Voki is an application that lets you create personalized avatars to use on your wikis, blogs or websites. You can also e-mail these wonderful characters. This free web 2.0 tool is a great way to motivate learners of any age, because they are very interactive and provide various options for students to customize them.
One of the best ways I like to use Voki avatars is to have students develop characters for digital storytelling projects. Have students create a Voki character as the main character in their digital story! This is especially helpful with young learners who love reading and telling stories. If you take your students to a computer lab, let your students begin creating the avatars and walk around and ask the questions in this chart about their characters. Feel free to develop your own questions. These questions are just to get you started and get you familiar with the various Voki options.
Here is what one of my students did with his Voki character. My student is from Germany and only 5 years-old. English is not his first language. The Voki next to his is a six year-old student from Turkey! My friend Ozge Karaoglu and I did a collaborative project sharing characters!
You can also use Voki’s with adult students. I teach English to adults and they love the conversations my Voki characters have like the one below to teach idioms.
To see more Voki characters by children and to find out more ways to successfully integrate web 2.0 tools with young learners, visit the wiki created by Ozge and me, http://technology4kids.pbworks.com. You will find great ways to do international collaborative projects as well!
**Note: Please remember to get written permission from parents before using any web 2.0 tools and to set-up the account under your name.
Shelly Terrell is a freelance teacher trainer, English language teacher, and the Vice President of Educator Outreach for Parentella. Explore her Teacher Reboot Camp blog for tips on professional development and integrating technology effectively into the curriculum. You can also connect with her on Twitter, @shellterrell.