I am a technology integration specialist for my school system, but before I held this position, I was a high school librarian. As a librarian, I was fortunate enough to have high school students as library aides, and one of the duties I assigned them was to do book talks about books in the library. Another favorite activity was creating book trailers, which consisted of a two- or three-minute video designed to spark interest in the book, much like a movie trailer. Well, you can imagine our excitement when we discovered Voki!
Using Voki made our book talks and book trailers come to life, literally! Students were able to pick their own unique background, or even upload their own picture, to depict a scene from the book. Some students chose to pick a more nonspecific background, but the background was always tied to the avatar. If the students were illustrating a scene from the book, they would try to find an avatar to match their idea of what the main character looked like! I loved watching one student try to come up with the perfect avatar for Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games. Mind you, this was before the Hunger Games film franchise burst onto the scene, so my student was able to truly use her imagination and the words from the book to create her very own Katniss. Students also enjoyed taking the avatar for a known personality, such as Mrs. Claus, and tweaking her hair, face, and clothing to make into someone else entirely, such as Grandma Dowdel from A Year Down Yonder.
When it came time to insert the dialogue, students loved the choices they had with Voki. Some liked browsing the plethora of accents and genders among the voice choices to find just the right combination for their particular character. Still others liked the option of using their own voice. Even with this option, students can play with the speed and timbre of their recorded voice until even their own best friend would not recognize who it was!
With its seemingly endless customization features, Voki allows our students to reach that highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy: creation! When you let your students use Voki, the only limit is their imagination!
Carol works for the Lauderdale County Board of Education in Florence, Alabama, as a technology integration specialist. Before moving to the district office, she served as an English and Drama teacher, then the librarian at Wilson High School in Lauderdale County.