Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So What if My Avatar Looks Ten Years Younger and Twenty Pounds Lighter...

Last year, in conjunction with our 1:1 initiative, we added a course called Web 2.0-3.0.  With every student having a Macbook Air, it was the perfect time to teach kids more about the vast tools that could be used in and out of school for a wide range of purposes.  This has really become a fantastic place for kids to try out new sites and discover a variety of applications for them.

Today, for example, we worked on setting up their class Wikis.  We use the newer Wikispaces Classroom and love what it offers students.  The tasks today involved setting up individual pages for each of their 14 required categories.  Categories included audio tools, screencasting tools, and drawing tools, just to name a few. Kids have the opportunity to try out sites in each of these categories and select samples of their work to embed or link on the corresponding pages.





One of the first things we did today on our Wiki homepage was add a Voki.  This is a fun tool that creates an avatar that can speak.  While they don't have too much educational value on their own, they do serve as a unique way to personalize the first page of the Wiki, and more importantly, they allow me to teach kids the art of embedding HTML into a website using the widget option (see steps below).













This skill will serve them well as they encounter more and more options for writing or embedding code on a host of sites.  (Not to mention all the righteous accents to play around with!)  There are many ways to personalize your Voki. Make it look like a famous person (some of those are part of a paid account), some mohawk-donning rebel, or a skinnier, cuter version of yourself (guilty, as charged).  Whatever you choose, just know that this simple task is actually the gateway drug to future embedding awesomeness.  Plus, it's just plain fun.  Play around...it's a guaranteed addiction.




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