Technorati Tags: avatar
I'm a big advocate of avatars in education. One of the things I have found in working with students online is how powerful a medium it is. When students know that "the whole world" is viewing their work, and not just their teacher, they really put a good deal more effort into their product. They are proud of what they have created and that sense of individualism and personal pride is important - but how do you do that without putting your students "at risk" online? How do you add personalization without a picture - especially in tools where pictures, or avatars represent your work, i.e. VoiceThread? Here are a few of the tools/options that I have used in the past and how they have worked for me. I also have to give a big shoutout to my twitter friends who helped me find some new sites!
Have your students draw a representation of themselves, scan it in and use as their image online. This way students get to use their artwork and represnt themselves.
Portrait Avatar Maker ( http://avatarmaker.abi-station.com/)
This one is by far one of the "safest" creators. There are no options that would make a middle schooler giggle (see WeeMee). But there are almost too many options. I would imagine my students taking forever to create their perfect image.
I like the way the WeeMee avatar looks a bit better. However, there are some options that I would not feel comfortable asking my middle schoolers or high schoolers to do, nor would I want to walk them through it.
I have to say when I first saw this I thought - now way. But I actually think this may be the best of the bunch. There are only a few options, so it won't take forever in class. There aren't any inappropriate questions, and it is just plain fun!