Using Voki on the First Day of School, as a Reflection Tool, and to Introduce Personas

Using Voki on the First Day of School, as a Reflection Tool, and to Introduce Personas


Although few people would have ever considered my 5th grade classroom “traditional,” I did avoid technology for the bulk of my first decade of teaching!  Nowadays, there are so many amazing tools out there that I wonder how anyone could avoid using technology with their students today.

Voki is one of those tools that I use in my classroom to increase motivation and encourage reflection with my students.  One such way I use Voki to increase motivation is on the first day of school.  Since it’s the first day, some of us don’t know everyone.  A mixer is a nice, old-fashioned way of getting to know each other and building community in the classroom.  Instead of the traditional walking around mixer, I decided to do a techie version that requires students to embed a URL on their blog & comment on each others’ posts.  (I bet these 5th graders never expected this on the first day!)

The mixer is called “Two Truths and a Lie.”  Students brainstormed two things that are true about themselves, but that might not be very believable to their peers, and one thing that is actually untrue that might be believable by their peers.  They mix them up & record them on a Voki.  After they are finished, they embed their Voki on their blog for others to listen to.  When people listen, they post a comment with their best guess as to which one might be the lie.  At the end of the period, the students post a comment on their blogs explaining which one was the lie for all to read.

I wanted to get technology into my students’ hands right away because we needed to establish some daily rituals, access some information online, and I needed my kiddos to pass on some details to their parents after school.  I also wanted my students to access their Google Mail accounts to accept invitations to our Weebly site, and learn how to create blog entries.

Here is a link to one of my students’ blog entries where some peers listened to their Voki and posted their guess as to which one of the three facts was actually a lie:

Not only is Voki motivational to students, but it also makes an excellent reflection tool.  Rather than have my students complete written reflections after finishing an activity, I occasionally have them create a Voki explaining what they learned from the lesson.

For example, in our unit on the Oregon Trail, my students participate in a simulation where they each become individuals traveling westward in a wagon train.  At the end of each period, I have my students summarize their learning experiences in several different ways, and one of those ways is through a Voki.  The novelty and creative process engage them in the task and often improve their work far beyond traditional written answers.  In addition, students who struggle with writing are able to explain their learning without being encumbered by the written word.  Because they are able to record their voices, they often get into it much more so than when they are writing their reflections or typing them.  Here is our “Voki Journal” of our journey west:

Finally, we like to use Voki to introduce ourselves to the other members of the crew headed to colonize Mars.  This is another simulation that we do in our classroom where children learn about the U.S. Constitution and Government through the experience of settling the red planet.  Due to overcrowding in the year 2150, we are forced to try to create a colony on Mars so that the human race can continue!

We are each from a different country and all have different backgrounds and occupations.  I have my students create a Voki introducing themselves, telling us a little bit about where they are from and what their job will be on Mars.  We then embed those Vokis at the top of our ePortfolios so whenever anyone visits our page, they can learn a little bit about our persona in the simulation.  Here is an example (in the top, right-hand corner of the page):—kendall

Voki has provided my students with a tool that motivates them to try their hardest and have fun doing so!  But be warned, once you teach them how to use this tool, they’re going to ask for it ALL THE TIME!  🙂



Paul Solarz is a 5th grade teacher in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is a 2015 Global Teacher Prize Top 50 and author of Learn Like a Pirate.

Safari Users: Microphone Issue

Safari Users: Microphone Issue

Hey Voki users! Recently, some Safari users/Mac users were experiencing some difficulties when it came to recording with a microphone. This is because your JavaScript is not updated.

So here’s what you should do:


  1. Go to
  2. When the page loads, you will see an option to Update plug-in.

We apologize for any inconvenience that you are having. This problem should be solved by next week! Just follow us on Facebook and Twitter for any updates on this issue!

If you are having difficulties with Voki, please send us an email at!

Voki Tip of the Week: Recognize Student Achievement with Voki

Voki Tip of the Week: Recognize Student Achievement with Voki

Voki is a useful tool that makes lessons interactive, educational, and fun.We love seeing how teachers around the world incorporate Voki into their classroom activities.  Voki isn’t only a great supplement to lessons, it can also serve as a cute message bearer that recognizes student achievements, good work, or birthdays! Just imagine a student’s delight upon receiving a Voki in their e-mail on their birthday that delivers a special and personalized message.

Below are a few examples of how Voki can help you give your students a virtual pat on the back.

Have a great week!

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

Happy learning, and have fun!


The Voki Team