Tips on Teaching Creativity

Tips on Teaching Creativity

dsc00022Creativity is important in order for a classroom to be successful. Every student has the potential of being creative. It is up to the educator to help them cultivate it. So how can you help them in class? Here are some tips that can help!

1. Think outside the box.

In order to help your students to be creative in class, you have to be creative too. Do not confine yourself to the set standards. Be open to new ideas and try to find ways that can transform some of your lessons. If you run of ideas, connect with other teachers and ask them how they teach their lessons!

2. Encourage your students.

Encourage your students to be creative by setting an example of what creativity is. If you show them, they are sure to follow. Always encourage multiple viewpoints and different ideas. There’s no room for creative thought if there’s always a definitive right and wrong answer!

3. Give feedback.

Giving feedback on your students’ work can help them understand their ideas better. Find out how you can provide students with effective feedback.

Many teachers use Voki inside their classroom to help students be creative. Check out our past posts to see!

What other tips do you have that can help teachers teach creativity in class!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Why is creativity important in school?

Why is creativity important in school?

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The power of creativity is very important in schools. January was designated as International Creativity Month because it is the first month of the year and it provides everyone to take have a fresh start on our creative capabilities. Creativity help improves self-esteem and motivate students. Those who are encouraged to think creatively are more open to new ideas and challenges, can work well with others, better problem solvers, and more interested in discovering new ideas for themselves.

Many educators ask, is creativity something that can be taught, or is it something that you either have or you don’t. How can educators help student foster their creativity while creating lessons based on the Common Core? Educators now know that creativity can be infused into all aspects of education. There are many tools that are available for educators to help encourage students to be creative.

Voki is an educational tool that many educators use in their class and is fun way to share information between students, parents, and educators. Through Voki students create customizable characters for class presentations for various purposes, such as presenting biographical information, expressing an opinion, or reading a poem.

Until Next Time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

 

Tips for Teaching Vocabulary

Tips for Teaching Vocabulary

knowledge-dictionaryRemember those list of vocabulary words that your teacher would give the class every Monday. Then we would have to look up their definitions, write sentences with it, and… a test every Friday. After that, we don’t remember how to use those words or when we can use it.

So let Voki give you some tips on how to help you teach vocabulary and help your students remember them!

Selecting the Best Words

Instead of wasting your time compiling a super long list of vocabulary words that you students should know, have your students read through the first chapter of the text and pick out words that they do not understand. Then have them write down the definition or their “best guess” for the word without a dictionary. Remember to explain to them that this is not a test, but is information to help you, as a teacher, to figure out what they need help with.

Use the Words Everyday

Include those vocabulary words when you are teaching or speaking to a student. Encourage them to use them in class and at home. Also, continue to have weekly vocabulary quizzes so that your student can remember them properly!

Display Them in Class

Create a wall of all the vocabulary words in your classroom. Ask your students to be creative by creating photos of themselves that put the words into action. Or you can just use Voki for a quick Vocabulary Rundown.

Let us know how you teach vocabulary in class!

kUntil next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Voki Tip of the Week: Adding Voki on Canvas

Voki Tip of the Week: Adding Voki on Canvas

Many educators asked us if there is a way to add Voki to their Canvas account/assignments to help enhance their students learning experience. Well, we did find a way to do so and it is very easy! Just follow these steps and you will have a Voki added in no time:

1. Go on voki.com

2. Publish your Voki.

3. Select your Voki size.

4. Click to copy your Voki embed code.

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5. Go into your Canvas account and find your course.

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6. Find your assignment.

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7. Click HTML Editor.

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8. Paste Voki Embed code into the editor.

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9. Add “s” after all http.

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10. Save or publish your assignment.

11. Your Voki will be added to your Canvas Assignment!

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Easy right? Have fun and enjoy!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

Voki “Guess the Name” Contest

Voki “Guess the Name” Contest

Hi Voki fans!

Voki is hosting a naming contest for a *top-secret* project that we’re working on!  Voki fans will have a chance to guess the name of our upcoming new Voki product.
Starting today, and for the next several weeks until the contest is over, users may submit their entries  (no more than one entry a day per person). The Voki Team will periodically post clues and hints! Clues and hints will be posted to Voki’s Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ page. (Hint: Find the posts with #VokiNextBestThing.) Be sure to check back often!

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Entering the Voki contest is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Like the Voki Facebook page
  2. Enter your information.
  3. Type in your guess.

Note: Must have a valid Facebook account to enter.

Increase your chances by entering once a day. You may provide the same entry each time or a different one.

What’s the prize? Those who correctly guess the name of the new Voki product will be entered to win one of ten (10) annual subscriptions to the new product. In addition, one lucky winner will be drawn from all correct guesses to win one (1) iPad and a free 1-year subscription to the new Voki product.

There is no purchase required to win. Contestants must be 18 year of age or older and be a resident of one of the eligible countries.

