Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Create A Talking Character with Voki

If you are looking for a creative way to provide content, procedures, or announcements to your students then look no further! With VOKI you can create your own customized digital avatar.  Here is a description from the site:

"VOKI enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters… animals, monsters, anime etc. Your Voki can speak with your own voice which is added via microphone,  typing of text, upload, or phone."

A VOKI can be embedded into your blog, website, Moodle course or just about any other website. When creating a Voki you can customize his or her appearance, language/accent and gender.  Below is a VOKI I created.

Get a Voki now!

The integration ideas for VOKI in the classroom are endless. Here are some of my initial thoughts:

World Language

  • Students may create a recording in which they speak in the language they are studying.

  • Students may create a news report spoken in the language they are studying.

  • Create a Voki of a historical person.

  • Create a news reporter that is reporting on a historical event or current event.

  • Create a PSA announcement.

  • Create a lecture about an important event.

  • Create a Voki that teaches other students about an important class topic

  • Report the findings of an experiment.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Free Ebooks from Google

Google has released a Ebook store. Google Ebooks can be accessed online at the following website: http://books.google.com/ebooks.  The ebook store houses a large collection of ebooks that can be downloaded. The books are available in formats for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch,  Android, the general web, Nook and Kindle.

What is unique about Google Ebooks is that Google stores your books in the cloud. That means you can access your purchased or free books from any of the above mentioned devices. Once you purchase or download a free ebook it is stored in your online Google account. You can then read the book from your computer at school and then open the same book from your ipod touch at home.  Books can be downloaded directly to a device for when internet access is not available.

There are thousands of free public domain books available.  A complete listing of the free titles can be found here. Students may sign into Google Ebooks with their Google Apps for Education user name and password that we have created for them.

The accessibility of ebooks in the cloud offers many advantages for teachers and students.

  • For public domain books used in instruction (example: Great Expectations) teachers may only need to purchase a class set.

  • Students can access the book at home from their computers or mobile device. A student who forgets a book at school can access it at home.

  • Faculty members can easily differentiate classroom reading assignments with the availability of ebooks.

  • Faculty and staff can download professional development books and access them on-demand from any mobile device or computer.

  • Students with disabilities can utilize many of the assistive technology features available on electronic devices such as highlighting, text to speech, enlarging of text, and color options.

  • Students may publish reviews of the books they read on the site.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Comic Writing with Toondoo

Toondoo is a site that allows for the creation of comic strips. They offer  free accounts and private school account for a fee. The free accounts are very feature rich. The site does require the student to register for an account. This requires and email address to register. That limitation makes this a more valuable tool for older students.

Students can create multi-frame comic strips. There are a variety of backgrounds, props, characters, text boxes and clip art to select from. The site also allows for the addition of images from the web or a personal image. There are many editing features available.  Upon completion of your comic you can save it or send it. Students can save their strip and access it at a later time. They can also publish their comic online for the  world to view.

There are a number of ways that his tool can be used as an instructional tool or assessment.

  • Have students create a comic as a first day back project to discuss their summer.

  • Students create a comic that depicts a conversation between characters in a story or historical figures.

  • Teachers create comics with various emotions to teach behaviors to special needs students.

  • Students create a comic to kick off a creative writing assignment.

  • Students create a comic using new vocabulary words that are being taught.

  • Students in a world language course may create a comic that contains text written in the language studied.

  • Have students create a comic to demonstrate knowledge of life skills such as speaking with a bank teller, ordering at a restaurant, speaking with a doctor or going on an interview

  • Students may create a political cartoon.

  • Students may create a comic that explains how to solve a math problem or provides an explanation for a science topic such as photosynthesis.

  • Students may create a comic that consists of a conversation between historical figures or one that depicts an event from history.

  • Students may create a comic that provides a first person account of a current event.

  • Students may create a comic to interpret a scene form a story, analyze a character or an alternate scene or ending.