Hey all! Did you know that today, July 17th is world emoji day? Happy World Emoji Day! I decided to focus this post on Bitmojis, a cousin (in my opinion) to the emoji. Even though it is July you can start thinking about ways to incorporate Emojis into your class. Emojis are a great way to reach students where they are, using technology that they already use.
Back in the spring of 2016 a former student in my Technology of Instruction class, Jordyn Pistilli, asked me if I used Bitmojis. Of course, I said, "No". But quickly followed up with a question, "What is a Bitmoji?" She quickly opened her phone and showed me the hilarious and cute cartoon characters of herself with funny phrases. Bitmojis remind me of the old school Wii characters, remember those? Remember how cool we thought they were? I used to spend more time than I am willing to admit to making my Wii character just right. Anywho, here are some of my most recently Bitmojis:
What is a bitmoji?
Well, a bitmolji is a cartoon representation of yourself that you can customize. I created my bitmoji by taking a selfie and the app did the rest. Oh, by the way, bitmoji is a site, a chrome extension, and an app, just in case you needed to know that.
It took me a while to incorporate bitmojis into my social media life and text messages. I grew up in the generation where putting an emoji in an email or correspondence was unprofessional. I have changed my tune since then thanks to my students. It took me a while to start using Bitmojis in my class. I noticed one day I sent out feedback using a Bitmoji and the students thought it was hilarious and awesome! YEAH, Professor points right? I enjoyed using them and reaching the students using a tool that they already use in their personal lives - but now it is being used for education.
How do I incorporate Bitmojis into my class?
I use Bitmojis in a variety of ways in my class. I teach preservice teachers of all grade levels and subject areas. Although I teach college students doesn't mean that you can't use some of these strategies with your students:
Add a Bitmoji to a slide in your presentation - it is eye-catching and can be funny but related to the content. Below is an example of a slide presented at ISTE 2018. Read more about my ISTE 2018 experience here.
Feedback Bitmoji style. Sometimes I have students submit work using OneNote and when I see a point or comment made that I agree with or think it out of this world, I can add a Bitmoji to show how I feel. It gets their attention and they may actually read the feedback provided!
Bitmoji in an email correspondence. Students send me emails throughout the day. There are times where I don't feel like typing out words (you get me right?). Instead, I send a bitmoji or a GIF to express myself. My favorite one to send is the GIF of Michelle Tanner.
Bitmoji tweet. Posting a picture of GIF on Twitter can really get the attention of readers. At times I will send a Bitmoji to show encouragement, appreciation, or send good vibes to a colleague.
Booksnaps with Bitmojis! If you have not heard of #booksnaps you need to check out @TaraMartinEDU's video from ISTE's ignite session in 2017. If you haven't heard about Istesnaps then you need to check out the post here. It is using the idea of making connections with text through the use of visual representations.
Ideas for Bitmojis in the classroom
In addition to the ideas posted above some ways to incorporate Bitjmojis or emojis into your class:
Emoji or Bitmoji exit slip. I see this idea used a lot in classes where students are given a slip of paper with several emojis on it and they indicate their comfort level with the topic or concepts taught in class. This can be done as an anticipatory set activity or a closing activity, or both!
Emoji journal. Have student journal using emojis or bitmojis. A different way to get ideas across and feelings represented using a different medium. OR you can have your students write a story using Bitmojis or Emojis. It would like one of those throwbacks to Rebus stories!
A quick search on Pinterest and you can deck your halls and walls of your classroom in emojis and bitmojis.
Have students give book reviews or feedback to one another using an emoji that they either draw or circle based on the age of the students.
These, my friends, are just a few ideas on how to use emojis or Bitmojis in your class. What ideas do you have? How have you incorporated this type of expression in your class? What are some drawbacks? What are some emojis wins you have had? Please share in the comments below.