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Review: Another great way of using Avatars - Voki

Here I am on a Saturday night with nothing to do other than surf the Internet for new tools. I decided to read up on blogs in education and I ended up visiting a wiki that spoke about a specific class blog. The teacher mentioned how his students were using more and more Voki on their blogs after he introduced it to them. So what did I do? I had to find out what Voki was of course so I visited his class blog called A Really Different Place and clicked on one of the student's blog and there it was. It's a personalized avatar which you can use to create small videos. Voki is free to join and it's very easy to use, as you can see below I created a small video using my own voice.

I can see Voki being used to introduce concepts, maybe small instructional pieces, for help or just to make your blog a little more personal.

I've always been interested in avatars but I've noticed that not a lot of use is being given to them in the classroom. Has anyone used Voki before? Better yet, have you used avatars in your training programs, and how?




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Do you Twitter?

Several friends and family members use Twitter all the time, and to be honest I just started using it and I'm getting to like it. I usually don't text message but since I have an iPhone now, even if I don't want to text I can still twitter online.

So now the question is how can you use Twitter in training programs? Although a few uses have been found, it seems like micro blogging is still something that is in the watch. But just because there is no clear need now, doesn't mean it won't be useful in the future.

Some ideas on how to use Twitter to collaborate:

  • Sharing resources and links
  • Keeping your project team up to date
  • Sharing your class notes
  • Summarizing a lecture, meeting, conference or presentation as it occurs
Have you found a use for Twitter in the classroom?

The power of the iPhone....

Santa brought me an iPhone this year and I have to say I love it. I don't care what features this version is missing, what bugs they have found, how sometimes the internet is a little slow because for me, it rocks. You have an iPod, cell phone, driving directions, weather, e-mail, camera, internet and more, all in one with the touch of your finger. What else can you ask for?

Yes, it doesn't have word processing applications but hey, for those of us that have laptops we don't need that, do we?

How can we use an iPhone in training? Well the iPhone can be used in all sorts of ways... you can blog, mobile blog, twitter, network, collaborate on wikis, text messaging and the possibilities are endless. I think this is one of the most collaborative tools out there, what do you think?




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Adding comments to traditional content

Well one of the features we would like to add to some of our traditional content is to allow users to leave comments and also rate the content. You see our users are not too techie and we want to gently get them to start collaborating with each other and we thought taking baby steps was more appropriate.

We are planning to implement blogs, wikis, and discussion boards this year but we have so much traditional content and it's not interactive. It's great content but again you can't collaborate.

So we have formed a team to look into collaboration tools, and one of them is adding comments to our traditional content. In researching off the shelve applications I found Joomla CommentBox which looks pretty neat but I think the look and feel would be too different from ours.

I'm a big fan of widgets, and I usually use Widget Box for all my widget needs. Just now I visited their site and something told me to search for the word "comments". Oh wow, here it was. There is a widget called Easy Comments that you can add in the body of any web page and it allows users to leave comments. How cool is that? And it has a five start rating. I also found another widget called Instant Rating which combines star ratings with comments or star ratings with reviews.

We will probably continue to research this but in the meantime I've added the Instant Rating's widgets below to show you how they work. Has anyone found another way of adding threads and user ratings to their traditional content?