5 Innovative Ways to Use Voki in the Classroom by Guest Blogger Tyler Hart!

5 Innovative Ways to Use Voki in the Classroom by Guest Blogger Tyler Hart!

5 Innovative Ways to Use Voki in the Classroom

Welcome our guest blogger for this week… Tyler Hart! Tyler is an avid user of Voki and a total techie teacher! Here are 5 innovative ways that he has used Voki in the classroom!

Voki is a great website that allows you to create speaking avatars. You can embed these Voki characters into your blog page to play later for your students or use directly from the site. Voki has also expanded their brand to make the learning experience even more engaging with Voki Classroom, Voki Presenter, and Voki Teach. While these options are amazing in their own right, the free version of Voki can be utilized in many fun ways to help engage your students. Below are five innovative ways you can use Voki in your classroom right now. If you’re  interested in other ways to integrate Voki into your lessons, check out Voki’s Lesson Plan Ideas Page!

1. Presenting on Researched Content

Having students research their own topics or content is great, but many times finding time to have them present their findings to the class can be hard. Using Voki can be a great way to post students’ research. Students can write up a script about the most important facts about their content, and record themselves reading their findings. This one was a particular favorite of mine because the partners created Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty to report the information!presenting on researched content

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/voki-research

2. Content Review Center Activity

Students don’t have to be the only ones to join in on the fun. I love making Voki Characters to help students review content or to give an assessment for me. Students would listen and pause the character when needed to either comment on our blog page for answer, or they would fill out an assessment sheet to turn in. This was a great time saver since I was able to use this as a center as well!

content review activity

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/content-review-activity

3. Historical Figures

Want to spice up history class when learning about historical figures? Have students identify important moments from the life of a historical figure. Using their research, have the students write a script in a first-person narrative and have them record themselves reading their scripts.

historical figures

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/historical-figures

4. Mystery Voki – Who am I?

Another fun idea to use with historical figures is a Who am I game. Have students create their script about their about person in a first-person narrative style. Instead of having the students record the information saying who the person is, they read their information and end with the question, “Who am I?” This could be a great review game do use with the class.

mysery voki - who am i

To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/mystery-voki-who-am-i

5. Autobiographies

Have your students write an autobiography about themselves. We used a simple question starter template with the students to help them with certain things about their life to write down. After filling out the information, the students wrote their paragraph story about themselves, created their Voki, and recorded themselves. The students will have a blast learning about each other!


To see Voki in action click here —–> http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/trhart/autobiographies

Tyler Hart has worked and taught in elementary education for 13 yeatyler hartrs at Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia. This school year will be his second in an administrative role as a Resource Teacher at Sandston Elementary.  Previously, he was an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for two years, and before that, he was a 3rd grade teacher. In his last year as a classroom teacher, he was honored by being nominated and selected as one of the Henrico Citizen’s Top 20 Teachers in Henrico County.

Interviews with Educators | Lindsey Griesse

Interviews with Educators | Lindsey Griesse

This month, we have a great interview with Ms. Lindsey Griesse from Asbell Emenetary in Fayetteville, AK. She worked used Voki with her first grade class. If you missed her video, check it out here:


Now… on with the interview!

Who am I?
My name is Lindsey Griesse. I work at Asbell Elementary in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This is my third year of teaching. I have been a Voki user since February of this year.

Why do I use Voki?
I have several goals when I use Voki. One is that my students will be excited to create something that they can actually see. Being able to hear their own writing with a character they create puts more ownership and accountability for my students. I also want them to be able to edit their writing. They want their Voki to be correct, so they are more willing to go back and make sure all spelling, punctuation and word usage is correct. I use Voki with any type of writing project. I can check their understanding with any subject. I have used it to check comprehension on books we have read, new science concepts, as well as writing projects. Instead of just writing a response on a piece of paper, I send them to a computer to create a Voki for their response.

Kudos to Voki
One of my favorite things about Voki is that students can have their own opinion on what their Voki will look like. It encourages creativity and originality in my students. The second is that it is so easy for my students to use and navigate. The page is easy to understand and it does not take too much practice to get the hang of using it. I can have my students get to a computer and do a Voki with ease. The third thing I like about Voki is that as a teacher I can review all the assignments using my own account. This makes grading quick and stress-free for me. I do not have to deal with a million different logins and passwords. I have enough of those already! If I could add anything to Voki I would make the text box for the typing bigger and easier to see. Sometimes it is hard for my students to see the text they are typing within that little box. But I love this program and encourage educators with any age group to try it with their own class!

