Guest Post: Creating Sight Word Games with Voki and Augmented Reality

Guest Post: Creating Sight Word Games with Voki and Augmented Reality

The Voki Team is so excited to introduce Ashleigh Catanzariti to the #VokiFam! Ashleigh has been doing some incredible work with her students in Sydney, Australia. We were extremely impressed with how she was able to use Voki in order to create an independent and autonomous learning experience for her students. Please read on to learn more about this brilliant activity and how to recreate it in your classroom:

Hello from down under! I am an educator from South Western Sydney, Australia, currently fortunate enough to be in a Digital Technologies/ STEM coaching role across two innovative primary schools. I have a strong passion for authentic integration of technology and believe it provides amazing opportunities to enhance learning and take it to a new level.

I have recently been using Voki to assist students in hearing sight words they are learning. While introducing BlueBots to a Kindergarten classroom, the teacher asked me to create a sight word game for their students to use during reading groups. I quickly discovered the game would become problematic for the students if they couldn’t remember the sight word correctly and a teacher wasn’t there to assist them. I decided a solution was needed so the students could independently play the game. To solve this dilemma, I use an Augmented Reality app (HP reveal) alongside Voki so the students could hear how to say the word correctly. When the students are unsure of a word, they use their iPad to scan over the unknown sight word and the Voki character reads it to them. Students are now able to complete this task independently and have the ability to hear the correct word if they haven’t learnt it yet.

I have created a handy “How To” below if you are interested in making a similar game for your students!

How to create your own sight word game using HP reveal and Voki.

These can be used under a BlueBot mat as part of a coding literacy activity or for any other sight word game!

Step 1: Create sight word cards including a different image per word (This will help with recognition when scanning into HP reveal).

Step 2: Use Voki to create a character and record them saying the sight word. Save to your iPad.

 

Step 3: Using HP reveal scan the sight word card, upload the Voki from your photo album, name it and make it public for others to see.

 

After introducing this to the Kindergarten team, a colleague suggested using this same idea to read word problems for Kindergarten to solve. The possibilities are endless through the use of these tools and so many others that are now right at our fingertips.

Thanks so much, Ashleigh, for sharing your expertise with the #VokiFam! To see more amazing tech activities by Ashleigh Catanzariti, follow her here.

If you have an awesome way to use Voki and would like to write a guest blog post to share with the Voki Community, email The Voki Team at  feedback@voki.com. We look forward to seeing how you use Voki!

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Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

We at Voki are always considering how to help you make learning more meaningful in your classroom. We know that your goal as a teacher is to foster a love of learning through an engaging curriculum. If you are already following along with us here on the Voki blog, you know the importance of seeing through your students’ eyes  and understanding what makes them tick. That is why so many rockstar teachers are always looking for more ways to use tech in everyday classroom routines. It is our goal to help, and make it easy & fun. It may seem intimidating, but it can be quite simple with the right technology.

 

An increasing number of studies have shown “increased student engagement and motivation when students have the opportunity to use tech for authentic learning experiences. Students find technology more engaging because it bridges the gap between their digital lives outside of school and their too often non-digital lives inside of school”. (More about this here.)

Many teachers are looking for more ways to bridge that digital gap in their classrooms.

That is why we are excited and honored to present to you with these new historic figures for Black History Month! Presenting…

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was a leader of the abolitionist movement and a former slave. He spent his life fighting for the betterment of the lives of African-Americans. He was also a supporter of women’s rights. Among other things, he was a self-taught scholar, wrote several books, and acted as Abolitionist advisor to Abraham Lincoln.

 

Coming Soon… Thurgood Marshall!

Thurgood Marshall successfully argued the Brown v. Board of Education case that would make segregated schools no longer legal.  He was the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was an activist from the South whose courageous choice not to surrender her seat to a white passenger and her subsequent arrest sparked outrage and led to the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. Parks’ decision to defy this segregation law in the 1950s was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a non-violent anti-apartheid activist who became the first black president of South Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his efforts to abolish South Africa’s oppressive infrastructure.

 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader and minister during the Civil rights Movement. He was an advocate of peaceful protest and employed this strategy in his fight to gain blacks equal rights. He is well-known for his “I Have A Dream” speech.

 

We know that you strive to bring learning to life in your classrooms. We’ve seen how you dress up like the characters in books, write songs about fractions, put on plays about greek mythology. You are constantly doing your best to create excitement around the topics you teach. We admire your dedication, but more importantly we want to help you imbue your lessons with the kind of energy that gets your students excited about coming to school everyday.

