Monday, July 27, 2009

Avatars

I can honestly say that I have taken Avatars and run with them! I think this an amazing tool to use in the classroom, it is fast, simple and effective. I wanted to use these to deliver a lesson on earthquakes and my mentor teachers were also trying to teach their students how to take notes. I decided to use the avatars to give them short bursts of information throughout my power point presentation. This broke the presentation up and gave the students something new to look at.
However, the Voki site avatars did not allow for more than about 40 seconds worth of information, so I signed up for the 15 day free trial with SitePal. I now have access to hundreds of avatars, options and voices using this free trial. I began creating my four characters, but could not figure out why they weren't saving. After literally an hour, and reading through the help sections, I found that you need to hit save twice, once in the voice option, and once at the end. Finally I had my avatars ready to go, but then I realised that you can't put them on a power point presentation, so, being the 'blog specialist' that I now am, I created another blog, especially for this lesson.
Avatars can be created to relate to any audience, and they are an effective engagement tool because "they provide the human element to online teaching" (Classrooms Without Walls, 2007). I am asking my year four students to take notes from my avatars, then, in groups, create their own avatar to report back to me about what they learnt. The students can then donate this to the world wide web my embedding them onto the blog I created specially for them. When students upload a project onto the world wide web, they realise that anyone is going to be able to see their work, not just the teacher, so they try their hardest to do their best work (Smith, 2008). Avatars provide an excellent way to engage students in their work and ICT's, an they can be used for just about any KLA there is.

References:
- Classrooms Without Walls, (2007). Avatars and Education . Retrieved July 27, 2009, from
http://acohen843.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/avatars-and-education/
- Smith, B. (2008). Transparent Learning: Avatars. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from
http://transparentlearning.blogspot.com/2008/08/avatars.html

Here is the link to my earthquake blog with the four avatars I created:
http://earthquakesyearfour.blogspot.com/

4 comments:

Kerri said...

Hi Chenoa,

Your avatars look great and should really grab your students attention. I am still in the process of completing mine, i must admit is is a bit of fun playing with the different styles and could become quite addictive.

I believe they are such a useful tool to incorporate in the classroom. Students would instantly be engaged, if they are presented in the right format that is.

Chat again soon,
Kerri : )

Melissa said...

Hi Chenoa,

Well done! It is a shame that they didn't work at school, but that is all part of teaching, which is being flexible!
It is amazing all the different technologies that exist and finding an appropriate use for them in the classroom. I find that the internet is extremely slow at school, which makes some programs impossible to use. I think it is just about trying out new technologies were appropriate and developing new skills that we can use for the future.

Mel :)

Kellie said...

Hi Chenoa,

I love your concepts and am going to access sitepal to have a look. I will devise something similiar to use in the classroom. We are about to undertake a small unit using the permaculture garden and food webs. This would be a great tool to engage continually throughout the lesson.

Again congratulations on a job well done.

Kellie

Kristen said...

Hi Chenoa

I have gone though Bronte's Professional Blog to your site. If wondering who I am. I am just Intrigue to see how your class went or will go if not yet done?

I have posted this to Bronte's site but also wanted to share with you my thoughts oh your comment, oh her blog under Avatars.

I found Voki limited to, as your saying morning messages to class or introducing a new learning experience. I think your idea is fantastic idea students will be sitting their eager to here the next piece of information to make notes about earthquakes. This has given me an idea you could also employ them in your learning environment for quiz , LM can have the question played out by Voki.

When I research Voki I found they are also good for shy students and for ESL (English as a Second Language) students’. ESL students could convert the language and learn via the tool.