The Blog’s Brain in an Avatar!

Arriving at the airport with some degree of angst and anxiety, fearing I was too late for my flight to Canberra where the Australian Computer Educators’ Conference was to be held, I was taken aback to find that my flight was actually one hour later than I thought. Relaxing somewhat, I found my way to the departure lounge and  settled down into a seat to collect my breath. Several minutes later, a complete stranger came up to me and asked if I was murcha from twitter. After confirming that I was, I met face to face @lucybarrow– a fellow tweeter. She was also attending the conference and so a firm and continuing friendship has developed. It is also great to attend conferences and recognize others there or be recognized from online avatars.

The fourth Kick Start Your Blog Challenge looks at avatars. The brain of the blog can be likened to the author or blogger, the one responsible for the blog. Their online  representation can be shown in both a blog avatar and a comment avatar.

Kick Start Your Blog Challenge requires participants to look at the ‘brain’ of the blog ie the blogger themselves, with the theme of Avatars. Avatars are computer/digital/online representations of people.

My avatarsAnne Mirtschin avatar

I am happy to have my photo image as my avatar. This is my usual image – the one that Lucy recognized me from.

However, I also use a gravatar, so that when I My gravatarcomment on other people’s posts, this image appears with the comment. This gravatar is a more recent photo and was taken in winter time.

As part of the challenge, I also created a picassahead avatar. This is the result:-

murcha by picassaWhy is this avatar a representation of me? First, it has my online username and twitter handle – murcha. I am always in a rush and do not brush my hair as often as I should, so the hair is a little unkempt and crazy. My eyes are blue and as I enjoy a good laugh, I tried to choose a mouth that depicted that. In winter, I like to wear scarves to add a bit of colour to my very dominant ‘black’ coloured wardrobe. Oh, if only I could, I would change my prominent nose!! Many choose to depict themselves as an image that they would love to be, but I want people to accept me and recognize me as I am.

Here are two other avatar making sites that are favourites with my students

  1. illustmaker Facemaking tool (in different languages)
  2. Reasonably Clever lego avatars

All students in our school have avatars. It is important that safety is the prime consideration, whilst they are under our care. Some have chosen to draw their avatar in MS Paint, some prefer to use an online avatar maker (see above sites). Some older students have used their photo and cartoonized it beyond instant recognition using befunky. Two years ago, the preps (aged 5 years) lay on a piece of paper, their teacher drew their outline and the students then drew themselves within the outline. Year 10 students took a photo of their artwork, reduced the image size, published in on our shared network and preps used this as their avatar.

What sites do you like to make avatars? How have you used avatars with students? Any highlights or issues?

12 responses to “The Blog’s Brain in an Avatar!

  1. Pingback: A Picture is Worth a . . . | School Librarian: I love my job!

  2. I think recognition in real life is one of the best reasons to use a photograph of yourself as an avatar. I know it has worked well for me in various tweetups I have attended.

    With my students this year, I told them they could upload a picture that was not of their face. However, I did not require it or get into more specific information regarding avatars. I will definitely build this in to our blog set up next year.

    • Thanks Janelle for this comment. I think the notion of avatars is important. It will be interesting to see whether virtual worlds will increase in education. Students will develop their own avatar there too. I find that students will build their ‘dream’ avatar and not a true representation of themselves. Dont know if that is good or bad.

  3. Hi Anne,

    I found out about the Avatars and “Bless this Chick” from the following post –
    http://theedublogger.com/2009/11/29/creating-and-uploading-your-comment-avatar/

    From there I just wandered around and then created the avatar.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Hi Anne,

    I found the Avatar creator Bless This Chick through the following blog post.

    http://theedublogger.com/2009/11/29/creating-and-uploading-your-comment-avatar/

    From there i just sort of wandered around a bit. Hope this helps.

    Heather

  5. Pingback: Avatar, Avatar on the Blog… | Tammy Dewar

    • Hi Tammy I am sorry you had trouble adding the picassahead, but I have commented back on your post how to do it. Hope it works for you and please let me know if you need more help.

  6. I just used cartoonize.net on my standard profile pic. I think I will encourage students to try this for a more stylized look.
    Great Topic!

    • Hi Penny, I haven’t used cartoonize before. My students like befunky, but it is demanding on our internet line at school and will often be too slow to work properly. I love the topic on images too and images is something every student can work with and manipulate.

  7. Hi Anne,
    I have not completed the challenge for this activity. I take my avatar from second life. I will try to make an avatar using this tools or other tools.
    Thank your for sharing the tools.

    • There is no pressure. You do not have to complete all the acitivies. You can choose which ones you want to do. If you like just do the next one, the one on images. That is fun. If you do have time though, read some of the other blog posts on this topic. There are some great ideas.
      How do you like second life? I have been in there a few times, but do not feel confident with it.
      Have a good day or is it night time for you.It is Australia Day here today.

  8. Pingback: Voice Recognition – a new perspective on Learning Networks | On an e-Journey with Generation Y

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