 

This month we’d love to see how your students delve into history about leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela and their fierce and peaceful movements to bring equality to the oppressed. Will your students feel empowered by Rosa Parks’ courageous choice to break the law for the civil rights of many?

Here are some ideas we have for how you can integrate Voki and these heroic figures into your lessons this month (and hopefully beyond.)

 

  • Play “Black History Month Jeopardy” using our new historical characters as the question askers as shown here.
  • Ask students to create avatars explaining history quadrants of before and after each historical figure’s contributions to society. See a teacher’s similar project here
  • Create healthy competitions amongst these icons with our brand new product, Voki Hangouts! Have students debate (representing themselves as these heroic avatars) which historical figure facilitated the most change in their communities. Never miss a valuable student comment or discussion with Voki Hangouts!

 

We can’t wait to see you expand the historical narrative in your classrooms. If you’ve created a rock star lesson using Voki avatars, we’d LOVE to see it. We love featuring videos and pictures of teachers and students who use and love Voki. Send any videos or photos to feedback@voki.com

 

Warmly,

The Voki Team

 

 

 

Using Voki in the Classroom: Engage, Enrich, Support!

Using Voki in the Classroom: Engage, Enrich, Support!

Check out the great blog post linked below by an All-Star Voki #Teacher! In the article, Megan explores the learning possibilities of #Voki as well as her first hand experience teaching as a talking moose!

Using Voki in the Classroom: Engage, Enrich, Support!

[PREVIEW]

The Talking Moose – I stumbled upon Voki a few years ago, while trying to find a fun way to teach a grammar lesson. I knew that students weren’t super excited about learning the difference between a possessive noun and a plural noun, and listening to me talk about it the whole time would just add insult to injury. No, I needed something to spice up my lesson!

This is where Voki came in! I created a moose who would “video chat” with my students and I about possessive and plural nouns. I prepped my kids by telling them that I had a very special friend calling….

READ FULL ARTICLE AT MZLEARNING.COM

The Update Voki Experience

The Update Voki Experience

This month we rolling our major improvements to the Voki Student experience! As of today, Voki learners can do more than ever!!! Changes include:

  1. Updates to the Voki Mobile Application
  2. New and improved Voki Student Desktop Experience (w/ Voki Classroom)

Voki Mobile

  1. Updated color scheme and design!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Students can now submit assignments to their teachers directly from within the Voki mobile app!

 

 

3. Upload your Voki Scene to Instagram!

 

 

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Top digital tools to implement in your learning process

Top digital tools to implement in your learning process

Today there are a lot of demands placed on students. Most of us aren’t just trying to get high grades, but also hold down jobs and find other ways that we can compete in the marketplace. After all, a degree is rarely enough. That’s all very stressful. Fortunately, it’s not all bad news as our recent spate of advances in our understanding of the brain as well as teaching algorithms has made it far easier for students to learn – particularly if we’ve got the right tools at our disposal.

So what are the right tools? That’s what we’re going to spend the rest of the article on.

Voki Presenter and Voki Classroom

Voki Presenter allows teachers and students to create a custom lesson with a personalized character. The Voki Classroom tool helps make managing classroom work even easier! With this software, you can manage the classroom Vokis, create personal profiles for each students, track grades and homeworks, review assignments online, and simplify other processes. No matter, if you are a private tutor or a school/college teacher, this software will definitely make teaching creativity easier to do.

Cold Turkey

The first thing that you should definitely consider in this age of distraction is Cold Turkey. No, they won’t love you for using it – but their grades will. You see, the program makes sure that certain websites are no longer accessible for your students. In this way, they won’t try to divide their attention between what they’re supposed to be doing and what they want to do.

So, block social media, Netflix and whatever other website they’ve recently decided is more fun than actually doing their work. From there, you’ll find it that much more likely they’ll actually get on with the project that’s actually due instead of trying to prove that multitasking isn’t actually bad for them.

Tinycards

The index card is not dead. Instead, it has gone online and it’s called Tinycard. This is a great tool to make sure students don’t just recognize knowledge but actually memorize it. In this way, they’ll have it at their disposal when tests and exams roll around.

The program allows you to go through subjects they’ve selected or make your own. In this way, students can learn about a whole range of subjects.

