Voki is a FREE web application that allows users to create speaking avatars. Users can customize avatars by choosing from a number of options such as hair color, eye color, gender, background setting, and more. Characters themselves range from public figures and traditional human figures to animals and monsters. The customization features of Voki and the user-friendly interface urge user creativity and make Voki a fun tool for the classroom.
Voki allows users to easily share their creations with others by embedding the creations into blogs, websites, emails and social networking sites. This means that student creations can easily be shared with other students, parents, and friends. Plus, because the students remain anonymous in the creation of avatars, their cyber-safety can be ensured when publishing Vokis.
In addition, Voki allows for voice to be created in multiple ways. Students can:
- Record their voices through a microphone
- Call in their voice on the telephone
- Upload a previously recorded mp3 file
- Use Voki’s text-to-speech feature.
Unfortunately, Voki does have some drawbacks:
- The free version of Voki only allows for a sixty second recording, which can be inhibiting for student presentations
- If students want to save their Vokis on the website itself for later revisiting, they must create accounts using email addresses, which some schools might prohibit
- Although the text-to-speech feature can be a good tool in foreign language or second language classes, the feature can sometimes mispronounce words in an unphonetic manner
Overall, Voki is a fun, free tool with multiple classroom uses. Along with language classes, students can use Voki as an alternative to traditional text-based presentations. Students can also develop rapport between each other’s Vokis, creating responses online to build debates, conversations and dialogues. In addition, students can use Voki to get a better understanding of how their writing might sound aloud, and even create 60-second bites of their writing to share with their peers. Instructors can also use Vokis to introduce new topics or post beginning classroom activities in a more fun way. The variety of these options make Voki an especially great option for foreign language classes or ESL classes, where students can practice their writing and reading skills with Voki creations.
Check out Voki and have fun making your own avatars! Be sure to look at the Voki Classroom option, which allows teachers to manage classroom use of Voki online. And check out my example Voki below:
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