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: firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Voki Team