Lindsey also made a Prezi:

If you can’t view Lindsey’s Prezi here, click the picture below to open the link!



Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at submit@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Interviews with Educators | Christina Martidou

Interviews with Educators | Christina Martidou


Every month, we like to learn how teachers use Voki in the classroom. This month, we have another great interview with a tech-savvy educator! Christina Martidou is an English teacher who loves to use Voki to celebrate holidays!

Christina Martidou

My name is Christina Martidou and I have been working as an English teacher for the past eleven years. I currently work freelance as a private tutor and part- time for the British Council in Thessaloniki, Greece. My students vary from young learners to teenagers. I mainly prepare learners for the Cambridge ESOL exams, develop my own technology-based materials and love writing on my new blog (http://christinamartidou.edublogs.org). I have been using Voki since 2011!

What are your goals using Voki?

To make my ELT lessons more fun and engaging! With Voki the use of technology becomes meaningful!

How do you use Voki?

I mainly use Voki with my younger students especially to celebrate holidays like Halloween and Christmas. I also love the idea of assigning homework via Voki or giving oral instructions in this alternative way.

What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

  • The fact that you can record your own voice and add sound effects to it!
  • It’s easy-to-use and safe!
  • Avatars can then be e-mailed or embedded in any social media site, blog or website.

What would you add to the Voki product?

I would extend the time limit of the recordings, add more celebrities among the speaking avatars and make it available for iPads & iPhones!

Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

I use Voki to play riddle games or a celebrity ‘guess who’ game!


Christina made a PhotoPeach presentation. Click the picture below to see it!


Check out Christina’s blog:  http://christinamartidou.edublogs.org

Follow Christina at: https://twitter.com/CMartidougr

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog?
Send us an email at submit@voki.com and we’ll get in touch!

Voki for Learner-Center Design

Voki for Learner-Center Design

Voki Interview with Educators

 Houston Community College, Teaching & Learning Resources

HCC Model Courses Use Voki for Learner-Centered Design

Article by Wendy Maboudian, Ed.D. Instructional Designer, TLR

Houston Community College, 4th largest in the community college nation, is a learner-centered institution. The HCC Teaching & Learning Excellence program systematically supports faculty teams in  building online model courses for all faculty to use. These model courses are learner-centered in many ways to engage learners, including the use of Voki avatars.

Our uses of Voki avatars are learner-centered because they guide students to become stronger learners (see Neal Tannihill’s use of Voki below), they create real-world scenarios, and they provide engaging learning moments. They’re fun! Here are samples of how Voki made a difference for some of our model courses.

(Quick note: Our courses are in Moodle 1.9; we’ve used Labels, Book, Quiz, and the Forum tools to deliver the Voki avatars. We include written script for ADA compliance. Because the courses are models that faculty may want to change, we used the automated voices [mostly Paul and Julie]. But the audio upload and the Voki recording capability are also awesome!)

See for yourself…

Teaching Assistant: In Government 2302, Dr. Neal Tannihill created Avi, the Teaching Assistant. Avi was developed to welcome, guide, encourage and give advice on study skills. The first time the students meet Avi, he doesn’t give a list of to-do’s, but instead inspires them to succeed. (Nationally, 50% of community college students drop out before their second year, so it’s important to engage and support student success. Instead of a list of links, they first hear Avi encourage them.)

Our learner-centered design keeps the student in mind. Assessing what the students most often ask in his classes, Dr. Neal Tannihill (Avi’s author) designed avatar students to prompt Avi’s advice. Avi is always polite, calls them by name, often generalizes to include all students, and gives great study tips.

Avi gives the student study tips and responds to concerns.

A student asks Avi an important question that many students wonder in classes, but may be afraid to ask. She asks if she has to read everything in the course.…***

Avi answers the student, explaining how the course works.…***

Avatar student, Chris may speak for other students. Chris bombed a test. Who knows if this scenario might change a student’s life decision to stay in school.

Avi keeps student, Chris, from dropping out… and gives a study tip. How effective is Avi? Very!

Avi guides students on what to do. Avi may get to answer student posts! Cool!

Guide for the course journey: Dr. Cammy Shay, well-grounded in engaging students, used a small-sized avatar, Sam, to guide to deliver an introductory lecturette in the model course topics throughout the students’ journey. Try this one out. Doesn’t it make you want to learn more? Dr. Shay selected blue jeans, shades, and the capitol background to set the tone.

Discussing norms for each stage of life, Dr. Jane Cirillo and Dr. Irv Lichtman add humor with an older Voki avatar couple, Norm and his doctor wife, Norma. Voki gives us neat options to age, add weight and height, and change clothes. Here is an example where Norm and Norma discuss aging.

