Interview with Educators | James Covais

Interview with Educators | James Covais

1. Tell us a little about yourself:JamesCovais

My name is James Covais. I’m an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) in Henrico County, VA, USA. I’ve been a Voki user since 2011.

I love using new technology along with 21st century skills to help students learn and grow. My time is spent conferencing with teachers and developing lessons that engage students.

Technology helps facilitate student engagement and brings authentic tasks to the classroom. Technology is not the answer to teaching; rather technology is an extremely useful tool when it is combined with outstanding teaching.

2.What are your goals using Voki?

My goal is to use Voki as a tool to help students with their literacy journey. I think many people see Voki as just a presentation tool. Voki is also a wonderful tool that should be incorporated into the writing process.

3. How do you use Voki?

I use Voki with my teachers and students as a tool to help with the writing process. Students write their sentences in a separate word processing app. When the students are finished writing they copy and paste their sentences into the Voki website. The students are able to hear their sentences and evaluate. One class we were working on adjectives. One student thought their sentence was wonderful and then copied the sentence into the Voki website. When this student heard their sentence I heard, “Wow I need more adjectives.” That was so awesome to hear. Without the Voki website I don’t think we would have had that breakthrough.

4. What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

  •  I love how there are so many free characters to choose from.
  • I love all the different voices and accents.
  • I love that there is an option to type and not just speak (and the typed words are read back accurately!)

5. What would you add to the Voki product?

I think it would be awesome if we were able to download the finished Voki and save it locally to the hard drive. Sometimes the Internet moves slowly and the Voki may take a little bit to load. I don’t know if that is possible but that is just a wish.
6. Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

I don’t have any Voki tricks up my sleeve, but I would love to know some!

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Connect with James via Twitter: @CovaisTech

Follow his blog here: http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/jpcovais/

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at submit@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

 

 

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Interview with Educators | Andrew Jenkins

Interview with Educators | Andrew Jenkins

We bring you a wonderful interview with Andrew Jenkins! He is a Technology Teacher in Ohio.

Continue reading for Andrew’s interview! Or if you prefer, listen to his Voki:

 

ajenkins_2013-141. Tell us a little about yourself:

Hello there I am Andrew Jenkins, a Technology Teacher at Willetts Middle School in Brunswick Ohio, USA and I have been using Voki since 2010 as far as I can tell from my oldest created voki.

2. What are your goals using Voki?

To enhance instruction as well as increase student differentiation.

 3. How do you use Voki?

Voki is a tool that enhances the instructions for my online assignments in Moodle allowing me to give verbal instructions for any students that needs it via a Voki Avatar.

 4. What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

  • I can use it in my class
  • Students can use it
  • It is versatile for posting elsewhere

5. What would you add to the Voki product?

A few things:

  • the ability to “make a copy” of an avatar to use over an over…like the one I make of myself
  • an app or easy way to create using an iPad or other iDevices
  • a way to save/export as a movie type file to embed into various presentation options

6. Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

I would say when I create an avatar very similar to myself, the students are impressed.

Using Moodle as a central posting place allows me to have students post in an assignment and then other students can view each other’s work.  And often I have them then create a Voki to post as a response to their peer’s work.

 

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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @allthejenkins

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at submit@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Interview with Educators | Joseph Romano

Interview with Educators | Joseph Romano

Joseph

We bring you a wonderful interview with Joseph Romano this month! So, without further ado, take it away, Joseph!

1.   Tell us a little about yourself: 

At the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Joseph Romano (OCT, MEd, BEd, BFA) works as an ICT Lead Teacher & Position of Responsibility (POR) in the development and implementation of technology-driven teaching and learning. He support teachers and students in their building of capacity related to 21st Century skills, specifically focusing on nurturing the development of Communication, Collaboration, Creation and Critical Thinking (4 Cs).

