Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Talking Avatars


Go ahead… press the play button!

(Text version: Does your blog or web page have the blahs? How about spicing it up with some talking avatars?)

Recently, I have seen quite a few of these critters on various people’s media or projects, and I have to say, I am mesmerized! A talking cartoon totally grabs my attention, so why not use it as a hook for your students? They may seem silly or just plain fun, but they could serve practical purposes as well. Some students need to hear the directions AND read them. A speaking avatar is there for all students without singling out those below grade level readers. The avatar also could be a hint giver or summarizer for the assignment that a student could access over and over again. Why not make academic accommodations using avatars from Voki? (This service lets you choose a language, accent and a voice as well. It works well with phonetic spelling. Does it have ELL possibilities?)

On the other hand, students also could make their own avatar to demonstrate learning. If a student is researching an animal, instead of writing up the traditional report, have the student draw the animal (in KidPix or even scan a hand drawing) or find an image of the animal. Then using Blabberize, upload the image, animate its mouth and voice record a first person (or rather animal) account of interesting facts, etc. Students may record up to 30 seconds for free. Sound files that are created and saved as WAV or MP3’s in another program, such as GarageBand may be uploaded, too.
Here’s a mini sample:

Another idea is to have students complete a book report or review using an avatar. Here are some examples of book review avatars on this glog (a.k.a. graphic blog… more about that tool at a later date!!! 🙂 ) *Please note: These book reviews were not made with Voki or Blabberize. However, they serve as a source of inspiration of what one could do with an avatar. There are other cool avatar making options that have been shared with me that work with Logitech cameras; however, I have not found them to be Mac friendly. 🙁 Please let me know if you have some good finds for the Mac and its built-in iSight camera!

Both Voki and Blabberize can be embedded on a blog by copying and pasting the “code” into a blog post (or anywhere you are allowed to put HTML). That’s what I did on this post.

The hurdle that I see is the usual: making accounts at these sites for young students without emails. You can create a Voki without signing up. You just won’t be able to store or access your work at a later date. Blabberize does require an email to use the service. Perhaps, a teacher could create a class account (or several using Gmails) and designate a computer as an avatar making station. (That’s what I’m envisioning in our computer lab.) Students could create their avatars and copy and paste the code into a text file (Word document) that could be saved to a server that they would be able to access at another time or from a different machine when they were ready to copy and paste into a blog post. The class account at the avatar site would store these creations in case a student needed to recopy the code.

Do you think integrating avatars could be worthwhile?

5 Comments to

“Talking Avatars”

  1. February 2nd, 2010 at 11:11 am       Susan the book chook Says:

    The logitech ones look such fun but I have iSight too. I will be very interested to see if you come up with something for the Mac, as I loved the McKillop school book reports.

  2. February 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm       Patti Says:

    Avatars are useful for ELL students because they let students see and hear material. Also, the native language component can help families be involved as well as help clarify material for students.
    A great way to hook students!

  3. February 2nd, 2010 at 8:06 pm       Kelly Says:

    Great ideas! I have used talking avitars to give directions to students on each page of a wiki to guide them through a variety of activities. For the email problem, I create temporary email accounts for students, for example if they are number 12 in 4th grade the email address may be This is an easy way to create throw away inboxes on the go. I have used both and The great thing about these email systems is that students can make them up on the fly, there really is nothing to prepare before hand.

  4. February 2nd, 2010 at 8:58 pm       lsanderson Says:

    Thanks for the email tip! I will try it! 🙂

  5. February 2nd, 2010 at 4:47 pm       Lisa Monthie Says:

    I love Voki and Blabberize. I have also used your basic avatar maker (like DoppelMe) and used AudioPal or Gabcast to record myself talking….that way I could save my work. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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