Voki: Changing The Way My Students Learn

Voki: Changing The Way My Students Learn

gurgastudentphotoHow is Voki revolutionizing the way students learn in the classroom? Find out in Gianna Gurga’s

(Our newest guest blogger’s) blog post!

https://fishphilosopher.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/voki-changing-the-way-my-students-learn/

gianna gurgaGianna Gurga is a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at 2 PK-8 schools in Waterbury, CT. She has been teaching for 4 years and has developed a passion for increasing students’ learning abilities by incorporating technology into various lessons and activities. Currently, Gianna is 5 weeks away from completing her Master of Education program in Instructional Design and Technology at Post University in Waterbury, CT. In addition to being a full-time teacher and graduate student, she is a High School Girls Tennis Coach, a ZUMBA Fitness Instructor, and a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.

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Heather Joins The Team

Heather Joins The Team

Hello Voki users!

My name is Heather Brown and I am the new Community Manager at Voki. One of the reasons why I joined the Voki Team is because—as a teacher– I see such potential in Voki. It truly is a groundbreaking tool for students and teachers. I believe that if Voki and educators work together, we will be able to revolutionize the way students engage with curriculum and the way teachers engage with students.

So, let me backtrack for a second and tell you a little bit about me. I am a New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan. My mother is a teacher, my father is a teacher, and my sister is a teacher.

One might say teaching is my family’s “family business.”

I’ve taught in schools all over NYC for seven years. During my travels, I noticed a few harrowing things:

  1. Many students weren’t engaged
  1. Many teachers were overwhelmed
  1. New curricula and common core standards were making numbers 1. and 2. even worse.

It’s clear that we can’t possibly solve these issues overnight.

But, it is my belief that a good first step is helping teachers feel more comfortable with what technology can offer them in their classrooms.

It can be scary to try something new. It can be hard to see the benefits of utilizing the digital space as an academic tool.  It can feel like just another new task to add to the pile of duties you already have. All of these feelings are very real and understandable.

But, I’ll share something I learned my first year as a teacher.  A phrase I still whisper to myself seven years later– “You have to lean into discomfort.” Besides, this is something that we ask our students to do every single day! Shouldn’t we lead by example and show them that even as an adult it is okay to be fearful of failing as long as you push through that fear?   Well, you know what my answer is. Of course, we must show our students that we, too, are learners who fail and fail again, until we succeed.

And you won’t be alone. There are so many teachers out there who are learning just like you, how to integrate technology into the classroom. Let us help. Voki and your fellow teachers are prepared to be your guides through the educational digital landscape.

Now, to those of you who are already taking advantage of the benefits that being a technologically savvy teacher can bring, BRAVO!  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Your students thank you for engaging them and bringing learning to life. But, remember, you have a responsibility to share your digital experiences with other educators who may need some guidance. Take them under your wing, share with them, and support them.

As for me, I am here to make teaching just a little bit easier for you.

  • I will post meaningful content across all of the Voki platforms—including this one.
  • I will listen to your needs, wants, frustrations, and feedback.
  • I will keep you abreast of the changes occurring at Voki Headquarters.
  • I will motivate you during your most challenging times.
  • I will facilitate the sharing of innovative ideas within our community.

At Voki, we believe that a close-knit community of teachers sharing their knowledge, technological expertise, and creativity, is a MUST in the movement to educate and engage.

So, are you with us?

BioHeather: Heather is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team  at Oddcast.  Before she joined the Voki team, she was a teacher for 7 years!  She has taught  in charter, private, and public schools all across NYC. She is excited to partner with you to  engage and educate your students! 

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

Voki Tip of the Week: Save your Voki as a video file!

Voki Tip of the Week: Save your Voki as a video file!

Some of our users have been wondering about turning their Voki scenes into .avi files (which stands for Audio Video Interleave). We’re here to help! It’s quite easy to create your Voki scene and add it wherever you like. It may take some time (and a little patience), but if we can do it, you can do it! 🙂

One of our tech savvy educators left a great tip via the Teacher’s Corner. Here’s how it works.:

  • Create a Voki.
  • Go to CamStudio (for example) and download the latest program;  it’s free.
  • Open the program and return to your Voki.
  • Drag the box over your Voki and press Record.
  • Play your Voki.
  • Stop recording when finished.

You can save your recording on your PC as a video file. You can then add it to a PowerPoint presentation, a website, or anywhere else for that matter. Give it a try!

voki

Got a Voki tip?

Share it in the “Voki in the Classroom” section and we might feature you right here, in the blog!

Voki Tip of the Week: Voki in Quia

Voki Tip of the Week: Voki in Quia

One of our favorite things about our users is that they are always coming up with great and inventive ways to use Voki. In this latest instance, an anonymous tipster posted to Teacher’s Corner how they use Voki with their Quia.com account. Anonymous adds a Voki scene to his quizzes. Here’s what Anonymous has to say:

“I’ve used Quia.com for years. You can include your Voki in a Quia quiz or activity. Next to many of the boxes that you fill out, you’ll notice a blue + sign. You can paste your Voki HTML code in this box, and your Voki will appear in the instructions, questions or answers, wherever you want them. As you make the Quia activity, be sure to check the box that says “Activate HTML and LaTeX.””

Here’s what that would look like:

quia

Got a Voki tip?

Share it in the “Voki in the Classroom” section and we might feature you right here, in the blog!

Interviews with Educators | LaQuita Denson

Interviews with Educators | LaQuita Denson

In this interview, instructional technology specialist LaQuita Denson tells us about how she uses Voki to train teachers on effective methods of delivering information during lessons, regardless of a student’s learning abilities.

The three features she finds the most useful about Voki are:

  1. The Language Feature: “This is really great with those students who are struggling readers, as well as students from different countries…”
  2. Multiple Vokis: “This is great when you’re doing an assignment [with multiple students], depending on the outcome or objective of the assignment.”
  3. Audio: “…whether you want to do this by text, or have the students use the microphone, as well as recording by phone, depending on the ability of the student…”

Take a look at this short interview to get an idea of how an educational technology professional uses Voki to enhance learning!

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog?
Send us an email at submit@voki.com and we’ll get in touch!