So I have been playing around with Voki Avatars for the last hour and a half and I am completely in love with this site. I think that small things really do amuse small minds. I could have fun on this site for hours on end. I never knew that something that seemed do technical could actually be so easy to understand. I was engaged and really wanted to know more about these avatars. ‘Avatars are fictional characters inside the computer…a virtual person (Winslow, 2009).’ I think that avatars could allow children to develop a friendship with technology. When exploring Voki for my own personal pleasure, it came to me that the images that I was creating was what I aspired to be and my avatars created the good qualities that I see in myself. I believe that this is a very positive thing.
How could avatars be used in the classroom?
There are many positive outcomes that could be used with the use of avatars.
- The Learning Manager could create an avatar of him/herself so the students interact with a teacher like figure.
- This could also be used with an assistant teacher.
- The avatar could direct the learners to the task that is at hand.
- The students could create their own avatars to represent themselves or what they aspire to be.
When researching the current use of avatars in classrooms, I came across an interesting article from Lance Winslow (2009), where he suggested that avatars can be used for teaching in overloaded classrooms and also as a homework buddy. He went on to also suggest that these avatars that the students create can really assist them to develop their self esteem. For example, if they grow up without a father figure, their avatar could represent a male authority figure that may guide them through their education. I found this to be extremely interesting.
As the majority of online learning is designed to be asynchronous, the virtual environment that avatars assist the students to develop a rich understanding of the pedagogies in place by engaging them in a variety of different ways and offering different communication tools, rather than just plain slides or text boxes to read (NISOD, 2009). I really enjoyed this task and believe that the students would have a ball with avatars and also really listen to the avatars and be on board with activities if the Learning Manager were to use them in learning tasks.
The National Institute for Staff and Overseas Development. (NISOD) (2009). The virtual frontier: engaging students in a three-dimensional online learning environment. Viewed on 16/08/09 from:
Wislow, L. (2009). What are avatars and why should they be used for eLearning for kids? Viewed on 15/08/09 from: