I first came across Voki a few years ago while attending a technology conference. However, it was a student led event in my own classroom that brought the full value Voki has to offer to my attention. Student leaders were charged with the task of creating a lesson integrating technology with a relevant classroom application. One of our student leader teams selected Voki.com as their technology tool. Throughout the day I received a flood of Vokis created by my students sharing everything from what their plans were for the weekend to their favorite event from the day, but my student leaders struck gold when they gave each class their summative assessment. Their assignment? Create a Voki about a book you recently finished and email it to Mrs. Hinkle before you leave. The idea of Voki Book Talks was born!
Taking from their idea, I began to look at the current format students were using to share aobu ttheir reading and how I could implement these expectations into this amazing resource. Next, I set up a list of expectations each Voki would need to share during the book tak and within a few days my students were creating highly engaging and informative book talks.
Book Talk Expectations
Here is the list I established for Voki book Talks:
1. Create a Voki for each book you would like to share with others.
2. It must include your Name. (First Name Only) Ex. "Hi, George here."
3. Title of Book and Author of Book.
4. Three specific details about the book.
5. Your favorite part of the book.
6. Would you recommend this book? If yes, why? If no, why not?
7. Your Voki must be written in complete sentences, using correct conventions, and it must make sense.
8. Email your Voki to your teacher and any friends you want to share it with who have school email accounts.
What Happened Next?
Well, Students joined together to dance and sing joyful songs about my awesomeness as a teacher, of course! Okay, that might be a bit of hyperbole on my part, but the improvement in my student's ability to present their knowledge was very real and just shy of a miracle cure for some of my emergent readers and writers.
I saw an immediate improvement in the quality of summaries my students submitted. I attribute this to many things that make Voki.com unique and special. If the student didn't use correct conventions when writing the book talk, their Voki paused or didn't pause appropriately while speaking. They could hear the errors even better than when they read their writing out loud to themselves. Also, if their writing didn't make sense, neither did their Voki. It was so exciting to see students as they self assessed and mad equality revisions in their work voluntarily and without prompts form me.
Now we share our Voki Book Talks in class with everyone. gone are the isolated teacher student conversations from which no one benefits. Instead, students are excited to share via email with their friends and vie for the opportunity to share in class. In addition, students can go to a shared book talk document and view Voki Book Talks from all of my classes. Another new goal among my students is to be a featured Voki Book Talk o my website. Knowing I change out the featured Vokis every week has created a frenzy to finish their books i time to submit a Voki before I select my next featured artists.
Emergent writers are more comfortable working in this medium because they can write, listen, and revise their work privately. this is allowing them to gain confidence in their skills and experience successful sharing among their peers. I've also noticed that the vocabulary students are willing to try from the anonymity of their Voki creation features richer word choices, more complex sentences, and a greater depth of comprehension.
Thanks Voki.com, you have created a way that allows students to use technology in a way that changes learning.
Yours In Education,