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Announcing: Voki Education!

What it is: Voki is a free web tool that let’s students create personalized speaking avatars that can be used in a variety of online formats (blogs, email, direct link, social network profiles, etc.).  Now, Voki has released an exclusive education edition of their service.   Voki Education has some additional features that make it even more useful for the classroom.  Sharing is now easier than ever.  Students and teachers can embed their finished Voki in webpages, email, and social network profiling, they can also share using a “Voki link” which will allow students to share a simple URL to a Voki page.  Students no longer need access to a website or blog to share their Voki scene!  Voki also provides custom links for educational partners like SymbalooEdu, very handy.  A new lesson plan database provides teachers with a searchable database of lesson plans that utilize Voki for learning.  Teachers are encouraged to share their Voki enhanced lesson plans.  In the new Teacher’s Corner, teachers and “expert” users can discuss anything related to Voki.  There is even a Newbies corner with a series of discussions in Q&A format.  Voki is now ad-free, this makes it an even sweeter deal for the classroom! How to integrate Voki Education into the classroom: Voki lets students create custom characters that they can personalize and make speak.  These speaking avatars can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom, now that Voki Education includes the ability to “Voki Link” it is easier than ever for students to create and share.   Students can make their characters speak by recording a voice via phone, text to speech, record by microphone, or upload a sound clip. Students can use Voki to create characters modeled after historical or literary characters.  Students can bring those characters to life-a virtual wax museum of sorts! Those finished Voki’s can be embedded in a class website or blog, or shared by a Voki Link.  In math, students can create Voki’s that speak a riddle or word problem.  The Voki’s can be shared with other students in the class with a challenge to solve the problem.  At the beginning of the school year, students can create Voki’s to introduce themselves to you (the teacher) and classmates. Are your students learning how to speak a second language? Voki’s are a fun way for your students to practice that second language.  They can record by classroom phone or built-in microphone.  Throughout the year students can add characters to their new language and hear the progress they have made.  Voki’s make a great accompaniment for the beginning reader.  Students can create a virtual character and record themselves reading.  They can play back their Voki to listen to their fluency, pronunciation, and annunciation.  Once again, these recordings can be collected throughout the year as a way for students to track and hear their progress.   Students can use Voki characters to summarize any learning (how about a summary of the State of the Union Address?).  Have a science fair coming up that needs a little tech infusion?  Have students create a virtual scientist that describes their experiment or the science behind it. In my last post, I talked about how I integrated technology in my 2 computer classroom with a tub system.  Voki’s would be an outstanding way to record instructions for students that can be played back.  Because they can be saved with a Voki Link, the speaking character can be open along side other activities.  It will be like having a virtual teacher there next to them!  Voki recordings are perfect for transitional instructions. These can be put up on a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard to be played back for students. Tips: When students publish a Voki they can choose to login or register to save it, or click “No Thanks” to go directly to the published Voki with embed codes and links. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Voki Education in your classroom.

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Digital Life: Video Killed the Radio Star

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Evaluate, Inquiry, Internet Safety, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), video, Web2.0 | Posted on 01-03-2013

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What it is: Being a child of this decade, I am LOVING @amyburvall‘s newest video to the tune of “Video Killed the Radio Star.”  Brilliant.  If you don’t know @amyburvall, you should.  She is amazing and makes learning history so very enjoyable.  The newest music video is all about Digital Life.  A great one to kick off discussions with your class about digital life and clue them into what MTV used to be about in the pre “16 and Pregnant” days.  How I long for those days to be back (at least as far as programming is concerned).

How to integrate Digital Life into the classroom: The Digital Life video is a fun way to start a discussion or inquiry into digital life.  I don’t know about you, but the digital is becoming SO common that it tends to blend right into the background and we take it for granted.  This is an important discussion with students because most of them have never known a life without idevices and smartphones that instantly connect them to the world.  This “invisible” tech can be problematic. Kids can take it so for granted that they don’t see the separation between their digital life and their real life.  Not everything needs to live online forever (how many duck faced pictures can a person have?).  That break-up that happened in 8th grade is probably not the footprint kids want to leave for future employers.

When we talk with students about digital life at Anastasis, we make sure to highlight the following: EVERYONE has access to things posted online- even when you think it is private; deleted from Facebook or Instagram doesn’t always equate to being gone-it can always be resurrected (screenshots are killers); disrespecting others online is bullying-period; there is no sarcasm font- choose your words carefully; emoticons can’t capture every emotion-sometimes conversations are best had f2f (that’s face to face); words can be damaging and lasting-don’t be a bully; cherish your relationships off-line-take time to be away from the connected world.

Tips: If you haven’t seen @amyburvall history videos, go now.  You can thank me later.  :)

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Digital Life in your classroom.

Comments (4)

Thanks for the great shout-out! If you’d like to read about my process, or see the augmented “pop up version” using Mozilla Popcornmaker (with all kinds of great links) check out my blog post: http://amysmooc.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/digital-life-an-augmented-music-video-parody-edcmooc-final-artifact/

So outstanding! Thanks Amy!

I love this video as a starter for digital discussions! It is important for students to realize in this digital age, the footprint they leave behind. I will be using this video along with the one I already show to them about digital footprints. The link is below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DinW62zlWcc

Loved the video!!! I made one myself just last week to the same son – but all about how video is great to use in the classroom. It’s called “Video Makes My Lessons Go Far.” I used the website GoAnimate to make the video. Please excuse my bad singing! Here’s the link to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03zoOlx9tss

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