Monday, August 17, 2009

Voki Avatars

Hi,

Please listen to the avatar below.

Avatars are a great innovative tool which involve the creation of a personalised speaking character. These characters can be embedded into blogs, profiles and email messages. I have used the free Voki service to create the smiley face character above and the gingerbread man later. Avatars can be used in a wide variety of ways to support and enhance learning experiences. Avatars fit in with the Multiple Intelligences Framework. For example, in using in incorporating Word Smart, the avatar could begin a story which the learners would then finish in their writing books or learners could create their own story and then create an avatar to read the story to the class. In relation to Number Smart, avatars could be created to be used in problem-solving of number problems. Picture Smart could be catered for through the use of inserting an avatar into a document where learners would need to create a harmonious background for the avatar. In relation to Body Smart, an avatar could highlight the rules of a game to be played outside, either the learners or the learning manager could create these rules for the avatar to say. Nature Smart learners could create an avatar designed to teach people about the environment through using an animal character. Music Smart learners could either create their own or have a quiz based website already made by the learning manager. The avatar would talk the lyrics of a song and learners would need to work out the tune in their minds and discover the song. People Smart could be catered for through learners pairing up and creating riddles or problems for another pair who they would swap with. Myself Smart learners could create their own avatar based upon a topic they are interested in. (Birmingham City Council, 2002-2008). Many of the former examples allow learners to display higher-order thinking skills particularly within the problem-solving examples.

I have created an avatar for my year two class below. They have been learning about cooking and this particular lesson would be about cooking gingerbread. The avatar gingerbread man would be used as a hook to ask the learners for help...
Through asking the learners for help in cooking new legs for the gingerbread man, it is creating a real-life and authentic task for the learners. One in which they would all be engaged in and excited about. Learners; "commonly complain that they do not perceive the relevance of the tasks assigned" (Herrington, Oliver, & Reeves, 2003) when they aren't authentic. When learners are able to make direct connections between their prior knowledge through the authentic tasks, learning outcomes are achieved. In this learning experience learners also have the opportunity to showcase their creativity in the building of their gingerbread.  

Avatars can be utilised in so many different and incredible ways. This is another form of technology which I am really
excited about and hadn't had the chance to use or even heard about before this course. I love that some people don't even know
what a Voki is and that I can teach them something entirely new! This blog is really a database for learning managers,
filled with new technologies and how to use them in the classroom.


Regards,

Kira.


References

Birmingham City Council. (2002-2009). Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from 
http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/ict/multiple_int/what.cfm#2/

Herrington, J., Oliver, R. & Reeves, T. (2003). Patterns of Engagement in Authentic Online Learning Environments. Australian Journal of Educational Technology. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 59–71.





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