Interview with Educators | Stacy Brown

Interview with Educators | Stacy Brown

StacyWe bring you a wonderful interview with Stacy Brown! Stacy is the 21st century learning coordinator from the Davis Academy in Georgia. Stacy is a Voki user since 2010! Her goals in introducing Voki to the Davis Academy are to encourage student engagement, ownership and creativity!

Here are the things Stacy loves about Voki:

  • Voki is very easy to use
  • Voki captures the students’ interest
  • Voki helps integrate technology into the curriculum

Check out Stacy’s full Voki interview here!


Follow Stacy on Twitter: @21stStacy

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Guest Blogger: A Voki Spin on an Old Math Favorite – Jessica Johnston

Guest Blogger: A Voki Spin on an Old Math Favorite – Jessica Johnston

As an Instructional Technology Specialist, I love it when teachers find easy ways to incorporate technology into their everyday lessons.  Technology shouldn’t be separate from what you’re doing in the classroom – it should be woven into what you’re already doing in the classroom.  Voki is a tool that we use in just about every grade level and subject area in my district.  It’s versatile, easy to use, and the kids (and teachers!) love it!

It was no surprise when Staci Stephens, 6th grade math teacher at Brenham Middle School, emailed and asked if I could help her with a Voki lesson in her classroom.  Our school got a new Chromebook cart this year and we were brainstorming ways to use the cart in her math class.  Staci decided to let her kids draw a math problem from the “problem paper bag” – like they had done a dozen times before – but this time they would have to script how they solved the problem.  With a little help from Google Docs, the kids worked through their math problems and typed out every single step.

Normally students would groan about this kind of activity – math AND writing?!  However, when you hold a flashy tool like Voki in front of them, all of a sudden writing about math looks like fun instead of work!  Staci and I were amazed at the detail the students included in their writing and we marveled at the level of engagement and deep thinking that was going on in the classroom.  You could have heard a pin drop – until the avatars started speaking!

Watching the students light up as their writing came to life in the form of a Voki avatar was priceless.  In a single class period, the students had created virtual speaking tutors for dozens of fraction problems.  In the process, not only did they ask meaningful questions about math and writing, but also about technology.  Voki got the students to really THINK about how they solve a math problem, but in a fun and non-threatening way!  Even struggling learners can feel successful with an activity like this.  Here’s what some of the students had to say about this lesson and using Voki:

  • Katherine: I think it helped me because if you are visual learner or you need to hear it it helps you.  You can hear the problem and it helps you work it out.  The Voki was very helpful to all students whether they know it or not.
  •  Rylie: Voki really helped me in Math.  It brought the math problem to life.  I now understand math a lot easier.
  •  Estefania: Well Voki taught me how to cut short sentences for only the important things.  Voki also is very fun to create your own character, to express who you are on your Voki.
  • Jesse: I like Voki because it is fun to do.  It helps me learn because when I hear about stuff it gets stuck in my mind.  It is fun to do because you help other people learn.
  • Arreyus: It’s technology and technology is well known in our century.  It’s fun, but we still learn while having fun.  Voki is a wonderful way for kids in this century to learn things.

Staci published the completed avatars on her teacher website with images of the problems being solved.  Publishing completed work gives the students an audience which makes the learning real and more meaningful.  See the completed avatars here:  Here’s what Staci had to say about this lesson:

I like that Voki motivates students to communicate their thinking in a new and exciting way.  Instead of solving 20 addition and subtraction of fraction problems, I learn much more about their problem solving process by having them explain 1 problem step by step.  It is so difficult to hear the voices of each of my students on a daily basis, especially my shy students, but Voki enables each student to explain what they were thinking without the fear often involved with speaking up in class.  I’m a big believer that learning mathematics is more than just solving problems- it is a problem solving process, but often when I ask students to write about or explain the process my students are very hesitant.  Generally, they do not like writing, and do not feel they are good writers, but Voki gives them a way to communicate their thinking in a way they enjoy!
If you are looking for an easy (and FREE!) tool to use with any age students in any content area, I can highly recommend Voki and I know my staff and students would say the same.  Brenham ISD loves Voki and I am certain your organization will, as well!

