This week, as part of our VoiceThread digital storytelling assignment, my pre-service teachers at the University of North Texas enrolled in “Computers in the Classroom” are required to create a free “avatar” for themselves. In this case, when we use the word “avatar” we’re NOT talking about James Cameron’s recent film by that name! Instead, we’re referring to an “avatar” in a computing or technological sense, which is a graphic representation of someone. It’s very important for educators (as well as students and parents) to understand how avatars can not only be used in lieu of photographs on website profile pages, they can also be a great way to encourage creativity!

This is a personal avatar I created using the free website, BuiLD YouR WiLD SeLF. I emailed my finished avatar to myself, and then cropped it online (for free) using Picnik.

Wes' Wild Self

I’m recommending my students utilize the EXTENSIVE list of avatar maker websites provided by Joyce Valenza on her “New Tools Workshop” wiki. Joyce is a guru for blended learning tools and strategies. If you haven’t seen her keynote for the 2009 K-12 Online Conference, “The Wizard of Apps,” take some time to check it out. It’s chock-full of great tips and suggestions for using technology resources with students to support learning in the library, in the classroom, and at home.

Follow Joyce on Twitter @joycevalenza.

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One Response to Assignment: Build a personal avatar!

  1. I just did this with 4th graders. They created their avatar, and then wrote a little “post” about it in the comments section (so far used for commenting on the class blog, soon they will be “promoted” from subscribers to authors and editors and eventually to admins of their own blog spaces).

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