I’m not really an avatar type of person, which might be more personal information about me than you care about. But, this insight is relevant to the digital media tool I’m reviewing–Voki. With Voki, I can create an avatar to speak for me or with my own voice. Granted, we aren’t talking about super model quality avatars, though there are a few “realistic” options to choose from. Since I’m not an avatar type of person, I didn’t think I’d like this tool, but I quickly took to the humor that could be created through these characters. Voki kind of reminds me of Fotobabble, where it’s one image with audio, except that Voki’s images pretend to talk (kind of like Mr. Ed sort of mouth moving) and the graphics are already provided in Voki.
Goal: Try something different….create an avatar
- There are multiple ways to create audio for the avatar, and not all require a microphone. You can phone in the audio recording or type text that is read by a “computer” voice (….think Speak-and-Spell if you’re as old as I am). If you type up text, you can change the language, though I have no idea if it’s accurate since I tortured the Spanish language enough in college that I’m banned from speaking it ever again.
- I think it might be addictive to match up goofy characters with oddball voices or effects. My students may not think I’m funny, but I will.
- You can adjust the avatar; not just hair, color, and accessories, but also body proportions and location on the screen can be adjusted.
- There is a blog and help section for those who need insights on using the tool. Also included are classroom guides for teachers.
- While I didn’t try it out, supposedly you can embed Voki in a PowerPoint. After finishing a project, there is an embed code provided (which is what I used at the end of this post).
- I didn’t keep track of all the avatar options, but there seems to be a variety to try and represent different people, cultures, and situations. That said, there is a pay version that provides more options, but I opted for the goofy avatars to bypass any question of whether I’m represented by the graphic. (Note: sometimes I think of myself as a unicorn, but in fact, I’m not.)
- There are some ads on the site, so you have to be careful where you click. The sidebars are generally ads that will take you to a different site.
- The title of the Voki you create is limited to 20 characters.
- Not all the voice options for typed text work. For example, Dave seems to play, but I don’t hear anything. Perhaps, though, Dave is speaking in a voice audible to dogs or the like.
- Unless you have a paid subscription account, the audio recording limit is 60 seconds (and 600 character limit for text to voice).
- Playing the recorded Voki relies on Shockwave Flash, which can be quirky at times.
Insider View: You can use audio recording software, such as Audacity, to record your 60 second clips to upload to the site if you don’t like their recording or text to voice options.
Final Thoughts: With a 60 second limit, there isn’t much you can say with this tool, but I think it’s a good change of pace for short (and entertaining) audio clips. The avatars might not well-represent serious information, but it may make the information memorable for a bit.
Samples: Okay, so it was pretty late at night when I created these samples. It totally cracked me up to have a sad looking pink bunny with an Australian voice (AKA: Allan) tell students to submit their “resume and cover letter” by Tuesday. It seems that resume (i.e., professional document with employment information) without the accent marks is resume (i.e., to take up again). While Allan the pink bunny is my favorite, Bridget’s UK voice for the unicorn works well. As noted above, I suspect only I think I’m funny, which is normal.