A good idea is to make sure students look back to sets of flash cards they haven’t looked at for a few months. In this way they’re far more likely to make what they’ve learned stick for the long run.

Bibme

One of the hardest things to get right for most students is how to correctly site what they’ve read in the articles they’re writing. This can often get them in a host of trouble.

So why not just use a program to do it for them? Bibme is a great citation tool that installs right on your computer. Of course there are citation generators that help students which you don’t need to install – which are great if you’re not working on your own computer.

The advantage of having something like bibme installed, however, is that you can also use it to keep track of the articles and books you’ve read. In that way, they form a library so you can find back what you’ve read a few months or years ago.

Alcamy

Described as part Wikipedia and part reddit, the idea of Alcamy is that rather than just absorbing information passively you instead become involved. You can submit material yourself or you can just set up an alert when somebody adds new information to the topic that you’re following.

In this way, your information can continue to expand and you can stay up to date with that is new to you and new to the world of science.

The data is presented in bite-sized chunks so that students can learn without needing to invest huge amounts of time. In this way, they can expand their knowledge about a lot of topics without having to put in a lot of effort.

Py

A great app for people that are on the move a lot and want to use the time they’ve got to learn about new things. The great thing is that you get a real sense of progress on this app as Py gives you a visual representation of what you’re learning and how far you’ve progressed.

These small gamification aspects can make a world of difference to people that might otherwise not easily be motivated to take part.

Last, but not least

These are great tools to quickly improve your knowledge in certain areas or to help you study. Do note, they all have a slight learning curve so generally it’s a good idea to get started with one and only pick up the next one when you’ve got that learned.

Otherwise it can be quite overwhelming.

Chris Mercer is a pro writer, developer and founder of Citatior, a powerful academic formatting tool for the students. 

7 Easy Ideas for a Healthy Breakfast Before Teaching

7 Easy Ideas for a Healthy Breakfast Before Teaching

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You have already heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you have a proper, well-balanced breakfast, you get enough energy to deal with the most complicated tasks. You do not feel tired and you don’t feel hungry until the lunchtime comes. Breakfast is like fuel for a car. If a car lacks it, it won’t move.

However, many teachers ignore breakfast thinking that coffee will be enough. But a cup of coffee, even with milk, will never be enough. To stay healthy and full of energy, you need something more.

You definitely have no time to prepare breakfast in the morning so you need some quick and easy recipes. Moreover, you don’t want to spend too much money on products and kitchen equipment. No worries, here we collected 7 easy ideas for breakfast that you can prepare at home!

Eggs

Well, eggs are probably the most famous breakfast food around the world. Eggs have enough vitamins and nutrients to give you the energy that you need. They have protein and fat, which means that you will feel full for a longer period of time.

Another really great thing about eggs is that you can cook them in different ways. One day, you can make a scramble and the next day you can just boil them. You can experiment with different types of omelets by adding tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese.

Smoothies

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Have you ever thought about replacing a hot breakfast with a drink? There are a great variety of smoothie drinks that can give you a variety of options every single day. You may want to try fruit or vegetable smoothies too. For example, you may mix mango and berries if you like exotic tastes. If you prefer vegetables, make a smoothie out of spinach, cucumber, celery, and other leafy vegetables. This is a mix of vitamins that will give you enough energy for the whole day.

Muffins

Muffins may take about 15 minutes to mix and then you have a delicious breakfast for the rest of the week. You can also try to cook muffins in the microwave. There are plenty of such recipes. Don’t hesitate to add vegetables, as they are the source of fiber that you need for good health to be able to do your best teaching.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another source of vitamins that you need to get enough energy for the whole day. If you don’t have too much time in the morning, you may prepare an overnight oatmeal. Just combine oats with yogurt or milk, add some dried fruits and nuts and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you will get a perfect breakfast and you won’t need to spend even a minute cooking it.

Just imagine that you wake up early in the morning and have an extra 20 minutes or so to hone your lesson plan.  If you have prepared an overnight oatmeal in advance, you don’t need to spend time preparing breakfast in the morning. In this way, you can check your plans for the day and have breakfast at the same time!

Peanut butter

If you don’t like oatmeal, smoothies, and eggs, you can still eat healthy. Everyone likes sandwiches! However, it’s important to use the ingredients that have enough vitamins and protein to contribute to your well-being.

A great example of such breakfast is whole wheat bread with peanut butter. It has enough fats, protein, and fiber that will help you stay strong and energetic all day long. Also, it will take you only a couple of minutes to cook such a meal.

