Avatars in Language Learning? Try VOKI
After login, the user takes three steps to creating a voki:
1. choose an avatar from a variety of human and animal forms, customise it and its background – this is the fun and engaging part
2. add a speaking voice – this is where the learning can be affected. A choice is offered – type some words and the machine will put a voice to them (see the example below), or record your own voice and allow your avatar to use your words
3. publish to a school blog, wiki or website.
Teachers have been using it in language class to entice students to speak or or listen to another student speaking. For the reluctant speaker or shy student it can be a gentle way to draw them in to the learning.
The text-to-speech converter can handle many languages, and the creator can choose the gender and nationality of the avatars voice if they wish. Google Translate can be a useful tool to use with Voki.
As Voki is an online resource, bandwidth may be an issue. Login is by email address, so school AUP will have to be considered.
The free version of voki offers a limited amount of choice, and a small advertisement on the side. Schools who use it in language classes can choose to purchase an ad-free version which has offers far more variety.
(btw, the word Voki is a combination of “vox”, which is Latin for voice, and Loki – a character in Norse Mythology)