For Jessica’s blog, go here: EdTechChic

Follow Jessica on Twitter: @EdTechChic

Like Jessica’s Facebook page: EdTechChic Facebook


Interview with Educators | Stephanie Bullock

Interview with Educators | Stephanie Bullock

This week we have an interview with Mrs. Stephanie Bullock. Mrs. Bullock is an academic technology teacher from The Lovett School in Atlanta, GA. She a Voki user since 2009! It was great that we have a chance to talk to Mrs. Bullock.

Here’s what Mrs. Bullock likes about Voki:

  1. My students feel like they are creating something original and personal to share with a wider audience.
  2. I love that my students can create their own backgrounds to further personalize their Vokis.
  3. My most favorite thing is that Vokis are easily embeddable and they are there for me to share with the students’ family.

Mrs. Bullock created a Voki about how she used Voki in class. She and her third graders did a really great reading project by creating Voki characters to represents the characters from the books they read!

Q: What would you add to the Voki product?

A: I would add the ability to edit the student Vokis from the teacher account. My students were too young and my time with them was too limited to ask them to handle the audio conversions that were necessary, so I had to keep track of all their usernames and passwords in order to add the audio for them. It was time consuming.

Wider variety of acceptable voice and background formats. I’ve had to open students’ backgrounds using Preview and then export them as low-quality .jpgs in order for them to successfully be uploaded.

The ability to publish a Voki without having to add audio so that the students’ work during one computer class period will be saved for the next time they have class. I haven’t found a way to save their work before they are ready to add audio. (See my work-around below).

Q: Do you have any Voki tricks up your sleeve?

A: I use the application Audacity to convert audio files to the acceptable .mp3 format.  My students only have access to the application Audio Recorder on their computer, producing an .m4a file that isn’t an acceptable file type.

To circumvent the publishing issue that I have, I usually type in a filler word like “test” in the audio component to Voki so that I am able to save students’ work from class period to class period.


Mrs. Bullock runs a technology blog:

Follow Mrs. Bullock on Twitter: @srbullock

Want to be interviewed for the Voki blog? Send us an email at!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Interview with Educators | Angelyn Cheatham

Interview with Educators | Angelyn Cheatham

It’s been a while since we had an interview with a teacher! This week we are featuring Angelyn Cheatham and her favorite Vokis! Angelyn is an elementary technology integration specialist for Garland ISD in Texas. She trains teachers and students on how to use technology tools.

Here are some of the reasons why Angelyn loves Voki:

  1. Engaging for students to use
  2. Safe way to publish student work without identifying faces
  3. Allow students to communicate their messages
  4. Can be integrated into any subject areas
  5. Intuitive for even the youngest students

If you can’t view Angelyn’s Prezi here, click the picture below to open the link!



Angelyn runs a technology blog: Great ‘Tech’pectations.

Follow Angelyn on Twitter: @AngelynCheatham

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

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Guest Blogger: Karen Nemeth – Digital Storytelling

Guest Blogger: Karen Nemeth – Digital Storytelling

By Karen Nemeth

Have you ever read a word and assumed it was pronounced one way, and then you finally heard someone say the word and pronounce it differently? Then you realize you’ve been hearing it incorrectly in your head?  When you read, it would be easy to think that though and through rhyme, but if that’s what you thought, then when your teacher asks you to write down another word for ‘toss’, you might write “through” instead of “throw”.   Oral language is a very important component of early literacy.  Young children need to say words and hear word sounds to build their vocabulary and to create a foundation for reading and writing.  Technology can play a key role in supporting the connection between oral language and written language.  That’s why voice recording and digital story-telling programs can be valuable tools for early literacy education.  With fun and engaging activities, some serious learning can actually be taking place.

With digital storytelling, children can create their own stories and images and they can record their own voice saying the words.  Think of this as an enhancement of the traditional preschool or kindergarten learning activity when a teacher reads a story to the children then asks them to retell the story in their own words.  With a program such as Voki, children have to think ahead about what they will say and how they want to illustrate it.  They have to practice pronouncing the words and then hearing them back as they play their recorded messages. That’s great oral language practice!.

