One of my priorities for this term was to use Voki with one of my classes.
Voki is ‘is a free service that allows you to create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, profile, and in email messages’
Voki lends itself nicely to MFL, in that every student in the class has an opportunity to ‘speak’, something that not every student is comfortable with. Voki gives the less confident students an opportunity that they otherwise would not take. Voki has various options of giving your Voki a voice, including typing a message, recording your message or uploading a prior recording.
After a series of snow days at the start of term, I decided that I would forgo the end of term assessments for my two year 9 Spanish classes and using Voki with them instead. This tied in nicely with the third module of Mira Express 1, which included describing your family and self.
Throughout the (shortened) term we covered physical descriptions, personality and hair and eye colour. This led on nicely to creating our own characters using Voki and giving personal information in Spanish.
For each class I booked a double lesson slot in a IT suite, as I wasn’t sure how much time it would take. Both classes were given the website address the lesson before and asked to have a look at what we’d be doing. This was met with great joy, when I explained that we were going to an IT room instead of doing an assessment. Some students didn’t look at the site prior to the lesson, but others had already registered and created their characters!
Most students required little help in setting up an account on Voki and had registered and started creating character before I’d even done the register!
Once they’d created their characters, I encouraged them to write a presentation on word (easier to put in accents) and they then had the option to either record their presentations or copy and paste their presentation from word. The majority of students chose to copy and paste from word, although I did pursuade of couple of more confident students to record their presentations.
Shortly after recording the first presentation, we came across a slight problem. The computers in the IT room had no sound. Some students had headphones with them, but unfortunately this didn’t work either
In the end I decided to upload each students’ Voki to our newly created class blog (http://spanishshs.blogspot.com) as they finished. Luckily they were all at varying stages, some prefering to change their character’s hair until it was perfect!
Both classes really enjoyed creating their Vokis and were really engaged throughout the whole double lesson (something that generally doesn’t happen often with either group). It was such a shame that we were unable to heard the created Vokis, unless they listened on my laptop, but that didn’t spoilt their enjoyment of the lesson, or the desired outcome. And I’ve enjoyed going through their Vokis, much more than marking 50 assessments!
A follow up task for students to complete at home is to access the class blog and comment on each others creations.
If I were to do a similar lesson again, I think I would have to invest in an Easi-speak microphone . I think this would make things easier in terms of recording voices and uploading. Next time …….