Voki Tip of the Week: Voki as a Widget on WordPress

Voki Tip of the Week: Voki as a Widget on WordPress

Question: I noticed the nifty avatar on your blog. How do I make Voki appear as a widget on the sidebar of my WordPress blog??

Answer: There are a few ways to do it. In this post, we’re going to walk you through one of the easier ways. Below, we show you the easiest way to make your Voki widget work without using a third-party. You’re only minutes away from having a Voki greeting on your WP homepage, ready to greet your readers!

Using Voki’s Embed Code

1. Open a Word document or other text editor.

2. Log in to Voki and WordPress.

3. In WordPress, go to the “Appearance” tab, and select the “Widgets” option.

4. Look at your widget options. Choose the “Text” widget and drag it to the sidebar display of your choice.

5. Now, in My Voki, select your Voki of choice, and click “Publish your Voki.”

6. Copy the entire embed code.

Copy the Voki Embed Code

7. Paste the code in your open Word document.

Paste the Voki Embed Code into a Word Doc

Okay! Good job, we have made it this far. Let’s pat ourselves on the back and take a couple of breaths before we move forward. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale…

Almost there! Now for the finishing touches…

8. In the Word doc, highlight the source code, or “src” code. This can be found by locating src= and highlighting the hyperlink that is in between the quotation marks (it’s a pretty long link, so make sure you copy everything in between the quotation marks). See the example below.

9. To make sure you copied the link correctly, paste the highlighted link into your internet browser (but not this window or tab!) and press Enter. Your Voki should appear on the page in full screen (pretty cool!).

10. Paste the long link you highlighted in the code below, where it says [YOUR-CODE] (make sure the brackets come out, and the quotes remain):
***Text version of the code can be found in the comments section towards the end.***

11. Copy and Paste your new embed code from the Word doc, into the WordPress Text box (and click Save).

12. Check out your blog! Your Voki should be happy to greet you!

TIP: If you don’t see the Voki, and you’re certain you followed the steps correctly, try clearing your browser’s cookies and cache, and reopening the page.

For those of you with WordPress blogs, we hope this helps you out! If you know of an (even) easier way to make Voki work with WordPress, please share it with us below in a comment!

And, if you have any ideas for future Voki Tip of the Week posts, feel free to share them below, and we’ll add them to the list!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

http://www.voki.com

Have you seen Voki Classroom?
Check out the new Voki classroom management system, and the intro video, right here.

Interviews with Educators | Lyndell Allen

Interviews with Educators | Lyndell Allen

We love hearing about how teachers from all over the world use Voki in their classrooms. In this edition of our Interviews with Educators series, we get a sneak peak inside of Lyndell Allen’s music classes in Ballarat, Australia! Have we mentioned that we love Australia!?

Lyndell Allen is an engaging and very busy music teacher, and mom of 3 boys. As well as teaching her regular music classes, Lyndell specializes in choral music and is the director of 4 junior choirs, a girls’ chapel choir, a boys’ chapel choir, and the chamber choir at school! Oh, and she’s also a bit of a Web 2.0 enthusiast and practitioner! Lyndell was kind enough to share with us some info about herself, her classes, and how she uses Voki as a tech tool (an “instrument”, if you will) to accompany her in the classroom.

Check out her video below to learn more about Lyndell and how Voki can be musical!

If you’re on Twitter, make sure to follow Lyndell: @lalalyndella

So, what do you think about our latest Voki Interview with Educators? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Want to be interviewed for this section? Send us a note and a link to your blog/ twitter: submit@voki.com!

Get Creative with Voki – New Arts Lesson Plans!

Get Creative with Voki – New Arts Lesson Plans!

Get out your paintbrushes, glue, and construction paper! Bring out the lights, your best smile, and a script! It’s time to have fun with Voki and Visual Arts! From color studies and collages to instructional videos and personal short films, you can use Voki to help bring out the artist in every student!

Ranging from 6th to 12th grade, these lesson plans are designed to help students explore art, contextualize its meanings, produce artwork of their own, and make connections with light, shadow, color and mood to create a certain effect.

