If you’ve ever played games or used forums on the Internet, then you’ve probably heard of avatars, which are icons that represent a person online. Avatars can be used for profile pictures on Internet forums or social media, or they can be used as your own character when playing online games or video games. I’ve loved creating avatars since I was in elementary school, and to this day I always spend a lot of time in the character creation parts of video games. However, I never really thought about using avatars for educational purposes until we learned about Voki.
Voki is a free website that allows you to create talking avatars, and the site is made specifically for education. There are plenty of options: regular people, funny cartoons, animals, monsters, anime characters, and even celebrities! You can record your own voice, or you can type in the dialogue and choose from a variety of voices. The avatars can be serious, goofy, or anywhere in between- whatever you need for your audience and subject material.
MY VOKI EXPERIENCES
For my own Voki avatar, I made a talking Siamese cat named Princess, who tells a short story about being adopted from a shelter. I made the avatar specifically for my final project, which is a website about adopting rather than shopping for pets.
I really like Voki because of the many customization options, and because you don’t have to record your own voice- as I’ve said before, I hate the way my voice sounds on recordings, plus my laptop microphone doesn’t work! The voices are not robotic and there are so many options- including different accents!
USING VOKI IN THE CLASSROOM
I would use Voki in my classroom for a fun supplement or introduction to a lesson, assignment, or teacher website. I could also have my students create one of themselves or of a literary character. Voki can be used with students of all ages, and I think that they would have a lot of fun creating their own avatars. I used to think that avatars were purely for entertainment, but now I’m really looking forward to using them as an educational tool in my future classroom!
CONFERRING WITH AN AVATAR: USING VOKI FOR PROOFREADING