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!
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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