I have found one of the greatest tools to motivate and engage students is to give them access to programs where they can convert speech to text or text to speech. There are several programs such as goaimate.com that allow students to create animations that speak and act out the text that has been typed, but these can take a bit of time to complete and can be a little too complex for younger students.
Voki allows your students to easily create avatars and then have them speak. Take a look at the voki below. This Voki took me no more than 5 minutes to create and embed on this page.
Here is what I like about Voki:
- You can have complete control over the look and sound of your avatar. Voki allows you to choose hair colour and style, lip size, body size and a range of other features.
- You can choose the language and accent of your character
- You can customise the player that your Voki appears in
- You can change the background to make it relevant to the season you are in
- It is easy to review and edit your Voki character allowing your students to use mastery as part of their learning process.
There are also lesson plans available on the site. The lesson plans have been categorised into year and subject.
How you can use Voki in your lessons:
There are literally hundreds of ideas for using Voki in your classroom. Here are just three to get your creative juices flowing:
- Create two characters that have a conversation about a topic. Have the students write a response to some questions about the conversation (note: the characters don’t interact so one character would speak and then the other one would respond)
- Create a Voki character that would ask students their spelling words (just pause it after each word)
- Have the students to create a Voki to explain an assignment or answer questions you have assigned
Limitations of Voki:
- Your avatar can only speak for sixty seconds
- You will notice in the Voki above that there is an advertisement just above his horns that links back to the Voki site
- The students need to create an account
That being said, there is a paid version for $4.99 a month (although this is not clear if that price is per student or per class). The paid account eliminates adds, the students needing to sign up, and also allows to change the security settings of the Voki.
Let me know how you might use Voki in your classroom.