Monday, October 7, 2013

Voki - Avatars - Crazytalk and Other Pseudo Friends

This hyper-connected generation loves technology, but unfortunately, it is not a panacea for high performance. It is a tool for engagement, or to entice students to have fortitude to complete the assignment.    Opportunities to embed technology are endless, but with the CCSS technology should take a back seat to higher level thought.  

(See this previous post for an example of Teddy Roosevelt CrazyTalk speaking to America...This was crafted during the first Obama run for presidency, after a student had done his research.) 

Teaching should not be about the technology.  It should be about the synthesis of information and reporting those conclusions via a 21st Century tool.    Technology will also help you engage the learner to "hear" a message that would be tuned-out via verbiage, text or talk.   Here's one of those for example.... It's that time of year I resurrect my Voki witch, ala Wicked Witch of the West, to remind students to not copy and paste:


Listed below are some sample essential questions that could be used for research reports that are Common Core aligned, using Vokis, Xtranormal, Crazytalk, or other avatar generator tools.   For each question, notice the synthesis of "facts" required to answer the question.  If your teachers are crafting research to "fetch facts"  and not do anything with those facts, they are not Common Core aligned.   Higher level thought is developed by requiring kids to think, conclude and create something with their "facts."  

How did geography impact your exploration?
What would your colonist say to America today?
Presidents  - US or other national leaders
What was the lasting legacy of your presidency and why?  Have we treasured or trashed this today?
How did your mathematical discovery impact our life today?
How did your discovery improve our life, products, or future?  Why should we be grateful for your hard work?
Convince me, your peer,  to fund your invention.  How will it improve my life? 
Why does the sun deserve the golden globe award?  What should be the official number of planets in our solar system?
If your teachers are not researching, perhaps they need an invitation from you.   Create an avatar model and suggest an alternative to a previous typically low-budget thought research paper that comes through your door.    

Students should be building an evidence-based claim.  Each one of the above affords the students to dig up facts to support a "claim."  Notice how for each of these projects, technology is not embedded until the end--after a student has done the digging and synthesizing.   This becomes the "knowledge product."    Why you could even do these witches for your own library curriculum asking, "How is information organized?"    

And, if your school doesn't have the technology to create these Avatars, or your technology doesn't support Flash yielding it unable to do this...create an alternative.  Perhaps a video, speech, or simple audio recording on a  would do the same!


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  2. Added a code that allows me to present random vokis (have 12) to visitors. See: