Voki’s speaking avatars add a creative and personal element to any classroom, and they are especially effective in connecting participants of online courses. Vokis are also perfect for communications courses that focus on speech and language.
Connecting in the Virtual Classroom
Students of online courses may feel disconnected from professors who only communicate via chat or e-mail. Speaking avatars are being used by online instructors to introduce themselves in more personalized and engaging ways.
Similarly, students can create avatars to introduce themselves to professors and classmates in an icebreaking routine. This works well for those students who are uncomfortable with video chat, and it also allows everyone to share elements of their personalities through the fun visual elements.
Sharing Updates and Announcements
In addition to using a Voki for a preliminary introduction, professors can use these speaking avatars to make announcements or pose weekly questions. Professors can record their own voices to promote further personalized engagement.
Vokis focus largely on speech, making it the perfect learning tool for speech and language classes.
- Foreign Language Course– Professors can use Vokis to record a number of phrases. By posting them to a project management system (such as Blackboard), students would be able to access the phrases at any time. Students can also use the Voki to record their own phrases or short responses to a question posed by a Professor.
- Lesson Idea: Play a storytelling game where the professor begins with a 60 second premise. In a predetermined sequence, each student must respond to the story of the preceding student (as told by Vokis). The end result will be a long story, full of twists and turns and all the humor of mistakes. Students should be encouraged to respond quickly and creatively. The goal is to communicate confidently and effectively in the moment – which doesn’t always require perfect grammar.
- Communications/Speech Courses– Using a series of recordings invoking tone, inflection, pace and other elements of speech; students can develop their best speaking voices and share the results with professors and classmates.
- Lesson Idea: Ask students to create an avatar that represents a famous celebrity or politician (historical figures are okay). Students can then use voice imitation to create a cartoon version of the figure. This will allow students to have fun while studying voice patterns.
- Radio Broadcasting– Radio broadcasting students have the unique challenge of establishing a great speaking voice as well as an on-air persona. Broadcasting students can use Voki to create engaging representations of on-air exchanges that can be shared with classmates and professors.
- Lesson Idea: Students will create a one-minute recording to align with his or her own radio personality. The avatar, the voice and the material will work together to create a realized character. The goal is to teach students how to purposefully meld voice and content to create a public personality. Classmates can vote on the most successful “virtual hosts.”
Barbara Jolie is a full time freelance writer and blogger. She writes about advantages of online classes and is particularly interested in writing and language education. If you have any questions email Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.