Looking to enhance students’ technology and 21st-century skills? Voki is a free Web 2.0 tool that allows kids to create talking characters. The site features educational resources, including teacher-submitted lesson plans.
Users can customize characters to resemble living people, animals and cartoons. Record voices via microphone or telephone, or upload them in an audio file. Completed characters can be shared via social media, email and embed code.
With free Voki accounts, users can create unlimited characters. Those who upgrade to a paid Voki Classroom subscription can select pre-made historical figures and scenes, and record a total of 90 seconds of audio (as opposed to the 60 seconds available to free-account users). Additional management options come with a paid account.
Students will enjoy the following technology integration activities:
Try this as a fun icebreaker at back-to-school time. Let students create characters that look like themselves. Then have students write a script that identifies their best qualities and communicates what’s most important to them. Ask them to use one of the three audio input methods to record their tracks. Have students share their animations with the class.
This is a great activity for language arts, English or foreign-language classes. Ask students to design characters. Let them be very creative, as character design isn’t important for this exercise. Have students make a list of some vocabulary words they need to practice that week. Ask them to use one of the three audio input methods to record the five words and their definitions. Then have kids quiz themselves by pausing the animation right before the character states the definition.
Fictional Characters Come to Life
Begin this public speaking exercise by having students design their interpretations of famous characters from literature. Then ask them to use one of the three audio input methods to record their favorite monologue by any one character from a book they’ve read. Give students time to use their animations to help them remember their monologues. Have them present their animations to the class, followed by them reciting their monologues without the help of the animation.
Want to spice up social studies or history class? Have students create (or select, depending on your account) historical figures to use for brief reports. Have students identify a significant moment from the life of the figure, and then ask them to type up a first-person narrative account for their characters to recite. Next, have them use one of the three audio input methods to record audio for their scripts. Encourage students to present their animated reports to the class.
Article by Jason Cunningham, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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