Along with lesson plans that focus on visual arts, we have also included  two lessons regarding the art of film. Your students will be in charge of writing and producing their own short films and using their knowledge of basic art composition to create entertaining and visually interesting shorts.

(We went a little crazy with the art lesson plans; but hey, what kind of renowned art isn’t a little nutty?)

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requisite – you can use most Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style, or your students’ abilities.

Art Interpretations (6th Grade, Arts) –  Students are assigned one photocopy of a famous work of art. They research the background and context in which the work was created. Students then create a Voki that interprets the work’s significance at the time it was created, and follow up with a brief, impromptu personal opinion of the piece.

An Artist’s History (7th Grade, Arts) –  Students discover more about notable artists and create a brief presentation that showcases an artist’s information, famous pieces, and a student analysis of the work. Students use Voki to talk about how they feel about the art and what it means to them personally. By the end of the lesson, students will have constructed an artist database to refer to before tests.

Immediate Attraction (8th Grade, Arts) –  This is a quick exercise to help students discover their art preferences and interests. Students will have 45 seconds to flip through art books and find one piece that catches their attention. After they have gone through 3 books, students will analyze each of 3 pieces of art. Students will use Voki to describe the art, how it makes them feel, think, and what kind of reactions their chosen pieces evoke.

A New Family Tree (9th Grade, Arts) –  Students use copies of family photos and magazine clips to recreate a picture of their fantasy family tree. By using various mediums, students will make collages that use real life mixed with various aspects of their imagination to create an avant-garde piece of artwork. Students will then use Voki to describe the brief history of their made-up family.

The Meaning of Color (10th Grade, Arts) – Students work together, and alone, using color to convey a story. Students will be divided into two groups of warm and cool colors. As a team, students work together cutting out colored paper and “collaging” to create a group piece of art. After the group work is done, each student will create a Voki that tells a story that represents the artwork.

The Identity Project (11th Grade, Arts) –  Students use video to create a short film that explores their identity. Students are encouraged to use whatever they would like to make their video and have all creative freedom as long as they remain on topic or can justify any deviation from the topic. Students will then create a Voki that introduces the video to the class.

A Guide to What?! (12th Grade, Arts) – Students draw three cards from a bag that contains different words. Students then create an instructional video that somehow incorporates the three words into the activity or idea being taught. Students will create a Voki that begins the video presentation by explaining what words were drawn and what the instructional video is going to teach.

As always, we would love to hear how you are using Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Start Fresh: New Year’s Lesson Plans

Start Fresh: New Year’s Lesson Plans

It’s 2012 and school is back in session! Instead of forgetting about the happy holiday moments you and your students  experienced, extend the joy just one more day and try out one of our informative and fun New Year’s lesson plans.

With this new set of lesson plans, you and your students can talk about class resolutions and make a pact to work towards your new goals and be supportive of each other. You can also learn about different calendars used around the world and their New Year’s day celebrations.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requisite – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style, or your students’ abilities.

What is your New Year’s Resolution? (Elementary, Public Speaking, Writing, Other) – A new year can bring a fresh start to your class. With this New Year’s lesson plan, you and your students can reflect on the last year in class and how this year can be better. Students will learn about resolutions and be introspective in order to bring out the best from within.

Calendars Around the World (Middle School, Social Studies, Other) – Students will learn about other calendars that exist in the world and about the cultures that observe different New Year’s days. Each student will create a Voki that teaches the class about the history of a different calendar. They will also use Voki to talk about when and how certain cultures celebrate their New Year.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve (High School, History, Geography, Social Studies, Other) – Students will discover more about the history and traditions associated with the New Year’s Eve celebrations in other parts of the world. In this interactive lesson, students gather into small groups and use Vokis to give an in depth oral presentation about the history of different culture’s New Year’s traditions. They will also do a show and tell with a visual that the students construct that represents the culture they studied. After the presentations are complete, the class can have their own New Year’s party using all of the customs and traditions they learned about.

