This summer, we asked our Voki community to submit their stories on how Voki has changed their classroom experience. We’d like to share with you the story of Sheila Slawiak, our featured teacher winner, who transformed her students’ attitude, engagement level, and integrity in their work using Voki.
Last school year during Q4 I tried out Voki for the first time. I teach inner city struggling urban middle school students at a Level 4 school and before Voki, no project impressed them! Then I found Voki and tried it! To my surprise, all of my students loved it (from special ed to honors); I had 100% student engagement; and I had a student focused class! It was a huge WOW! For me and for my students. Even my most highly risk students produced their product using my project requirements. Never did I hear, “this is too much work!”
I do have to admit, I used a lesson plan from the Voki blog as an idea. Our school requires monthly written essays that show “citing of evidence”. I took the idea of writing a persuasive essay about the importance of healthy snacks. I gave my students a text set of 3 articles regarding the pros and cons of healthy snacks so they could synthesize their essay. I also told them that their audience were 5th graders so they could feel important sharing what they have learned about healthy snacks.
To my surprise, they were so involved with all the activities in order to produce a talking persuasive avatar. For the first time, there were no moans or groans inundating the lab, or piercing eyes staring at me. For the first time, I was able to facilitate peer reviews where each student really took an interest in their partners’ work. For the first time, each student wanted to present their findings. For the first time, each student either scored a 3 or a 4 on my rubric vs. 0-3s. And for the first time, I was rated with high evaluative scores from my principals! We all won and I attribute these wins to Voki! Next school year, I’ll invite parents!
Thank you Voki for being so imaginative and for not ever settling!
Sheila is an Instructional Technology Teacher for grades 6-8. She is passionate about teaching educational technology to both her students and colleagues. Shelia has expressed this sentiment on teaching: “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you can encourage all students (no matter what their challenges are in learning) to express their thoughts by utilizing audio applications like Voki that allow students to imagine greatness!”