What it's all about
Have you ever thought of building a robot and having it do all your dirty work in the classroom? I use one sometimes to announce the nightly homework or give brief starter instructions, to offer pupils a break from the monotony of hearing my voice, writes Anna Winskill.
My Voki - from Voki.com - is a French-Canadian pink poodle named Julie. The website allows you to create speaking avatars. You can give them a voice in more than 25 languages with surprisingly decent non-digital accents. I mostly use the text-to-speech option which allows me to type in text that is then narrated. You can also upload sound files or record your own voice.
Pupils can even create their own Vokis. I put a time limit on this, as the options to personalise characters - from their features, clothing and setting right down to their bling - are endless. They can then type in a short paragraph in the target language. More advanced classes can tie their Voki's narration into whatever objectives you set: subjunctive Vokis, rhyming Vokis, debate Vokis and so on.
You can create characters and publish them in a variety of ways - for example, embed them in a SMART Notebook lesson or access them via a URL. When using Voki.com you will be prompted to sign up with the site. This step can be skipped, but users cannot then return to edit their Vokis.
Create your own Voki at Voki.com and meet Anna Winskill's Voki, Julie, at bit.lyJulievoki
Focus on pupil speaking skills: use Blabberize.com to add voice messages to images.
For advice on creating a Voki, check out anyholland's guide. bit.lyvokihowto.