Voki – Avatars
Through my exploration of Voki.com I become aware what a Voki is. A Voki is a talking character with a computer generated voice. A Voki is otherwise known as a speaking avatar.
Get a Voki now!
Teachers and educators are discovering some of the unique roles these speaking avatars can play in education, in particular in an online classroom environment (Cohen, 2007). Classroom without walls discusses that many teachers are using these speaking avatars to add a more human element to the online class environment.
As a future educator I would use a Voki avatar to introduce the beginning of a unit or assessment piece. I believe it would also aid those who are more audio/visual learners and not just kinesetic learners. Voki is also a great way to get shy or reserved students involved or to share comments with their peers (Cohen, 2007). Voki’s would also be a great tool for ESL students as they can use these avatars to practices and listen to their speech (Lee & Shin, 2004).
Avatars provide a face to the students and a face to the teacher. They provide the human element to online teaching (Cohen, 2007). Therefore this great tool fits well with the framework of active learning as it provides students with authentic assessment pieces (ACU, 2000). Some examples of this authentic assessment include Message boards, email, and instant messaging. These are great tools for writing, but posting a question on a message board is not always useful as asking the question. Avatars are instant, direct, and use the nuance of voice (Cohen, 2007).
ACU. (2000). What is Active Learning? Retrieved August 1st, 2009, from http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whatisal.htm
Cohen A. (2007). Avatars and Education: Classrooms without Walls. Retrieved August 1st, 2009 from http://acohen843.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/avatars-and-education/
Lee, O., Shin, M. (2004). Addictive consumption of avatars in cyberspace. Retrieved August 1st, 2009 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15331028