Throughout my E-Learning experience I have been fascinated with the avatars in the course work. When going through each learning experience I was excited to find how easy and assessable these avatars are to create and implement in many different websites. Through Voki I opened a free avatar creating account. I was amazed at the variety of characters and accessories available to choose when customizing my voki avatar. My first created voki is shown above, have a listen. The only disappointment I found was the word limit when creating a script; it was very hard to make a complete thought in just one creation.
Avatars can be a very useful pedagogy technology tool when used to engage the learners in a learning process. In the scenario that I have been using in my latest posts of the year five unit ‘Around the World in Ninety Days’, avatars can be used as a teaching tool and learner creations. The Learning Manager can create a avatar to be implemented on the teachers Blogspot or the class’ BlackBoard site that would identify the requirements that they had all agreed on in the relate and create phase of Kearsley and Shneiderman’s (1999) Engagement Theory. These avatars would be placed systematically to enhance the learners’ performance and learning journey. Each avatar giving specific directions or reminders, for example, don’t forget who your targeted audience is, at each country place a map in your blogspot…etc. The learners could also be engaged in the creation and implementation of avatars in their blogspots. In each group the learners’ would take turns in creating a new avatar when leaving a country. The learners’ would create them based upon the country they were in, for example, if they were in Mexico they might wear a Mexican sombrero or create a Speedy Gonzales mouse avatar, just as long as one of their characteristics represented the country they were in. They would then write a script about their experience in that particular country and record their voice. They would then embed their talking avatar into their blogspots.
For the younger years, avatars can used as a great pedagogy tool to increase the learners’ vocabulary, improve their grammatical speech and be used in the listening post area for learner engagement. The learners can create their own avatar and then record themselves reading a book. This will help them hear what they sound like when they read, enabling self correction in language usage and engagement in reading and listening. Great reading games and transitions can be created with the use of this technology tool.
Below is an avatar that I created for young children when learning the ABC. It took a little longer to create then what I expected, as I wanted to slow down the voice so the young learners are able to understand it. Listen to it and let me know what you think. I think I need to do a bit more work on it. Thanks for listening.
Until my next learning experience,
Voki. (2008) Get your our speaking Avatar. Accessed July 30, 2009, from: http://www.voki.com/
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 21, 2009, from: http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm