Teaching Innovations to Promote Active Learning

Speech Science Using Voki

Course:  Speech Science (SLP 320) Robin Danzak with student
Professor:  Prof. Robin Danzak, Ph.D., Department of Speech-Language Pathology
Learning Objectives:  Application of speech science concepts, critical analysis, and self-assessment
Digital Tool:  Speech Science Using Voki


‌My Teaching Objective
In my Speech Science class, I use Voki in a culminating assignment. Students create a Voki and then develop a written analysis of their Voki’s speech. Thus, the assignment is both an exploration of speech synthesis technology and an integration of key academic concepts. Along with written instructions and criteria for the assignment, I made a Voki to explain:


‌Description of Teaching Practice
Voki is an easy-to-use, versatile web tool that allows users to design and animate speaking characters. I have used Voki for various purposes in my classes, and students find it to be a novel and engaging way to communicate. For example, I often use Voki for “welcome assignments” in which students introduce themselves to the class (I create my own Voki, too, and present it as an example). 

Sample Student Work  
This voki below has been recreated to represent student work from my speech therapy class.


To complete the assignment, the student also submitted a written analysis of the phonetic (speech sounds) and suprasegmental (intonation, stress) aspects of her Voki’s synthesized speech production. Using the Voki and its analysis, I was able to assess what this student had learned in the course.



Relevance to other disciplines  
Voki has the potential to be used in almost any discipline. For example, in literature, here is a character profile of Liesel from The Book Thief, created with Voki:


As students are able to type or speak and record the messages that their Vokis say, you can imagine the possibilities for its use in foreign language classes. The text that Vokis speak is limited to about a paragraph, so this tool would work well for tasks that involve summarization or an introductory presentation of material in any content area.