As the Founder, Learning Strategist and Researcher at Classpace (www.classpace.ca), Joseph is currently continuing his research on Virtual World Pedagogy (#VWP). Working as a consultant and learning strategist, he is focusing on the transition from conventional spaces and practices of teaching and learning towards contemporary, digitally enriched collaborative experiences.

Joseph also works as an EdTech Advisor at MaRS, in Toronto’s Discovery District, in support of education-related startup companies and innovators. He supports these stakeholders by consulting on relevant educational practices and how their product/service may fit within that framework. Further, Joseph offers pedagogically-focused advice, driven by his #VWP Research, related to product/service impact on teaching and learning.

Joseph has been using Voki for 6 years, but more intensely this past school year.

2.   What are your goals using Voki?

In using Voki, my goals are to differentiate instruction by offering Students yet another mode in which they can express their learning and share their knowledge. We work in an environment that celebrates inquiry, Project Based Learning (PBL) and the 4Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Creation, & Critical Thinking) – through this, Students are invited to collaborate with one another in creation of a communication artifact (their Voki) that stands as an illustration of their learning.

3. How do you use Voki?

Voki is used in my Learning Space as a piece that integrates with our assignments, rather than just an extension. Voki has become a way we share what we know, rather than an aside or addition to what is already happening in our Teaching and Learning.

Our Students typically work in pairs and/or small groups to develop their Vokis. They collaborate first in person, then blend their learning in the digital environment by crafting and drafting writing in a Google Doc that is shared with me. We work together through the writing process, their apply our text to the Voki. Students focus on the meaning their Voki is meant to evoke and the audience whom will view the piece after. They craft their Voki’s appearance on this, as well as their text.

In sharing our pieces through our classes (within our internal class ICT Websites), in our Media Lab, as well as on Twitter and other online spaces, we interact with stakeholders who otherwise would not be a part of our Learning Space – a great benefit Voki offers in our exploration of Communication.

4. What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

In thinking about my 3 favorite things about Voki, I immediately think of:

  • Ease of Use: Within minutes, Student can understand the use and basic features of Voki – they are able to navigate the online environment with ease, making creating their Voki not only simple, but also Fun!
  • Visual Impact & Engagement: the avatars are visually appealing and interactive, they immediately draw a viewer in – Students are able to customize the “look” and “sound” of their Voki, truly crafting it for the purpose in which it will used within
  • Variety of Sharing Options: as with many classes who employ a 21C framework, we are constantly sharing and engaging with Stakeholders outside of our classroom walls – with this, we appreciate the ability to not only Tweet out and email links, but to also be able to embed our work in any of the Web Spaces we manage!


5. What would you add to the Voki product?

In thinking about what I would add Voki, I immediately think of:

  • Search Feature“My Voki”: developing a “Search Feature” that allows one to easily find a Voki saved in their “My Voki” list, by name, date, length and so on
  • iOS App it would be interesting to see how integrating Voki within a mobile platform would allow this learning to happen outside of the conventional “Computer Lab”, within real-world context(s)

 

6. Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

We have used Vine to record our Vokis in the context of discussion, to showcase a variety of Voki works (from a variety of Students). This has worked to show quick features and elements from a variety of Learners!

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Connect with Joseph via Twitter: @RomanoJ & @Classpace, via LinkedInhttp://goo.gl/ntjqS and via email: Joseph.Romano@classpace.ca

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at submit@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Interview with Educators | Bronwyn Joyce

Interview with Educators | Bronwyn Joyce

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Bronwyn is a classroom teacher at Liddiard Rd Primary School, Victoria Australia, iEARN Presenter iEARN World Conference Doha, Qatar 2013 and a member of the iEARN Australia Management team.  Her passion is globalising education and using ICT in the classroom as a 21st Century Learning tool.

1.    Tell us about yourself.

I am Bronwyn Joyce, a grade 5/6 teacher from Liddiard Rd Primary School, Australia. I started using Voki’s in 2013 as a way for my students to engage with technology in a fun and interactive way.