Norm states his observation and opinion….

Norma answers with her logical fact-based explanation….

Create a scenario: Drs. Susan Grigsby and Mahtash Moussavi wanted real-world experiences in their online class. To design scenarios in the model course for nutrition, the students become intern nutritionists. In the clinic, avatar – Nurse Tara – guides them. The students ask the avatar patient questions using a script and then click the Voki to hear the answers. The student then filters out the conversational comments to fill in the clinical questionnaire. Below you can hear samples of Nurse Tara and two of patient answers. See how Nurse Tara takes the student through the assignment of a virtual intern. (Each rendition of Nurse Tara is in a different location in the scenario as the students work.)

Tara greets the students. She praises them for being on time.

Nurse Tara directs students to go see the patient….

Nurse Tara reminds the students that they are making a difference for the patient.

This patient is asked to describe what she eats. There’s humor in her answer.

This patient also describes her diet, which is different. She has diabetes and wants to control her blood glucose. The student-dietician will develop a diet recommendation for her.

You can even partner with an avatar team member instead of giving an assignment in which the learner is given links to write a short paper on child hunger. The assignment is set in the context of contributing to a special council and is assigned a partner to help. On the next page, the partner is an avatar whose share of the work is actually what the student would have been given anyway. The student learns about team roles and child hunger.

The avatars in our model courses engage and promote confidence and a perception of warmth in the course. They help students know what to do, encourage them to stay, help them practice in scenarios, advise them, and offer nuggets of info that are memorable. Does this support student success in our online model courses? (For more on Learner-Centered design, visit http://hccs.edu/tle)

***We’ve been working with around five Voki classic avatars to build our characters. Great news! Just went to the Voki site last night and saw that the wonderful follks who give educators Voki have supplied more classic Voki’s.

Voki Tip of the Week: Use Voki to Start a Conversation

Voki Tip of the Week: Use Voki to Start a Conversation

Teacher: Good morning class! How are you? What did  you do this weekend?

Student: Nothing…

Teacher: Really? You didn’t go outside, or go to a movie, hang out with your friends?

Student: I watched tv, slept…

Sometimes starting a conversation with your first class on Monday can feel like pulling teeth. Instead of playing this game of tug-of-war to get a conversation started, use Voki to help your students tell their weekend stories!

Try this: Each Monday, have your students create a Voki that describes their favorite part of the weekend. Have them elaborate on what happened, who was with them, and why it was their favorite activity of the weekend.

By encouraging your students to open up in the beginning of class, you are paving the way for a more communicative environment where students will be able to express their feelings, doubts, and ideas. Check out the Vokis below to see examples of how this exercise can work!

-The Voki Team

Educators in Texas Work to Improve Student Writing Skills with Voki

Educators in Texas Work to Improve Student Writing Skills with Voki

Last week, when we came across a video of students using Voki to edit their writing, we had to find out who was behind the great production, interesting lesson, and big smiles found on every student’s face. The search led us to Chase Young, a second grade teacher, and Lynda Swanner, the language arts coordinator for McKinney ISD.  Chase and Lynda are from McKinney, Texas  and have worked together to create interactive and informative environments for students to develop as confident writers. We got in touch with Chase to find out more about how he uses Voki to motivate and improve literacy and he was more than happy to share his and Lynda’s tricks of the trade. Check out the great ideas below!

Conferring with an Avatar

Teachers can use this 21st century method for proofreading when students do not read over, or are unaware of revision or editing needed in their stories. Lynda Swanner and I devised this strategy to motivate students to actively revise and edit their own writing. This strategy helps students discover what they need to revise and edit and also empowers student as writers. They become aware of their own problems in writing, and they can self-regulate the writing process. Students use this self-discovery strategy of revising and editing to privately critique their work before conferring with the teacher. Here are a few brief steps to get you started using this strategy.

1.  Students create an avatar using Voki.com. We suggest limiting the time because students and teachers could spend all day creating the perfect avatar.

2.  Students type a sentence, paragraph, or section of their stories into the Voki text box.

3.  Students listen to the speech and read along several times.

4.  Students make corrections.

Consider the following example. The student noted a lack of punctuation after conferring with an avatar.

Mr. Young:  What changes are you going to make?

Student I need more periods.

Mr. Young:  How do you know that?

Student:  …It wasn’t very good, because it went in one fast glob.

This next example shows how a student caught a spelling error from listening to the avatar.

Mr. Young:  What changes did you make?

