A Voki is a speaking avatar that is a Web 2.0 tool. Businesses, schools and individuals use speaking avatars to communicate messages visually and orally. The deaf can use them to sign with each other and have them 'speak' aloud' to a hearing person. Businesses use them in customer service on the internet. Teachers are using these avatars to introduce a topic, give instructions, or build rapport with students.
One strength of the avatars is the way they engage the student's attention. According to John Keller's model of motivational design: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction (ARCS), engaging attention is a key category for motivation (1987). The content of the avatar's words must be relevant, convey confidence in the student to complete the assignment and ultimately the student must be satisfied that there has been instructor involvement via avatar.
Another strength is as an alternative to written text for introducing a topic lesson. Even with many forms of online presentation formats, mostly text; it is harder to get students to read with today's culture of visual and audio technology. The Voki product has an option for educators to have a Voki Classroom to create lessons, manage student work, and much more with the avatars. The free version has advertising and currently paid subscriptions cost less than a latte a month! The paid subscription comes with longer audio message time - 90sec instead of 60seconds and more educator features.
A final strength is it satisfies the less is more theory. Cognitive overload can occur when visual graphics, sound, and text are all competing for the student's attention at once. Even if it is background music, content text, with graphics on a page; this can contribute to a student not storing the content information into long-term memory (Sweller, 2005).
A weakness of the avatars could be an instructor's over dependence of them in an online course, which might diminish the impact of using an avatar. Another weakness of the Voki avatar is the inability to do sign language, however there are other programs for cost that offer avatars for signing, however not with the Voki Classroom options.
Lawrick Learning with Voki Speaking Avatars Instructional Tools
www.voki.com <ul><li>Voki: a visual and listening delight </li></ul>
Viewing my learning Vokis <ul><li>Email, URL link or embedded in a website. </li></ul><ul><li>Voki for Learning using GoAnimate </li></ul><ul><li>Review of Voki using Prezi </li></ul><ul><li>The online presentations for this class (EdTech 522) to try out are reviewed and presented on my blog. </li></ul><ul><li>http://seahorsey.doodlekit.com/home/techie_items_created </li></ul>
References <ul><li>Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design. Journal of Instructional Development , 10(3) , 2-10. </li></ul><ul><li> Sweller, J. (2005). Implications of cognitive load theory for multimedia learning. in R. E. Mayer (Ed.). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning . New York: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>My presentation using GoAnimate about Voki speaking avatars is located at: http://goanimate.com/movie/0cHwxsHE4Cf0?utm_source=linkshare&uid=0Lf5hQE00zBY </li></ul><ul><li>My Welcome Voki is at: http://wildfire.gigya.com/facebook/preview.aspx?fb_sig_api_key=f7667e9ebccf2157d6f15f991a5e3ce9&wid=586142882&p=bHQ9MTMxNjkwODU3MzMzNCZwdD%2AxMzE2OTA4NTgwNDI%2AJnA9OTc1MDcyJmQ9MDAwJTIwLSUyMFZva2klMjBXaWRnZXQmbj1mYWNlYm9vayZnPTEmbz1hNTFhYjA1NTZmMTQ%2AOThmYTJiZDJiNjgxYzEyZDFiZiZvZj%2Aw&s=1 </li></ul>