As always, we would love to hear how you are using Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy 2012!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

The Voki Favorites of 2011

The Voki Favorites of 2011

We are always impressed to see what educators and students can come up with using Voki. The year 2011 was a good one for Voki as was apparent through the emergence of class videos demonstrating Voki in action, well developed instructional videos for newbies, great lesson plans coming from all over the world, and so much more!

We decided to collect our favorite ways of using Voki here for all to see. Please browse through the list to learn more about Voki and how teachers from around the world use it to make class a virtual blast! Hopefully you will be inspired to come up with other ways to make Voki a part of your class. Below is a short list of some of our favorites but believe us, there are so many more out there!

10 Ways you can use Voki:

  1. Improve Confidence
  2. Learn Chinese
  3. Voki Introductions
  4. Interactive Instruction
  5. Break Barriers using Multiple Means of Engagement
  6. Become Digitally Literate
  7. Voki Dictation for Language Class
  8. “Pass it On” Buddy Method
  9. Update Students and Parents on Class Blogs
  10. Make Learning Exciting!

Thanks to all who made this list possible and to everyone that has made Voki a part of their classroom! We look forward to the new year and to hear back from you about the fun and innovative ways you use Voki in your lessons. Who knows? You and your students may find yourselves and your Vokis on our blog!

Happy New Year to all! May your 2012 be filled with happiness, gratitude, and new experiences!

Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block: Writing Lesson Plans

Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block: Writing Lesson Plans

Another year has come and gone and so has the winter vacation. Students may be coming back to class clinging onto the remaining visions of sugarplums and fairies; but instead of trying to overcome their rapacious imaginations, work with them! Now is the perfect time to engage your students in exercises that bring out their excitement and indulge their enthusiasm.

Below are a few Writing lesson plans that will enable students to write freely and use their imaginations with confidence. Many middle-schoolers consider writing a dreaded task, and tend to suffer from Writer’s Block. Too many times, students are required to write technical and analytic essays, at the expense of developing their creative writing skills with prose and short stories.

The lessons below are designed to help students gain confidence writing out their thoughts by using repetition and creative topics. Each exercise encourages individual perspective, unique ideas, and thought with little imaginative constraint. By introducing students into an atmosphere that is largely dictated by their free thought, writing will hopefully become an approachable subject that will enable students to handle writing assignments ease and fluidity, no matter what the topic.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requirement – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style, or your students’ abilities.

Paragraph Practice (6th Grade Writing) – Students gain writing practice with a regularly scheduled, one paragraph writing exercise using Voki. By doing this exercise once a week, students will write in different styles and voices and will also be more accustomed to writing without preparation. At the end of the year, students will be able to listen to their paragraphs and evaluate their improvement in class.

Creative Writing Crunch (7th Grade Writing) – Students draw a prompt from a bag and have 15 minutes to write a creative narrative. Once the 15 minutes are over, students will use Voki to introduce their creative story and then take turns sharing their Voki and reading their work. This exercise will help students develop confidence in writing and technique. By using light-hearted prompts, students will have fun using their imagination.

Character Guess Who (8th Grade Writing) – Students will create a Voki and write a paragraph that describes their favorite book or movie character in detail.  Students will be encouraged to write using imagery and descriptive details with the goal of painting a picture with their words. After each Voki presentation is given, the classmates will try to guess who the character is.

As always, we would love to hear how you are using Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Season’s Greetings: Lesson Plans to Spread Cheer

Season’s Greetings: Lesson Plans to Spread Cheer

You can feel it in the air and see it in every shop window. The holidays are here and there is a lot to celebrate! Students are already itching for Winter break. Now is the perfect time to indulge in those happy thoughts and wishes, and learn a little along the way!

We have created three Voki lesson plans that can be used for any grade level. These lessons will give students a chance to discover the perfect winter wonderland in lands unknown, find out how different cultures celebrate Christmas, and learn about Chanukah customs and traditions.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not a requisite – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style, or your students’ abilities.

