Voki is a neat little website that at first glance looks like just another Web 2.0 toy, but can actually be a very useful teaching tool.  Voki allows you to create a customized animated avatar, and have it speak whatever you want.  With Voki, students can create avatars to read poems or stories they have written, or use it to create characters from stories or history and have them tell about themselves.  Students can have their Vokis talk using text to speech, or add their own voices using a microphone or telephone! There are endless possibilities with this site.  I piloted Voki last year with my fourth graders, having them log into an account I created and make Vokis to read poems they had written.  The kids really enjoyed it, and it was a great way to showcase their writing.

This year, Voki has made it even easier to implement in the classroom.   The newly implemented Voki Classroom allows teachers to create student accounts without the need for email addresses, and gives you tons of management features that we had been wishing for with the original Voki.  Teachers can now create classes to put students in, assign lessons to individual classes, and have finished lesson projects appear on a showcase website.  While the original Voki website is still free, the classroom edition does have a fee, but it’s very reasonable at $29.95 a year.  That account allows you to have up to 200 students, but Voki claims that if you need more, you simply need to ask.

If you’re looking for ways to use Voki, there’s a lesson plan database with teacher submitted lessons that you can browse through.  You can also access the Teacher’s Corner and discuss Voki with other teachers using the site.  I’m looking forward to trying out the new classroom features this year with my students!

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