For more complete information please see  the terms & conditions.

Good luck!

The Voki Team

Guest Blogger: Carmen Brettel – How to Use Voki in the Classroom

Guest Blogger: Carmen Brettel – How to Use Voki in the Classroom

Voki speaking avatars are great tools for the classroom. Teachers and students alike can create avatars and use them in a number of ways to make learning fun and more accessible. Not sure how Voki can help you or your students? Here are a few fun ideas for how you can incorporate Voki speaking avatars in your classroom and lesson plans:

Use Your Avatar as a “Substitute”

Students can start to zone out in the middle of lectures, and the teacher’s voice can start to sound like the “mwah mwah mwah” in a Charlie Brown cartoon. Introducing an avatar for some lessons can get students’ attention and make it a little more fun.

Choose a quirky and interesting avatar — not just one that looks like you. Use it for particularly dry discussions and incorporate it into an interactive presentation. Students will feel like they’re watching a show — and they’ll be learning at the same time.

Get Students to Create Interactive Avatars

Every teacher knows that encouraging student participation can be a bit like pulling teeth at times. Encouraging students to create their own interactive avatars may help them to participate more, both by offering them a fun outlet for it, and by offering shy students a way to participate that doesn’t require being so “exposed.”

You can create a virtual interactive classroom if you have access to a computer lab, or you can use the avatars in online discussions through a classroom blog or website. Explore which options work best for you based on your resources.

Assign a Virtual Presentation

Old-fashioned book reports and project presentations can be dull for both the presenter and the audience. Students standing next to a tri-fold project board and reading off note cards are not likely to have a good time, and neither are their peers who have to listen to it.

You can make it a little more fun for all students by asking them to create virtual presentations that are created with a Voki speaking avatar and a powerpoint or other presentation. The avatar can guide the presentation, which students will have fun creating (with a little more creative latitude) and their peers will have fun listening to, helping both to learn more.

Create Avatars Based on Lessons

Help bring historical and literary figures to life by asking students to create a speaking avatar for them. Not only will students have to create an avatar in that person’s likeness — and may have to imagine it based on cues for literary figures — but they can also create dialogue for the characters for a presentation or report.

Such an assignment will help students better understand the figures they are studying in class, and it will help them to have more fun while they’re doing it.

There are many more ways you can use Voki speaking avatars in your classroom to help promote learning and greater interaction. You are only limited by your creativity.

How have you used Voki speaking avatars in your classroom? Share your tips in the comments!

Carmen Brettel is a writer and manager for Studentgrants.org. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and volunteering at animal shelters.

Guest Blogger: Give Kids a Voice with Voki by Susan Stephenson

Guest Blogger: Give Kids a Voice with Voki by Susan Stephenson

SusanI love what Voki offers kids! Often in the classroom or in home school we focus on the key skills of reading and writing to such an extent that we neglect other communication skills. Speaking confidently and competently is a skill that helps not just in school, but in real life. Give an employer a choice between someone who mumbles and rambles, and another person who speaks clearly and concisely. I think we can guess which candidate they will choose.

Voki gives children an engaging format for speaking. The range of cute avatars available is motivating for kids, allowing them to choose one to suit their purpose. Voki also gives kids a voice. Whether they are creating a short speech to introduce themselves on a class blog, or giving an opinion about their favourite video game, kids are involved in creative and critical thinking as they choose the best words and delivery style for their purpose.

We want older kids to develop real writing skills. Part of that with narrative writing is to develop strong characters for a story. The Voki avatars can suggest a character, and students can speak like that character, trying to think their way into the character and look at life from its perspective.

In a literature lesson, students can use Voki to give a book report, or brief opinion of a book they’ve read. By listening to others’ Vokis, kids are not only experiencing different ways of delivering a presentation, but also perhaps learning about new and exciting books to read.

For children in younger grades, Voki gives them a way to practise reading fluency and writing. By adopting “voices” for the different avatars, and reading aloud scripts they’ve written earlier, kids have a purpose for both reading and writing that is truly engaging.

There are many ways to create avatars. Voki offers more than the usual avatar because children can record themselves and speak through the character they choose. Adding the dimension of audio to an  avatar makes it a talking character, opening up lots of learning possibilities for children at home and at school. Voki really does give children a voice!

Find many more ideas from teachers currently using Voki on the Voki blog.