Christmas Around the World (Any Grade, Geography and Social Studies) – Students will research Christmas traditions in different countries. They will prepare a presentation for the class that will consist of an oral presentation, a PowerPoint and a Voki. This activity will give students a chance to learn more about different cultures from around the world and how they celebrate one of the most important days in the Christian religion.

The Story of Chanukah (Middle School, Social Studies) – Students will learn more about the customs and traditions associated with the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. Students will gather into groups and be assigned a Chanukah research topic. Once the groups have completed their research, students will make a group presentation using Voki.

The Best Winter Vacation Ever (Any Grade, Geography) – Students will write a paragraph that describes a book or movie character in detail.  After the paragraphs have been written, students will be able to design their Voki according to the description and present their Voki character description. Classmates will try to guess who the character is based on the description.

As always, we would love to hear how you are using Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Public Speaking? No Sweat!

Public Speaking? No Sweat!

Public Speaking, like any other subject, takes practice — lots of practice.  Just think about the most common nightmare experienced by children and adults worldwide: You’re palms are sweaty. You’re feeling nervous. You finally take the stage to make your speech, then from the audience bursts laughter from corner to corner. You wonder what is wrong and you look down…

Luckily, that scenario rarely happens in real life, but the fear is real. Avoiding anxiety can actually be easy if you practice public speaking regularly. Students may not know it now, but the truth is, feeling confident speaking in front of a group will help them tremendously later in life.

From a professional atmosphere to an informal gathering, the skills acquired in a Public Speaking class can be a great personal asset. Below are a few lessons we have created to help make the subject more approachable by students. By using Voki and recording their voices (instead of using the text-to-speech feature), students will be able to deal with public speaking with greater confidence. As time goes on, students’ will develop their own style and techniques.

Remember: The grade level we assign to each lesson plan is not set in stone – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style, or your students’ abilities.

Personal Introductions (6th, Public Speaking) – Students will break the ice in their public speaking class using Voki. In an informal introduction, students will talk about who they are, what their goals are for the class, and who they admire. After presentations are done, classmates will know more about each other’s personal lives and in turn feel more connected and less shy.

Impromptu with Voki (7th, Public Speaking) – Speaking on the spot can cause anxiety and sweat but by practicing impromptu speeches with Voki, students will ease into a difficult task and remain calm. By using this lesson as practice once a week, students will become more adept at thinking on their feet and develop a personal style. Who knows, maybe your next student will run for president…

The Leader of the School (8th, Public Speaking and Writing) – In this exercise of imagination, students will have 60 seconds (90 seconds with Voki Classroom) to convince their classmates to elect them as leader of the classroom after being stranded on an island. The idea is to form a compelling written speech and then use Voki in order to present a concise redaction of the speech that emphasizes the main points of the student’s reasoning. Students will have fun using their imaginations and learn about persuasive speech techniques.

As always, we would love to hear how you are using Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

Happy learning, and have fun!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

English Rules Are Cool for School with Voki

English Rules Are Cool for School with Voki

It’s time to give English grammar and writing the appreciation they deserve! Often considered to be a difficult language with more exceptions than rules, English has the ability to mystify students and teachers alike. In order to cultivate young minds that can distinguish the subtleties of the English language, teachers and students must be open to connecting many rules, in order to understand how they work together to form one language. With this in mind, we have dedicated this week to English grammar and all of its glory. From homonyms to helping verbs, we’ve got you covered on the basics.

Our new English Grammar lesson plans are now live in the Voki Lesson Plan Database. As always, Voki lesson plans are provided to teachers free of charge!

Remember: The grade assigned to each lesson plan is not set in stone – you can use Voki lesson plans from a higher, or lower, grade than the one you teach – if you think they fit! Also, remember that you can adapt Voki lesson plans to fit your style or your students’ abilities.