2.    What are your goals for using Voki? 

  • To give my students a voice to explain, have an opinion and to reflect.
  • To interact through technology when participating in global projects.
  • To enable our international friends to learn ways of interacting through technology without language being a barrier.
  • To help teach my international colleagues ways to enhance English skills and oral communication in their classrooms.

Vokis are bright, interactive and a simple way to build students skills in using technology while building their self esteem. They allow my students to communicate, when at times they feel like they don’t have a voice. Vokis help up connect with the world.

3.    How do you use Vokis?

When my class hear we are creating Voki’s the room erupts, they know we are going to be sending a message to the some one or the world.

I use Voki to:

  • Introduce my students in our global projects.
  • To reflect on their learning goals.
  • To explain their thinking on global issues eg Why Global Education is important in our classroom?
  • To teach my international teacher friends how to use Voki to build English communication skills.
  • To build intercultural relationships between classrooms around the world.
  • To introduce technology to foreign visitors who visit our school – I run a Voki lesson with our foreign visitors

1425537_746669115350249_1983210541_n4.    What are your 3 favourite things about Voki? 

  • It is interactive and engages student with creative ways of communicating.
  • The idea of a talking avatar hooks the students in.
  • It is global and can be embedded in to websites, blogs and places that can showcase students’ work across the world.

5.    What would you add to the Voki product? 

I would like to find an easier way to embed my students work. Sometimes we make some amazing Voki’s and when we publish they will not embed and the students get really disappointed or they lose their work and they have to start again.

 6.    Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve? 

Promoting my love and success of using Voki in my classroom with more global collaboration projects and teachers across the globe who has never used Voki before.

Watch out, I think we might make some Vokis to give the Voki team some advice and feedback on how we use and benefit from such a fabulous Web 2.0 tool. Stay tuned.

Voki is a way students can communicate cross-classroom, worldwide. It provides opportunities to build confidence through its communication options. Students can be academic, creative and critical thinkers while building colourful avatars that enable individual design and engagement in their classrooms. In my classroom Voki is voted the number one Web 2.0 tool because everyone can interact with ICT in their own individualised way.

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Check out Bronwyn’s blog:  56jclassroom.wordpress.com

Follow Bronwyn on Twitter: @JoyceBronwyn

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at submit@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Interview with Educators | Paul Solarz

Interview with Educators | Paul Solarz

Paul

This month, we have great interview with another tech-savvy educator! Paul Solarz is a 5th grade teacher who loves to use Voki! Check out Paul’s interview below!

1. Tell us a little about yourself:

  • Paul Solarz
  • 5th Grade Teacher
  • Westgate Elementary School
  • Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA
  • Voki user since 2012.

2. What are your goals using Voki?

  • Introspection
  • Reflection
  • Creative expression
  • Fun

3. How do you use Voki?

  • To start the year, I have my students play the game, “Two Truths and Lie” to introduce themselves to each other using Voki.  Here is how the game is traditionally played:

2Truth1Lie

  • Instead of telling people their three statements in person, they record them on a Voki.
  • They embed their Vokis on their ePortfolio.  Some add a poll to capture students’ votes, and everyone reflects on the experience.  When students have time, they listen to their friends’ Vokis and type their guess as to which one was the lie in the comments section of the ePortfolio.  Link to an example.
  • I also had my students create a Voki that introduced their Revolutionary War persona to the class.  We all transported back to 1763 and ended up in Boston.  Since we had no food, shelter, or clean clothes, we had to find apprenticeships and start working.  Each of us became a new person with the same first name, but our last name was now our profession.  I asked students to predict why they thought they were transported back in time, and what they hoped to learn while there.  All of this was done on a Voki.  Link to an example.

4. What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

  • It’s free!
  • My students can all log into one account at the same time.
  • Embeddable on their ePortfolios.

5. What would you add to the Voki product?

  • An automatic saving feature so students don’t lose their work if they have to stop early or if we lose our wireless connection.
  • Improve (or clarify what we’re doing wrong) the voice recording feature – it only works for us some of the time.

6. Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

  • No.

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

Interview with Educators | Rebecca Lallier

Interview with Educators | Rebecca Lallier

screen-shot-2013-06-10-at-6-44-14-pmFor this month’s interview, we have Rebecca Lallier from Dothan Brook School in Vermont. Rebecca is the creator of created School Counseling by Heart to share ideas, lessons, insights, experiences, inspirations!  For her first Voki project, she had her students imagined  him/herself in a future career!  Check them out here!

1.Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m Rebecca Lallier, an elementary school counselor at the Dothan Brook School in White River Junction, Vermont, US. I started using Voki in the spring of 2013.

2.What are your goals using Voki?

  • To give students the opportunity to explore their experiences and possibilities by stepping outside of themselves.
  •  Creating a Voki allows them to speak as if they have already accomplished something – behavioral change, a personal challenge, a future career – so they can “try on” the feeling of success, even before they’ve made much progress.

Sometimes it’s really hard to get kids who are self-defeating or feeling hopeless to push through and keep trying at something that is hard. This is one way to hold out a beacon to them and to help them believe in themselves.

3. How do you use Voki?

  • In the classroom setting – all 44 of my fourth graders made avatars of themselves in a future career as their final project for our Career Smarts unit. I will definitely be using Vokis in more classroom projects in the future.
  • In individual and small group counseling sessions to help kids express themselves.
  • To give directions that kids can access online as needed.

4. What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

  • That it’s so engaging and intuitive for kids
  • That it is a great tool through which they can show what they have learned (and I can assess that learning)
  • That I can manage the classroom accounts easily

5. What would you add to the Voki product?

More options for kid characters in the classic style and more racial/ethnic, and facial/body shape choices. The customization is great, but it’s hard for some kids to approximate how they look without some more basic characters.
6. Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

Some kids and I are already cooking up some advice-giving Vokis!

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Like Rebecca’s Facebook: School Counseling by Heart

Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @SchCslgByHeart

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at submit@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

 

Interviews with Educators | Jennifer Matthews

Interviews with Educators | Jennifer Matthews

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This month’s Interview with Educators features Jennifer Matthews. She is a tech-savvy teacher at Southampton Township School District in New Jersey. She works with students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Jennifer is a Voki user since 2012!

Check out Jennifer’s interview below and the Vokis her students created!

1.Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jennifer Matthews and I am the computer/technology and the Gifted and Talented teacher in the Southampton Township School District, which is in Southampton, New Jersey. I service students Kindergarten through 5th grade. I am also the schools webmaster, an adviser for the Media club and the Middle School cheer-leading coach. I have been a teacher for 15 years.

2. What are your goals using Voki?

I wanted a way for my S.T.E.P. (Southampton Township Enrichment Program) students to incorporate more technology into their units of study and to be able to share their thoughts, feelings and information publicly and creatively. Voki Classroom was perfect.

3. How do you use Voki?

My 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade S.T.E.P. students each create a Voki regularly to introduce an important person they are studying, explain a concept which they have learned and express their ideas in a fun and unique way.

4. What are your 3 favorite things about Voki?

There are many things I like about Voki and Voki classroom.

It is engaging to the students and lets them create an avatar that presents information to the world safely.

It is very easy to use and control. The students needed little instruction to use the tools to build their Voki avatar.  As the educator, I can easily add lessons and review what the students create before posting.

Affordability, Voki classroom is very affordable and easily adds technology to every unit of study.

5. What would you add to the Voki product?

Adding more design choices to the Voki’s look would be a wonderful addition as well as possibility having Voki’s interact with one another.
6. Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

I post my student’s Voki’s on my teacher’s website so all the students (and the world) can see what my students are learning and they can connect to a wide diverse audience.

Here is the link: http://school2.nj.sts.schoolinsites.com/?PageName=TeacherPage&Page=15&StaffID=188719

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