Student:  I needed to fix some spelling errors.  I needed to spell “grabbed” correctly.

Mr. Young:  How did you know it was spelled wrong?

Student It sounded wrong.

Mr. Young:  Do you remember how the avatar said it?

Student:  “grabed” (Student uses a long a sound.)

Mr. Young:  We know that you have to do WHAT to the consonant?

Student:  Double it!

Based upon the avatar’s rendering, students were able to reflect and make changes to their work without teacher direction.

*The full chapter is currently being published by Corwin Press and will available soon in Writing Strategies for All Students in Grades 4-6: Scaffolding Independent Writing Through Differentiated Mini-Lessons.

Chase Young is a second grade teacher in McKinney, TX. He holds a MS Ed with a specialization in literacy. He is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of North Texas. He has written for the Reading Teacher and Education Review, published a book entitled Teaching Texas History through Readers Theatre, and contributed several chapters to educational books.  When he is not teaching, studying, or writing, he is wondering where his free time goes. He enjoys playing the guitar, paintball, racquetball, grilling, concerts, billiards, pools, and golf carts (not to be confused with golfing).

Lynda Swanner has been a teacher, library media specialist, and literacy staff developer. She is currently the English Language Arts and Reading Coordinator in McKinney Independent School District in McKinney, Texas.  She coordinates the curriculum, instruction, and assessments for all elementary teachers in the district.  She is also a literacy consultant for many Texas school districts.  Over the years, she has presented many workshops that integrate technology and literacy for the International Society for Technology in Education.

If you would like to share your tips and tricks on our blog, please email us at submit@voki.com. We always love to hear how Voki is being used to enhance students’ experiences in the classroom!

Interviews with Educators | Vivienne Roberts

Interviews with Educators | Vivienne Roberts

Every month, we like to get a teacher’s perspective of Voki and learn more about how he or she uses Voki in the classroom. Usually, the teachers we interview have been Voki fans for quite a while. This month, we got the chance to talk to Vivienne Roberts, a Curriculum Leader and Assistant Vice Principal at All Saints Academy Dunstable in England and a Voki newbie!

Check out Vivienne’s interview below which offers a fresh perspective on Voki, especially when it comes to her ideas for Modern Language classes.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Curriculum Leader for Communications and Assistant Vice Principal at All Saints Academy Dunstable in England, which caters for students aged 13 to 19.  While I am responsible for English and Literacy, my subject specialism is Modern Langauges.  I discovered Voki only very recently and noticed immediately how useful a tool it could be for my students.

How do you use Voki?

I’ve begun by using Voki with my 14-16 year old students as part of the preparation for speaking assessments.  I’ve set up a classroom for them and have created a number of lessons, using the types of questions I plan to ask in the test.  In the instructions for each lesson, I include some hints as to the language structures I would like them to use.  The students then create a Voki for each one and type in their responses to the questions.  By changing the language and the voice, they can hear accurate pronunciation and intonation.  By listening to their Vokis, they can learn their material for the test more thoroughly and they really enjoy creating the characters and playing around with the different voices, accents and special effects.

What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

I love the fact that Vokis give my students greater independence in their learning.  There is only one of me to go round a whole class but the foreign language voices in Voki allow them to listen and learn at their own pace.  They forget that they’re learning because they have so much fun making weird creatures and trying out the different voices.  Without being aware of it, they listen to their work several times over, thus consolidating the language content.

We can also create Vokis using sound files of the students speaking. Many students are reluctant to speak in another language in front of their peers but attaching the sound file to a Voki allows them to ‘hide’ behind the avatar and feel less self-conscious.

I can create my very own bespoke Vokis for my students as listening comprehension activities.  The Voki will allow me to include exactly what I want, rather than relying on resources create by another person based upon what they think my students should learn.  Vokis are very liberating!

What is one of your favorite lessons you have taught using Voki? 

I’m still a Voki novice but using the Vokis for preparation for speaking tests has inspired my students.  They want to add more to their Vokis – the Vokis are funny and the more they say, the funnier they become.  Having a different Voki for each question really helps them.  They can visualise the creature and this helps them to recall what it says i.e. their own answer to a question.

Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

As for tips, I’m sure I’ll acquire a few as I become a more competent user!  At the moment, I’ve only really got the basics, but I know I’ll find a few tips and quick fixes as I get better at it.  In the meantime, we’re having a lot of fun in Spanish and French lessons and that is priceless.

Want to be interviewed for this section? Send us a note and a link to your blog/ twitter: submit@voki.com!


The Voki Team