This week I am showing the site voki.com. This is a simple voice avatar creation site. I was turned on to this site by a teacher I saw a one of the many conferences I attend this time of year. I visited her site and saw she had a Voki of herself posted to her site. She used the Voki to give her students little reminders about assignments and simple 60 second directions. I was intrigued and decided to try it out with my students. What I found was that it was a unique way to deliver simple instructions to students and staff alike. I will admit thought that when starting out with Voki's you will need to let students explore and satisfy their curiosity with the Voki especially with the younger ages. What I have found is that it can serve as a distraction from the outset and also if some ground rules are not set as well. However once the novelty wears off it becomes quite an effective tool.
The interface is very simple; it is so simple in fact that most non-tech savvy students pick up how to create one within a couple of days being exposed to the interface. You have the ability to edit and change everything from the facial features to the background and what they call the player. You have a number of predetermined voki's to choose from and customize. You have the ability to use computer generated voices or record your own via phone or microphone. What is really cool about this is the foreign language feature that is available.
As part of the computer generated voices you can select from, there are several languages you can choose from in addition to English. I am not sure how the translation is done and I have not tried this out with any of my ELL (English Language Learner) students, but I hope to try it soon and report back. If the translation is decent this would be a great way to support your ELL students with simple short instructions.
Get a Voki now!