Posted by murcha on January 10, 2008
School holidays are always a welcome relief from the pressure of lesson plans, assessment, general adiminstration and report writing. It can be a time to catch up with some genuine web 2.0 research, establish social networks and explore some of the improvements to existing web 2.0 software and discover new applications.
One software that I revisited, was the rather ‘kitchy’ voki website at www.voki.com These little computer animated vodcasts allow you to customize your own personal ID, add your voice or use a computer generated voice to communicate online or via a mobile phone. Students love using these and even the shyest don’t mind talking into the microphone.
See examples of student vokis used on a collaborative project at http://anzaconnection.wikispaces.com/Introductions Be patient as it will take a while to load!
Steps in using vokis
First register for the website with a user name and password. If a student ensure they use an unidentifiable user name and if they are under the age of 13, let them access your voki logon as many vokis can be created under one user name.
You must activate your account from the email you have directed registration towards. (do not forget or you will not be able to save your vokis.)
Return to voki website and login. Click create a new voki.
(If you have already created a voki choose use existing scene to keep your voki consistent. Choose one of your existing examples. (The audio message only is changed.)
Choose your face, clothing, glasses, backgrounds and even an audio player style by clicking on the approprate icon and build your little voki. The illustrated voki above allows messages to be shared by clicking on the little notepad icon in the bottom right hand corner (just above the player) If the cube in the lefthand corner is selected, it will choose a random character for you.
When satisfied with your voki, it is time to “give it a voice”.
Choose from telephone, T or microphone. We use the microphone (making sure you allow access) and press the record button. Wait until you see the little wheel going around and it actually says ‘recording’ and start talking. A written script ensures that the audio flows smoothly. When finished, click done. If student is too shy or recording does not work, choose the T which allows text to be keyed in and an accent chosen for the mechanical voice.
Replay your message and when satisfied, click done. Save to your hard drive. You are then returned to your startup window, so that you can now find the code required for your site. I choose the small dimensions, agree to conditions and then copy the code that appears. This code can then be used to embed into a wiki, blog or webpage for collaborative use by pasting it in the usual manner.Some voki characters allow you to add messages. This opens up further educational value. Eg discussions between students or teacher/student on an initial statement made by the original voki.
Some possible classroom uses
· introductory purposes between students from other schools or countries with class member vokis all embedded in a table on a wiki.
· Allow questions to be posed and answered between classes.
· To introduce a topic in an interesting manner on their wiki, blog or web page
· If a character allows insert message, then a discussion can take place on the one voki between students.
If you use vokis or wish to use them, please add a comment and let us know how you use them.
Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Audio Visual, Web 2.0 Resources | Tagged: podcasting, vokis | 3 Comments »
Posted by murcha on December 2, 2007
Reading the second day of the Weg 2.0 Telegraph, I was interested to read Lori’s words of caution and my eyes scrolled down to Heather’s notes on avatars and safe cyber practices. So, I thought I would write about some of the approaches that we have taken in our school to ensure our student’s identities are secure.
Our lote teacher (technolote) used www.weeworld.com for some of her classes to create little computer figures of their own choosing students also gave themselves a nickname for online use. However, our school, changed service providers this term and we have found that we are now blocked out of this site as it does have a chat room element. (Personally, I dislike too many sites being blocked as I like to teach the children safety, common sense and a sense of questioning whilst they are in the safety of the classroom.)
My grade 3 and 4 students are working on a joint voicethread with a class in USA (www.voicethread.com) comparing their interests and pursuits. Our site can be viewed at http://voicethread.com/#u7053.b13669 (I think it is designated for public viewing.) This wonderful web 2.0 software allows comments to be shared around images and allows the addition of students as identities. However, rather than have a shadow as their image, my class created little portraits of themselves in MS Paint (sorry we are not a Mac school) and also gave themselves a nickname. These are then viewable when they are talking. Some students used their student id photo and recoloured it beyond recognition whilst others created cute little paint faces. Our partner school just selected photo images to represent each student.
Vokis: Another great disguise is by using vokis. These wonderful animated computer figures allow students to insert voice overs as well. Goto www.voki.com and register. Students need to be 13 years or over. To get around this, I allow a student one at a time to create a voki in my username as a large number of different vokis can be saved for the one user. So, if this needs to be done, goto my voki>create a new voki>create new scene and students proceed to create their own little character by customizing to their own wishes and then adding voice.
Do not forget to activiate the email that will be sent to your address, otherwise you cannot save your voki for future use. Re-enter the site and choose create. You can then choose the face, the background, hair, clothes etc to build your avatar equivalent. Once complete, save and then click on microphone, making sure that you enable access for the voki to use your computer settings. Wait until the recording wheel starts turning and record your voiceover. Replay to ensure the voiceover is all there and that diction is audible and clear. Click save>done>save (and give a title). Your completed voki will appear in the LHS of the screen.
Goto embed in>choose the destination as web page (or whichever purpose you are using)> select small size>200 x 267>get code. Accept agreement and the code will appear. Right click>select all>copy and then paste into your wiki, blog, website or other for your talking voki to activate.
For some interesting cyber safety sites, checkout http://ejourneys.wikispaces.com/esafety
Posted in Safe Cyber Practices | Tagged: avatars in education, ms paint, vokis, weeworld | 4 Comments »