Sunday, 17 April 2011

Podcasts and Avatars!

This week we explored podcasts/vodcasts, digital storytelling and social-sharing. All seemed amazing resources that have fantastic applications to teaching, all with many platforms that provide a variety of formats to suit your needs. Today I have decided to focus on pod/vodcasting.

When considering  podcasts  for in education, it is basically an audiofile. From a traditional web 1.0 perspective, podcasts can be used as a passive transmissive learning resource. In the classroom, this could be in the form of downloading podcasts on a particular topic that student's can then listen to. From a web 2.0 perspective, podcasts give students a voice with a world-wide audience (if appropriate). Because podcasts can be shared, they provide an authentic learning experience, as well as allowing students a chance to reflect on the way they may present their views, and to develop oral language skills. They can also be used as an authentic diagnostic or summative assessment tool for teachers. The DET has a fantastic section on podcasts in the classroom; Podcasts in the Classroom.

So what about safety? The great thing about podcasts is that they are audio only, so allow anonymity. In order to engage students further, there are many sites offering avatars, technically turning your podcast into a vodcast. Students can use a pre-programmed voice and enter text, or record themselves, which is then combined with a visual character to represent the student. Blabberise and Voki are two such sites. Personally, I think that Voki is an amazing resource, as they have an online community of teachers who upload and share lesson plans that they found successful using Vokis. In addition, Voki provides a range of other resources for educators.

As we all know in education, there is nothing quite like trying something for yourself. So here we go, check out my Voki, talking about Vokis in education. Was a lot of fun!


  1. Well done on setting up a Voki and embedding it in your blog! It's nice to see you talking about the tool while actually using the tool ...

  2. Hehe thanks Mark! It was a bit strange for me but I think that's the self-consciousness that comes with age; I'm sure the little-uns will thrive on it!

  3. I agree with your comments about privacy, podcasts are great because they are audio only and like you said allow anonymity, i think their most appealing aspect is their ability to enable children who previously didn't have a voice to speak up. I know that i feel alot more comfortable having technology inbetween when voicing my opinions and alot of children with confidence issues or who literally struggle to piece together the words can now speak thanks to innovations like these. Your voki is great Liz!

  4. Hey Rom! That is so true about children with confidence or oral language issues. Using a podcast, with either their own voice or a computer generated audio gives them the valuable opportunity to participate.