Now consider how this activity could be a great support for young children who are just beginning to learn English as a new language.  Children who are learning a second language can often be shy or embarrassed about pronouncing the new words.  Rather than asking them to speak aloud in front of the whole class, it’s a good idea to use an app or website that allows them to record their own voice and listen back to the recording to hear how they sound to others.  The teacher can even save the child’s recordings to document their progress.  Another great use of Voki would be to have a parent, volunteer or other staff member record or trade messages with the new dual language learner (DLL) in their home language.  What a welcoming and comforting experience that can be for a new DLL.

Language in the context of brief stories or meaningful interactions makes the strongest connections in a child’s brain.  Rather than have the child practice with random vocabulary words, consider having them record Voki messages that will serve a purpose.  Can they record a message to be shared with their parents?  Can they record a message describing a pattern of beads for stringing and then share with a friend to see if they can duplicate the pattern?   Can they record clues for a treasure hunt? Or can they let the pre- recorded message on Voki become part of a   pretend play scheme?  The possibilities are endless and the value of supporting oral language practices to support literacy and reading success is limitless!

These ideas and more can be found in my book, Digital Decisions: Choosing the Right Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education.  You can share your teaching ideas on the website.

Karen Nemeth is the author, with Fran Simon, of Digital Decisions: Choosing the Right Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education.  Karen and Fran share lots of related resources on their website  Karen is also a nationally known speaker and author on teaching young children who are dual language learners. 

Guest Blogger: Mandy Nelson

Guest Blogger: Mandy Nelson

Dear Educators,

I want to share a lesson that a 1st grade teacher and I did a little before Halloween last year. It worked quite well. As part of her curriculum, Mrs. Stasys gave students a binder that included poems that they would read throughout the year. They gathered together on the rug once a day and read the chosen poem aloud.  For this poem they read it to the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider. They read the poem together every day for one week to hone their fluency and expression skills.  Once their week of practice was up we took them to the computer lab to design their Voki character.  They could choose to represent themselves any way they wanted.  Some chose to make an exact cartoon replica of themselves, while others designed dogs, pumpkins, monsters and one student even chose a Santa Claus avatar!  Since the image has no effect on their fluency we decided to let them have free reign.  I would advise you to do the same since it helps them feel more ownership over the final product. The following day Mrs. Stasys stayed in the classroom and sent down students to the computer lab in groups of three.  Using Firefox and Voki we recorded each student saying their poem.  (If you do not have an extra adult who can assist you could always do this during reading centers.  It may take several days to get them all recorded but it can be done!)

The kids loved this lesson and we got a kick out of listening to them practice their poems over and over so they could record it just right.  By the end of the project our students were reading in a much more natural, fluent way with great expression.  Even those who usually really struggle with reading and get frustrated were motivated and showed improvement over the duration of the assignment.  Once they were recorded, we embedded their Vokis into my website and parents were given the link to listen to at home.  They were also able forward the link to grandparents and other family members.  The students loved their final products and were proud to show them off.

For our step-by-step lesson plan visit my site and click on the Voki link.  Click here for the finished student products.  To save yourself some time feel free to use these videos I made to teach students how to make their Vokis:  Video 1,  Video 2.  On an aside, another 1st grade class used Vokis for the students to report three important facts about a research topic of their choosing.  Click here for the final products.

Enjoy and let me know how it goes!


Mandy Nelson is a K-4 Technology Integration Specialist in River Forest, IL, near Chicago.  She is always looking for ways to partner with other teachers across the world so email her at if you would like to collaborate.   

Guest Blogger: Lynda Hall – Engaging Today’s Students with Voki

Guest Blogger: Lynda Hall – Engaging Today’s Students with Voki

Student engagement can be an elusive entity for today’s educators.  There are many possible causes for learner apathy which range from boredom to socio-economic issues to a lack of ability.  The goal for educators is to find resources that inspire students to actively participate in their learning.  One such resource is Voki – a speaking avatar web tool.  Even the most reluctant learners embrace Voki as it gives them the opportunity to express themselves without the need of standing in front of their peers – a very terrifying experience for some.  From an educational standpoint, Voki provides all students with an equal opportunity to earn the best grade possible!

