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Voki for Education: Not just for avatars

Voki, the free Web-based tool that allows you to create speaking avatars for blogs and other websites, recently launched its site for education.  But it’s not just for avatars.

Voki has potential well beyond blog greetings.

Imagine creating a page in which students embed a lengthy, sequenced (albeit imagined) conversation between Generals Lee and Grant at Gettysburg.

Reading a play or novel?  Imagine a full page of student character analysis using the student-created voice of the character.

The Voki for Education site now offers ideas for using Voki in your classroom, a community of educator users in its Teacher’s Corner, and a growing archive of creative lesson plans.

Among the cool curricular ideas in the lesson plans database are the following:

  • Lesson Title: Anti-Stereotype project  Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: Fourth graders learn about geography by studying the different continents and their major countries. Students will learn about different cultures and try to debunk cultural stereotypes. This lesson helps them develop their research skills, as well as their presentation skills.

  • Lesson Title: Building Arguments (Toulmin Argument Model) Author: Rachel Marco

Brief Description: College students learn about the Toulmin Argument Model in this Communications class. By applying the model to a video clip of “Chicken Little,” students will be able to gain a better understanding of the Toulmin Argument Model’s six components.

  • Lesson Title: Community History  Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: This middle school lesson focuses on learning about community history. Students gather information about their respective communities by conducting research and interviewing family and other members of their community. The class is designed to instill a sense of pride in one’s community and develop research and interview skills.

  • Lesson Title: Composers Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: Fifth graders begin a journey into classical music in this lesson plan. Each student is assigned a classical composer to research. Students will then create PowerPoint presentations answering questions about their composer and presenting them to the class. Then, students turn to Voki to share an interesting fact about their composer.

  • Lesson Title: Delivery  Author: Rachel Marco

Brief Description: College students learn how to identify and read nonverbal communication and its impact on an audience. Students learn the ins and outs of body language and how it can be perceived by an audience.

  • Lesson Title: Earth Day  Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: Celebrate Earth Day with a whole science class period devoted to learning about taking care of the environment! Students learn about Earth Day, what they can do to help the environment, and how they can spread the word on the importance of Earth Day.

  • Lesson Title: Famous Women  Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: In this history class, middle school students learn about the roles of prominent women throughout the world. Students identify historically important women and then research them on Wikipedia, scoring them by certain criteria. The woman with the lowest score is the “most important woman.” Students should walk away with an understanding that comparing people throughout history presents a “challenge” and that women have had prominent roles throughout history even though they suffered much exclusion from it.

  • Lesson Title: Food Groups Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: You are what you eat! Middle school students learn about the food pyramid, how to read nutrition labels on packages, how to be healthier eaters, and how advertising and the media play a role in influencing consumers on what is considered healthy.

  • Lesson Title: Midsummer Night’s Dream for a Modern Audience  Author: Stephanie Bushman

Brief Description: Students read Shakespeare’s classic “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and then interpret it for a modern audience. By carefully considering phrases of love and phrases of insults, and then defining them in modern terms, students develop better reading comprehension and understanding of the play.

Other tools that make your pictures talk are:
Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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