Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Put a mouth on a polygon!

Blabberize is one of those resources that you come across and immediately think "This could be amusing for kids to use, but I don't see an educational value". This thinking needs to be reexamined.

Blabberize is a free resource that allows the user to upload a picture, draw an interactive mouth, and then put their voice to the picture. It is similar to Voki, but with out the avatar creating. I find blabberize more versatile because I have found the need to expand the anthropomorphic paradigm. (I think I just coined a phrase!)

Anthropomorphism (or personification) is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human things. A fuller description and definition can be found here.

When people first begin exploring Blabberize, they know that they need to draw an interactive mouth on their image and when they speak, the mouth will move. You can see an example that I created here:

In their early uses, users tend to use images of people and even animals (which be an attribution of anthropomorphism). What I mean by the need to expand on the anthropomorphic paradigm is that first time users fall into the trap that they can only use photos and pictures that have a mouth!

I challenged a room of teachers to find a use for Blabberize in a math class. It was an English teacher who said that she would have had a better time in geometry if the polygons described their physical properties to her. Some teachers around her asked her what she meant and she profoundly said "Put a mouth on a polygon"! Once she exclaimed this, teachers started thinking about how to expand the paradigm (or think outside of the box).

What is great about Blabberize is that it can give students a voice in class. They have the chance express themselves without having to stand in front of the class and make a mistake in front of their peers. Blabberize will allow the students to do multiple takes and it helps eliminate some of the pressure. Students get motivated and can be creative!

How great could this tool be for a world language class? Students can practice their speaking (and writing to prepare what they will say) and improve their listening skills to the world language. Students can help bring history to life by providing a voice to a historical figure. Imagine how a "book report" could be changed by having the protagonist or antagonist speak from their own perspective about the events of a novel!

How can you have your students use it in class? Add a comment with your ideas! Have you used it in your classes? Share a link to the student creations!

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