But who is really best suited to explain the educational benefits of Voki?  The students, of course!  Below are some student testimonials that will further highlight the educational benefits of Voki.

  • “I liked it because it was a unique and fun way to introduce yourself to your class and your website.  You could also customize your Voki differently than what you look like … You can have fun!” – Sydney
  • “It is good for Grade 8 introductions.  Students can find things out about their classmates without the stress of being in front of the class.” – Noah
  • “I think it’s a good tool because you can use it to present a project or a speech with it.” – Chase
  • “It’s fun to use and it could be helpful in other ways such as sending it to a family member for their birthday, etc.” – Keisha
  • “I like Voki because you get to know more about your classmates.  It’s fun, new and a good way to start the year.” – Lizzy
  • “I liked it because we can express our creativity and get to know others.” – Shaelyn
  • “It is good for auditory learners.” – Heidi
  • “If you weren’t comfortable with speaking in front of the class, you could use Voki to speak instead.” – Sarah

As you can see, Voki is a fun and engaging web tool that motivates students to creatively share their knowledge.  If you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to give it a try!


Lynda Hall is a teacher and a technology coordinator.

She runs a technology blog: The De-Tech-tive 4 Teachers

Follow Lynda on Twitter: @MsLHall

Guest Blogger: Barbara Jolie – Ways to use Voki in Higher Education

Guest Blogger: Barbara Jolie – Ways to use Voki in Higher Education

Voki’s speaking avatars add a creative and personal element to any classroom, and they are especially effective in connecting participants of online courses. Vokis are also perfect for communications courses that focus on speech and language.

Connecting in the Virtual Classroom

Students of online courses may feel disconnected from professors who only communicate via chat or e-mail. Speaking avatars are being used by online instructors to introduce themselves in more personalized and engaging ways.

Similarly, students can create avatars to introduce themselves to professors and classmates in an icebreaking routine. This works well for those students who are uncomfortable with video chat, and it also allows everyone to share elements of their personalities through the fun visual elements.

Sharing Updates and Announcements

In addition to using a Voki for a preliminary introduction, professors can use these speaking avatars to make announcements or pose weekly questions. Professors can record their own voices to promote further personalized engagement.

Communications Courses

Vokis focus largely on speech, making it the perfect learning tool for speech and language classes.

  • Foreign Language Course– Professors can use Vokis to record a number of phrases. By posting them to a project management system (such as Blackboard), students would be able to access the phrases at any time. Students can also use the Voki to record their own phrases or short responses to a question posed by a Professor.
    • Lesson Idea: Play a storytelling game where the professor begins with a 60 second premise. In a predetermined sequence, each student must respond to the story of the preceding student (as told by Vokis). The end result will be a long story, full of twists and turns and all the humor of mistakes. Students should be encouraged to respond quickly and creatively. The goal is to communicate confidently and effectively in the moment – which doesn’t always require perfect grammar.


  • Communications/Speech Courses– Using a series of recordings invoking tone, inflection, pace and other elements of speech; students can develop their best speaking voices and share the results with professors and classmates.
    • Lesson Idea: Ask students to create an avatar that represents a famous celebrity or politician (historical figures are okay). Students can then use voice imitation to create a cartoon version of the figure. This will allow students to have fun while studying voice patterns.


  • Radio Broadcasting– Radio broadcasting students have the unique challenge of establishing a great speaking voice as well as an on-air persona. Broadcasting students can use Voki to create engaging representations of on-air exchanges that can be shared with classmates and professors.
    • Lesson Idea: Students will create a one-minute recording to align with his or her own radio personality. The avatar, the voice and the material will work together to create a realized character. The goal is to teach students how to purposefully meld voice and content to create a public personality.  Classmates can vote on the most successful “virtual hosts.”


Barbara Jolie is a full time freelance writer and blogger. She writes about advantages of online classes and is particularly interested in writing and language education. If you have any questions email Barbara at