Avocado

Avocado is rich in vitamins, acids, and carotenoids that are important for your health. Moreover, it has up to 14% of saturated fats. You can add avocado to a smoothie or make a sandwich but you can also eat it as a separate meal. This option will be the best choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Avocado is known as one of the green super foods and many doctors recommend to consume it at least a couple of times a week.

Fruits and yogurt

3Fruits and berries are the sources of vitamins that are important to stay healthy. It won’t be enough to eat just fruits for breakfast, as you need some fats so that the vitamins and fibers can get settled. Add some yogurt and you’ll notice the difference.

For such a breakfast, it will be better to choose sugar-free yogurt. The matter is that fruits are sweet enough and contain enough sugar by themselves.

As you can see, there are a variety of breakfast options. You don’t need to eat pizza leftovers from the yesterday evening or wait till lunchtime comes. You can prepare your breakfast in advance or choose some ideas that will take you 5 minutes like sandwiches, 10 minutes like eggs, or 15 minutes like muffins.

It’s important to remember to eat breakfast regularly. Except for energy, you’ll have a faster metabolism, which will help you stay in shape. Also, you’ll notice that your immunity will get better and you will have more energy.

Author Bio: Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, she writes for various blogs like EliteEssayWriters. Her posts address the topics of education, writing, motivation, professional development. In her spare time, she prefers to read novels and crime thriller stories. Feel free to follow her on @battonschristi to ask questions or see more of her work.

Why is eco-education critically important for school curriculum?

Why is eco-education critically important for school curriculum?

Does eco-education deserve a space in our curriculum? Let me start by saying ‘absolutely’. Schools are a place where we learn about our world and how to interact with it. This doesn’t just mean understanding what a prime is, knowing where Waterloo is and who lost a battle there, and understanding what happens when we expose White Phosphorous to air. It also means that we grasp the importance of the world around us, what happens if we treat it poorly and lessons to avoid doing so.

At its most basic this will serve to make the generation of tomorrow more responsible citizens – after all a responsible citizen takes care of what is around them, which happens to include their environment. But it is more than that. By teaching children an understanding of their environment, we give them huge advantages as well. Let’s explore both of those ideas.

Understanding the interconnectivity of everything

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Everything is interconnected. That’s why a butterfly’s wings in New Mexico can theoretically cause a storm in China. Everything you do has knock on effects which can chase around the world for years and potentially even decades. This isn’t just true on an ecological level either, but on every other level as well. It lies behind the idea that if we all did a positive deed every day and paid the positivity we received forward, it would all eventually come around again and we’d all be better off.

By teaching ecological concerns to our children, we make them aware of that interconnectivity. And they, in turn, will come to understand the nature of our society as well as ecology. And that kind of understanding will both help them be more responsible citizens as well as more conscious of intentions and actions.

It improves health

There are a lot of dangerous substances we use in daily life that are harmful to health as well as the environment. By teaching ecology, we’re far more likely to give our students an understanding of what those are and how to identify them when they see them.

In this way, they don’t just help the environment, or for that matter just themselves. Instead, they will help their entire community by making them aware of dangerous materials and situations where people are taking harmful actions that degrade the environment.

It allows children to reconnect and disconnect

The great thing about teaching ecology is that you can do it right there, in your backyard. It is, after all, all around us. In this way, it allows students to connect with their direct environment and their community.

And in the process take some time to disconnect from all their devices and look beyond the tiny screens of the smartphones.

In that way, ecology classes can serve to reconnect students with the physical world and even learn greater appreciation for it. That will be good for physical and even better for the students.

Our environment needs us to step up

Despite what a vocal minority might say, the scientific evidence that our planet is warming and that we’re responsible is overwhelming. Even NASA says so. That means that if we want there to be any world left we have to take action. That takes a concerted effort on all our counts.

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The best time to teach a concern for our environment is during our childhood years, as afterwards people are less likely to shift their position on such things and learn the habits that can actually make a difference.

For that reason, it makes perfect sense to teach our children to be more eco conscious in school as then we can teach them the right behaviors to help our environment and to make the best of the damaged world we leave them.

And at least that’s something (even if it probably isn’t enough).

Amanda Sparks, pro writer and editor at Essay Supply, lifestyle writer at Huffington Post. I am fancy doing perfect things for this perfect world, and help people make their life easier with my lifestyle tips.