BIO: Susan Stephenson is an Australian writer, teacher and book reviewer. She blogs at The Book Chook (www.thebookchook.com). Teachers and parents from all over the world visit The Book Chook to find tips on encouraging kids to read, write and communicate, and ideas for incorporating children’s literature and learning into everyday life. Susan also offers free PDF booklets of learning activities at her personal website, www.susanstephenson.com.au

Guest Blogger: Shana Ellason

Guest Blogger: Shana Ellason

Our students are growing up in a digital age where they can show their creativity through oodles of different media opportunities. Educational technology is engaging and can hold their attention span without them even knowing they are learning in the process. However, many students are still held captive in the pencil-paper classroom. So, why not tap into that engagement by bringing technology into the classroom? That’s why I love and recommend Voki to all educators. Voki is a fun way of introducing technology into your lessons. Teachers love it because it motivates students to showcase their knowledge. Students love it because they can be creative in their work while designing their own avatar from a variety of character and setting choices. The coolest thing about Voki is it allows you to record your own audio for the avatar by phone, uploading an audio file, or the text-to-speech feature. Voki is appropriate for any age or grade level from early childhood to adults. Here are a few ideas on how to integrate Voki into your classroom.

  • Have students record themselves reading a poem or passage. It is a great way to practice fluency, expression, and intonation.
  • Students can summarize a story.
  • For students that are shy and timid, Voki is an ideal method to deliver speeches or presentations. They don’t have to feel embarrassed to get up in front of their peers; instead they can have their Voki do it for them!
  • English language learners can build confidence by practicing vocabulary skills.
  • Emergent readers and writers can demonstrate their knowledge of content orally by retelling.
  • Have students debate a topic with each other’s Voki.
  • Students can explain a math formula, science hypothesis, or theory.
  • They can recite fast facts about a topic.
  • It can be a great way to do an “About Me” at the beginning of the school year to learn about one another.
  • Teachers and students can make Who am I? or What am I? Voki’s.
  • Teachers can use it as an instructional tool for recording directions for centers or homework.
  • Teachers can record classroom sing-along songs.

The possibilities are endless!

Here is an example of a kindergarten student singing the Days of the Week song. We only did one take so you’ll notice she has a challenge saying Saturday, but what a way to practice the days!

Here is a Who am I? example.

Another wonderful feature of Voki, you can share all your awesome creations through email, website link, or embed it within your blog or website. So what are you waiting for? Have fun getting your Voki on!

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For Shana’s blog, go here: Enchanted with Technology

Follow Shana on Twitter: @sellason

 

Guest Blogger: Phil Timmons from Byte Me

Guest Blogger: Phil Timmons from Byte Me

I’m always looking for new ways to share and communicate in ways that will be engaging enough to keep the attention of my lively bunch of 7 & 8 year olds. We use our Learning Platform extensively for communication and sharing news and information and as it has grown it is getting more likely that areas will get missed or forgotten. I have also had a problem with allowing access to the Learning Platform to younger children where reading levels make it difficult for them to find and navigate to the correct areas.

Voki has been the answer to all the problems for me in one place. I created a character for our Learning Platform (we use frog primary) called Frogbot. He is a little robot Voki to act as a guide and a way to share news. The character appears around the Platform offering advice and direction to pupils and staff. The areas that were getting lost and forgotten are now being used again and children who find reading difficult now enjoy using the Learning Platform where they were somewhat reluctant before. The Internet can be a very ‘wordy’ place!

After embedding the Voki into our Learning Platform I started wondering how else I could use Voki. I happened to be doing speech and dialogue at the time and thought Voki would lend itself nicely to the topic. I created a new character called Doug who had a lot to say for himself. He was originally going to be used online until I stumbled upon a YouTube video. I use Smart Notebook and found out that there is a widget that you can download and embed your Voki straight into a Smart file. I used the Voki on my Smart page for the children to write the sentences using the correct punctuation. We used the idea then to do some further work about using alternatives for the word said and added them to the sentences we had written. Massive thank you goes to Doug for helping teach my class how to use speech marks and keep the engaged and excited at the same time.

I’m now looking at using Voki to make characters with the children to make conversations we can embed into Smart for the class to write up the next day.

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Phil runs the site Byte Me with his partners to provide helpful advice and suggestions for teachers.

Follow Phil on Twitter: @Bytemeict

Voki Tip of the Week: Voki on Popplet

Voki Tip of the Week: Voki on Popplet

We know that some of our Voki teachers use Popplet in their class! What if you want to have your Voki character there? We have the solution here!

Direct Link

  1. Go to www.voki.com.
  2. Create and publish your Voki.
  3. Select your Voki size and copy your Voki link.1
  4. Go to www.popplet.com and sign in.2
  5. Click to Make new popplet and double click to create a popple.3
  6. Paste your Voki link into the popple.4
  7. Hover your mouse over the Voki link and click on Go to link.5

Now you go to your Voki from Popplet!

Note: If you want your Voki to appear in full screen, read this Tip of the week to learn how!

Voki Video

  1. To save your Voki as a video file, check out this Tip of the week.
  2. Upload it on YouTube.
  3. 6Go to www.popplet.com and sign in.2
  4. Click to Make new popplet and double click to create a popple.3
  5. Click on the upload icon.
  6. Click on the YouTube icon.7
  7. Search for your video.8
  8. Select your video and click Add to popple.9

Now you can view your Voki directly on Popplet!

If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestion for Voki, send us an email at feedback@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team