June 2, 2018

Are you old enough to remember paper dolls? We used to have hours of fun dressing them in all kinds of outfits.

Welcome to the 21st-century version of paper dolls, the avatar. Adding a picture tend to make things more personal and can add a bit of fun to it. But if you are like me and hate pictures of yourself, an avatar is your solution. And it is almost as much fun creating an avatar as it was to play with paper dolls.

If you are working with younger children, avatars are a great way to protect your learner’s identities online.

Here are my three favourite apps/websites to create avatars:

Avatar maker

When I created the website for Butterfly Classrooms, I decided instead of using a picture of myself; I want an avatar. Having no idea how to make one I call in the help of a friend who introduced me to Avatar maker. Choose your ears, eyes, nose, skin colour, hair and even your clothes. It is super easy to put a picture a picture together that can be eerily close to the real thing.

Bitmoji

Bitmoji works best when you download it on your phone. (you can use the avatars or bitmoji’s you created, directly in Whatsapp if you want to) And unlike Avatar maker that creates one avatar at a time. Bitmoji produces hundreds of different scenarios.

Design your standard avatar by choosing your hair, eyes, nose and even your outfit. Once you are happy save the avatar and Bitmoji will add it to hundreds of scenarios. You will have an avatar for ever situation.

Disclaimer: While it might be a lot of fun to get your learners to create their own bitmoji’s be warned that there will be some rude bitmojis.

Peanutize me

I include this one because I just love Peanuts. If having an avatar that is close to reality is not a high priority then Peanutize me might be just for you. It might not have as many options and uses as the other two apps, but it is still great fun to create your own Peanuts character. If you want your primary school learners to create an avatar, this might be the tool for you.

Avatars are fun, but what about learning?

If I put my mind to it, I am sure I can find some vague educational purpose to creating avatars. Maybe bitmojis can be used in a lesson about emotions, or avatar maker can form part of a lesson on cybersecurity. But the truth is, if you make avatars with your class it is unlikely to be for educational purposes. It will be a fun lesson. Maybe the last lesson before break, or keeping a colleagues class busy while they are away.

Does that mean you should not let your kids create avatars?

No, just keep your perspective. Making avatars are fun, it is not integrating technology into your class.

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