen Otway also lists interesting ways you can use vokis in the classroom (please note the terms and conditions of Voki; students must be over the age of 13 to sign up for an account):
- Students can create avatars that are similar in looks or personalities and record a message that tells about themselves.
- Students can exchange these avatars with e-pals either within their own setting or anywhere in the world.
- Students can generate questions to ask their avatar e-pals.
- ESL (English as a Second Language) students can use the speaking avatars to practice and listen to their speech. They may use the computerised voice first then record their own voice when they feel more comfortable. Writing, reading and pronunciation are all practised.
- Students can create an avatar that resembles a character from a story, add a setting and give it speech. The speech could be from the story or a creative point of view (POV) from the character on an event.
Vokis can be a fun way to communicate and the advantage is that students can maintain their anonymity when publishing to the world.