Celebrating Halloween is always fun and gives teachers the chance to deviate from the ordinary course book stuff and come up with enjoyable activities which familiarize students with this old tradition when ‘the veil between the living world and the spirit world becomes thinner’ :-).
Witches, pumpkins, ghosts, black cats, masks, candy and scary stories excite students’ imagination and set the scene for creative technology- based or not language learning tasks. This year I decided to use Voki with my younger learners and asked them to create scary speaking avatars.
Voki is a free, fun, easy- to-use tool. There is a wide range of animated characters (including politicians, animals, smilies, monsters etc.) for students to choose from and customize by adjusting sizes, colours, clothing and accessories as they wish. They can also pick a background and then bring their characters to life by giving them a voice! Most interestingly, students can add their own voice via microphone or phone as well as use the text- to speech software, type their message and pick a voice for their character.
Avatars can then be e-mailed or embedded in any social media site, blog or website. For me, the only limitation of this tool is the fact that the recordings must be up to 60 seconds.
Students can create their avatars without making an account but if they do, they’ll be able to save their work and edit it whenever they want! There is also a Voki classroom option for educators at low rates so that you can set up accounts and manage your students’ work without having them register.
Below you’ll find four of the spooky Halloween avatars my students created:-)!
Some more ideas about how to use Voki in your class throughout the school year are:
- To assign homework, give oral instructions or feedback.
- Create a classroom mascot to make important announcements.
- Ask students to work in pairs and create short dialogues between their vokis on a certain topic.
- For speaking exercises: students can introduce themselves, share their thoughts, dreams, wishes or future plans.
- To ask riddles.
- ‘Celebrity Guess Who’ game: Divide your class into pairs. Give each pair the photo of a celebrity and some facts about his/her life/ career. If students are more advanced, they could also look 5 important facts up on the Web by themselves (country of origin, age, biggest hit/most successful movie, etc.). Students have to create celebrity look- alike avatars sharing personal info while the rest of the class has to make the right guess :-)!
If you haven’t used it before, Voki is certainly worthwhile trying!
All the best,