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  1. 1. IDENTITY PROJECTION IN AVATARS AND MOTIVATION Vera Menezes Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Federal University of Minas Gerais) Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (National Council of Technological and Scientific Development)
  2. 2. The word ‘avatar’, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (Onions, 1966), originates from Sanskrit and means the descent of an entity and its incarnation in human form. In the virtual context, Peterson (2005) suggests the following definition: “Avatars are online manifestations of self in a virtual world (Kim, 2000) and are designed to enhance interaction in virtual space.”(p. 30).
  3. 3. Similar to Gods manipulating humans, the avatar owners can execute certain actions through their graphic representations that they would probably not be able to carry out in real life.
  4. 4. In the educational area, avatars can be used as a mask to protect identities and motivate. They work as an alternative to reduce stress in the performance of certain learning tasks. Voki (http://voki.com/) is a partially free application for creating animated avatars, with the option of using a real or synthesized voice.
  5. 5. “When students create their avatar, they also give it personal features such as eye color, hair color, and facial expressions. In many instances, avatars are a direct representation of the student, but for others, the avatar represents the student’s ideal self”. (Hérbet et al, 2004:97)
  6. 6. “Designing personalized three- dimensional avatars gives the kids a risk-free chance to explore their identity. Avatars don't look quite as real as photographs, but they aren't totally abstract, either. They're just different enough from real life to make them an ideal device for toying with appearances”. Boss (2009)
  7. 7. I investigated a set of avatars created by students of English attending an online course on oral skills, in the first semester of this year. 33 students Moodle platform First task: a personal introduction through a Voki avatar.
  8. 8. The goals of the study were to verify: (1) if the students reproduced their physical features when creating their avatars or if they played with their appearance and projected different identities; (2) if the avatars motivated students to speak; (3) if the avatars decreased inhibition and (4) If students would prefer avatar do video recording or face to face interaction.
  9. 9. Avatars in formal and informal introductions 33 students 25 avatars (1 dog) 9 used the same avatar 15 chose different avatars
  10. 10. Results 23 students chose avatars that reproduced features of their profile photos on Moodle.(skin color, use of glasses, hair length and color)
  11. 11. Pairs of formal and informal avatars
  12. 12. His avatars are different from his photograph, although he wears a goatee as in the second avatar. But he also wears a moustache. He has dark skin and very short black hair. He is a little bald.
  13. 13. The avatars motivated students to speak and decreased inhibition. Students said they preferred avatar do video recording or face to face interaction.
  14. 14. Why do they prefer the avatars? 1. It is not necessary to take care of appearance and background; 2. No problem with noise; 3. Shyness when recording videos; 4. Focus on the content and not on the quality of audio, light, camera and background;
  15. 15. Why do they prefer the avatars? 5. Not showing the real face decreases anxiety and we do not need facial expressions and gestures; 6. It is funny; 7. Avatar is easier; 8. Avatar is simple and practical; 9. Makes me more comfortable.
  16. 16. CONCLUSIONS Students learned to use avatars and enjoyed the task. Avatars decreased their shyness. They felt motivated to speak English mediated by avatars. Students can use the voice synthesizer to practice pronunciation before recording their own voice.

Pesquisa sobre avatar

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