Posts Tagged avatar

Avatars – Your Virtual Self

Creating avatars in education can help get the creative juices flowing and create safe images to post of the students online.    Here is a list of ideas for using avatars in classrooms:

  • Create book trailers with the avatars representing the characters
  • Teachers can put their avatar in their powerpoints to get the kids attention.
  • Create a new character and create a story about it. (Great for the Build Your Wild Self website)
  • Write instructions on how to create a character – swap descriptions to see if they can recreate it
  • recreate characters from the novel.  What do you picture that they look like.
  • All about Mii poems with picture of the avatar attached
  • Use the avatar to represent the student online.
  • Put the avatars in famous places and points in history.  Have student write about the place and or event from a first person point of view.

Here are three kid-safe resources for creating avatars:

Mii Avatars

If you are a Wii user you have created a Mii before, the avatar that represents you in playing the games.  There is online option to create Miis that can be saved as jpgs or png files. Export the avatar as a transparent png file and put yourself in famous places. by placing the Mii on top of a photograph.  I’ve used PowerPoint for this since you can group the two images and then save the group as a picture file.

Create your own Mii – http://www.myavatareditor.com/

Directions to create famous Miis:  http://www.miicharacters.com/

Lego Avatars:

Lego AvatarMini-Mizer

Allows users to create a Lego Avatar complete with accessories custom and backgrounds.  To save the creation you have to do a Print Screen and then paste into another application like PowerPoint to crop the image and save it as an image file.

http://www.reasonablyclever.com/mm2/mini2.swf

Become an Animal

Build Your Wild Self – Start off designing yourself as a human then you can add animal parts and set a background.  Final Products can be printed with information about the creature you created and a name for your creature.  Another option is to save a version as a desktop backgrounds.  You can right click on the print version and save the image as well as doing the print screen option as with the Lego character.

This was really my favorite one as the art work is beautiful and the ties into science are amazing.  One idea:  Have students create a creature for their habitat and explain how that creature lives.

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I’ll be adding to my avatar resources at: http://www.diigo.com/user/robiny/avatars

Any other ideas for using avatars in class?

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Webcams in the Classroom

Recently I heard about people using webcams as document cameras.  We decided to give it a shot on campus in the 7th grade math classrooms.

We purchased the Logitech 9000 webcam and the Tech Ed teacher is building a stand for the camera so it can be stationary wherever the teacher wants to place it (within reach of the USB cord of course).  The teachers and I participated in a half-day hands-on training/brainstorming session.  Here is the results of that time.

The teachers took a comp test that they gave and solved each problem for the students so they can study to retake the test for a higher grade.  They also used the avatar feature of the webcam to film an introduction to the video.  Movie maker was used to bring the entire product together.

Special thanks to Rich Thomas, Natalie Ortega, Patrice Barlow and Siri Ralph for sharing their work!  (The video below is only part of the final product.)

I have gathered all ideas I could find online for other uses of webcams in the classroom and have placed them on my wiki: http://teachwiki.wikispaces.com/Webcams.  Please feel free to add any ideas on the wiki or in the comment section below.

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Creating Online Content – Videos

This week my husband and I were watching American Idol and were wondering who orginally sung the song being preformed.  So I got online and googled the song.  Within seconds we were watching the original artists preform the song on YouTube.  We were also linked to other artists who had sung the song and were able to find the version and artist that we knew best.  No digging out old albums or cassette tapes, it’s all at your fingertips.

Finding video content online is a not difficult anymore.  With the advent of UnitedStreaming, YouTube,  and other streaming media you can find video of almost anything you want any time you want and are incorporating that into your teaching.  But what if you can’t find what you are looking for?  What if you have footage of something cool that you want to share with the world?  Maybe you want to get your students attention by posting the instructions in a way that is accessible to them anytime and anywhere.   

This week’s tech tip focuses on creating the video files, where to host the files online and how to make them easily accessible to your students.   To create the video I suggest PhotoStory if you are going to narrate pictures or a PowerPoint.  For video MovieMaker is easy to edit footage, add titles and add music.

Webcams now include software to turn yourself in to an avatar (think cartoon character) and you can record you voice and facial expressions to give directions to your students.  (See the example below.)   Something different to catch those middle school minds!

Once videos are created they can be embedded into a wiki, blog, or linked from your TeacherWeb page.  The advantage of being able to embed the video is the students never leave the page to view the content.

Here is a sample of a teaching video. 

 

(The shark in the video was created with a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000.  Only certain Logitech Webcams will create the cartoon images of the narrator.  Check the back of the box if you are looking for this feature.  We have purchased one of these and it is available for use.)

Some Ideas for Teaching Videos:

  • Science labs – capture the process for students to refer back to or for students who were absent
  • Introduce a unit for your students that they can refer back to
  • Explain hard to get concepts or problem solving skills step by step 
  • Create a video to provide background info for a unit 

How can you see using this in your classroom?  Leave your ideas in the comments section.  Also leave your guesses as to who the voice of the shark is in the video. 

Get Students in on the Act:
Creating the videos can also be a task for the students.  When students create multimedia presentation they use their writing skills.  The key to a good presentation is writing a good script and storyboarding. Organization of ideas is essential because if the ideas are not organized, the presentation will also not be organized.  

What Multi Media Presentations Do Well:

  • Gives voice to student work
  • Creates visual interest in a subject
  • Can be turned into a vodcast (more on this in future posts).

Ways MultiMedia Presentations are being Used in Education:

  • Newscast about historical events
  • Advertisements
  • Reports about countries
  • Teach a subject to another class
  • Book reports

Free Software to create multi-media presentations:

  • Movie Maker – edits video and add transitions, titles, etc.
  • PhotoStory 3 – makes a slide show out of your pictures. – Add narration and pan and zoom effects. Good for student made documentaries, presentations.  

Once you have your video created, you need a place to keep that video that students, parents, etc can access easily.  I suggest www.teachertube.com. Why use TeacherTube to host your videos?  It’s free!  The storage space is unlimited.  It’s free.  The purpose of the site is to host and share educational videos.  Links to other videos should not be inappropriate for your students. Did I mention it’s free with unlimited space?  YouTube and Google Video contain videos clips that may nto be appropriate for our kiddos to see.  So please don’t tempt them by hosting your video there!  So choose wisely!

For the step by step how to’s on uploading to teacherTube and embedding videos into wikis and blogs – got to TeachWiki.

If you have an idea of what you might want to do, but need help getting there, let me know and we can make it happen! 

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