Creating a voki avatar was exciting and fun as I played around and made outrageous characters before I decided to settle with my simple character. I found this web site interesting and easy to navigate my way around (which would be easy for digital natives!)
I think that this effective tool can be useful in helping ESL learners within the classroom develop language, reading and writing skills. As students develop their skills they can begin to record their own voices enhancing their speech e.g. pronunciation skills. It can also be used as a fantastic tool to engage the learners within a topic or even give them a chance to introduce themselves as they wish to be perceived to their peers on collaborative classroom sites such as a wiki web page.
Following Oliver's (as cited in AUTC, 2003) learning design framework, the Learning Manager (LM) will not only be able to develop an effective strategic plan to ensure student success but will be able to incorporate the use of Avatars to enhance their learning. The use of voki avatars can be developed within the learning tasks and resources (AUTC, 2003) aspect of Oliver's framework. Through the LM developing a learning design based upon trying to enhance a ESL learners phonetic skills through creating an investigation into different phonemes within the English language. By choosing one particular phoneme to focus on the LM can model this and then incorporate resources such as the use of the avatar simulation to help engage the students, make the phoneme memorable and practice to find the phoneme within spoken words (The Reading Genie, 2009).
AUTC. (2003) Learning Design. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm
The Reading Genie. (2009). Making friends with Phonemes. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from http://www.auburn.edu/~murraba/phon.html
Voki. (2009). Voki Avatars. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from http://www.voki.com/mywebsite.php