  • Helping Verbs (4th Grade) – In this lesson, students will learn the 23 different helping verbs and use Voki to make lessons for their peers. In order to gain an understanding of what separates a helping verb from an action verb, students will be asked to act out verbs that the teacher says. After the actions (or inactions) are done, students will have had first hand experience dealing with the two forms. The idea of verbs with no singular meaning may confuse some ESL students, so it helps to be fully prepared for this lesson in advance. By the end of this lesson, students will understand the grammatical importance of helping verbs.
  • Capitalize that! (3rd Grade) – In this lesson students will be in charge of exploring a capitalization rule out of the many in the English language. Students create a Voki that informs classmates of a capitalization rule, and then give an example. The Vokis can be combined on a webpage to serve as a reference for students before a test.
  • Homonyms (5th Grade) – Students will discover the subtleties of the English language by familiarizing themselves with the 5 categories of homonyms. Utilizing various homonym jokes, Voki avatars, and formal instruction, students will become more attuned to the details of English and hopefully never write ‘to’ in place of ‘too’!

When it comes to teaching English grammar rules, the power of repetition and an interactive atmosphere is not to be underestimated. If one student understands the rules, ask him or her to explain it to the students that need help.

Each of these Voki lessons contain tasks that ask students repeat what they learn, through various activities, before creating a Voki. Doing so will help students remember the rules and link what they have learned to other grammar rules they encounter in the future.

As always, we are interested in hearing about how you have used Voki in class. If you have a lesson plan that uses Voki (or that can be adapted to incorporate Voki) and you would like to share, please email us at lessonplans@voki.com.

We hope you enjoy!

Sincerely,

The Voki Team

Voki Classroom: More New Updates

Voki Classroom: More New Updates

We’ve just introduced some exciting updates to Voki Classroom, and we wanted to share them with you. There’s nothing you need to do; these changes are already “live” in your account!

Voki Classroom is getting easier to use and navigate thanks to your suggestions! Our newest upgrades and updates for version 1.2 include some minor changes that make a big difference and help make your (and your students’) Voki experience more valuable. Take a look at the main changes below – you might even recognize your suggestion!

  • Additional Students and Classes – The current student limit per teacher (100) is more than enough for most teachers. However, some of you superstars have even more than 100 students (incredible!) with whom you’d like to use Voki. The same holds true for the 5 class limit. So, if you need more student accounts, or more classes, you can now easily add more of each. Simply click on My Account, and you’ll see your current limit, as well as what you’re currently using. Next to your Classes and Student Account info, you’ll see a link to Add More. Additional Student accounts come in batches of 10 ($0.50 per student), and individual Classes cost $5.00 each. Remember: Each Voki Classroom Class can have multiple Assignments!
  • Review Tab Filters – Searching for submitted student work can be difficult, but with our new filtering options on the review tab, finding specific items is easier. When you go to the Review Tab, the display will always show scenes that belong to one class. You will be able to filter the information shown by Class, Assignments within the Class,  or Students for the selected Class or Assignment. Also, the Review tab view will now land on the Ready for Review view by default (as opposed to All). This means that your Review section will now load even faster! Finally, if you are reviewing Vokis in a certain Class, when you navigate away from Review, and then come back later, your last selection will be remembered, so you don’t have to re-select the Class you were working on!
  • Time Stamp on the Review & Student View – This one was very important to many of you… Now, when you review students work, you’ll see a “time stamp” (date and time the Voki was saved by the student). Like the teacher always says, “Don’t forget to put your name and date at the top of your paper!” The timestamp will be visible to both you and the student who created the Voki.
  • Embed Button in Student View – Many of you have class (or student) websites and blogs, where you would like students to embed their finished Vokis. Now, students have an EMBED button for each Voki, right there in the student view. After a Voki is approved by the teacher, the EMBED button in the Student View becomes clickable. When clicked, it will open the sharing/ embedding window. Note: students will only be able to click the EMBED button after you have approved their Voki.
To check out these updates now, Log in to your Voki Classroom account.
We hope you continue to enjoy Voki Classroom and that you get even more value from these changes. As always, we want Voki to be a tool that works seamlessly into your classes and busy schedule.
If you have any suggestions, lease feel free to click the FEEDBACK tab in Voki Classroom, or email us at feedback@voki.com – we consider each and every suggestion! That’s all for now – stay tuned in to learn about future changes and updates to Voki and Voki Classroom!

Until next time,

The Voki Team