The RM Learning Platform and SWGfL Merlin are currently used by more than 5,200 schools around the world, and one of the many great features in this shared platform is the ability for all users to create and customise a personal v-Me™ avatar. This digital character represents learners and teachers alike in online discussions, chat sessions, as the owners of shared spaces and much more. They can also say a lot about who the user is, or who they want to be, and are often used by teachers during lessons, for example as characters in creative writing activities.
During November and December 2010 we ran a competition for students in England and Wales for students to design their own avatar, and to tell us what their avatar likes most about the platform. We received more than 2,500 entries from students in primary and secondary schools with a huge range of imaginative suggestions - from spacemen and aliens to robots and monsters, pixies and mermaids to vampires and fashion models. And some of the comments about what they liked best were great!
"It is a great educational website which can be used by most age groups. It has simple instructions and is easy to use. Even my little brother can use it!"
"My avatar likes going to interest spaces and seeing the interesting things there and also checking the timetable so that she knows what she will do the next day."
"I like the wikis because if someone puts something on there and then you go on after, you may learn something. I like all of the Learning Platform. I love discussions because you can chat to anyone in your class safely without the whole world seeing."
"I love the LP because its an easy safe way to talk to your friends and you can let your imagination run wild on wikis, also on the learning blogs you can tell everybody about what you learnt at school that day and that is why I love LP."
And the Winners are...
All of the entries we received were wonderful and we would like to say thank you to everyone who took the time to create an avatar and send it to us.
Congratulations go to the winner of the 'Design Your Own Avatar' competition who was Robbie Beale from St Julian's Primary School in Bath. He sent us a great pirate design and here you can see how it will look in the RM Learning Platform and SWGfL Merlin, and everyone will be able to choose the various aspects of the design when creating their avatar once the platform is updated later this year.
Telling us why his pirate character liked the platform Robbie said, "Pretty Polly likes to chatter away with her friends while I hook on to the gripping news feeds! We also think the way you can use the learning platform away from sharks and storms is a swashbuckling idea!" Robbie attended the VIP reception at BETT in London on Wednesday 12th January 2011 to receive his prize. Well done, Robbie.
The runners up were also super designs, with some very unusual characters. The lucky five runners up are: