Once again I surprised myself with what I once thought was beyond my ability...the creation of an avatar. I proceeded to the Voki website and established my free account. It was a strait forward process with easy to follow instructions to customise my own voki with a voice, outfit, background and most importantly the bling. Cohen (2007) states it can aid in instructing those who are more of an audio/visual learner. It is also a successful tool for students studying via distance education, adding a more "human element" to the class.
The mathletics software program used in schools around the world allows children to create their own avatar as they progressively earn credits. The creation of an avatar is actually used as an incentive to earn more credits (by solving mathematical tasks). For example is you want the really exciting volcano background it will cost 250 credits. The more credits you earn the more accessories become available to the user. Students are learning,sharing and competing against each other to create a wonderful avatar. This collaboration extends internationally by the click of a button extending the childrens knowldege everytime they log on.
Oliver's(1999)framework includes tasks students need to do, with the resources and support needed to achieve this. The mathletics program consists of strategies in line with this framework. Again children are taking charge of their learning outcome, they are involved in motivated, interesting and engaging technoligies to aid in their learning experiences. Digital natives are continually subject to video games, amazing graphics and special effects. Children today are rich in media, communication and creative opportunities Pensky, 2005). They need to be stimulated at school too, the use of avatars in classroom lessons will add to the engagement and motivation of students and like Pensky (2205) states it is better to engage students than to enrage them.
Voice communication...why not!
Posting a question on a message board is useful but many times asking the question is better. It is instant, direct and uses the nuance of voice. (Cohen, 2007).
I can only imagine the diversity of learning activities this technology opens up for visually impaired learners.