The earliest avatar I remember creating was for the Yahoo email account I made in 4th grade.
I designed it to look as much like my real-life self as I could. From a range of possibilities, I could create a digital version of myself in a few clicks.
Avatars are fused into edtech products to get kids excited and motivated to learn.
The kids who grow up to work in the edtech industry have the opportunity to design their most complex avatar yet.
Here's how building avatars progresses over time, from a kid's in-app experience to an adult who wants to channel their edtech kid at work.
The idea of a kid avatar in edtech platforms
It's easier to learn when you're engaged.
When we're young, we already love to recreate our environments by playing dress up or pretend.
Giving kids ownership of a virtual character while they're learning creates a chance to motivate even more reluctant learners to log on more.
Costumes and accessories are meaningful rewards to kids when they're coupled with earning points, coins, or whatever currency they're playing/learning for.
But they're more than an add-on, especially as the years go on.
Learning with avatars is more than skin deep
Kids can design their avatars as digital versions of themselves. I had the tendency to personalize my avatars' faces as "the best version of me," just like with my Yahoo email avatar.
They can also choose to step outside who they are when they're creating their virtual character. Making decisions as another character encourages freedom of expression, similar to the agency kids have to make choices when they play pretend.
I had more fun with my clothing and accessories. The more learning I logged, the more eccentric I dared myself to look.
With this super-version of me, it felt great to see my digital self earning points and leveling up my learning.
In a funny way, it was like my avatar allowed me to look myself in the mirror and pat myself on the back.
Bringing edtech user moments like this to our edtech jobs can impact how we show up at work.
Designing an avatar for your edtech job
You may think avatars are meant for kids. I see an opportunity to embrace them in your work. You can start by challenging yourself to think about them in a different way.
When you were a kid, your avatar could represent the best version of your natural self, or be someone totally different.
Now, you can choose to show up to work as the best version of your natural self. Or create an alter ego focused on bringing out the character traits you'd like to have in your job.
This adult avatar is no longer confined to a static image or 3D character that represented your kid self on a screen. Think of it as an evolving, personal project.
As a kid, you earned stars, points, or accessories for leveling up while using an edtech product.
Today, the rewards for showing up as your avatar are customized to what a reward looks like for you:
A sense of team bonding
Special project assignments
Boosted purpose in your role
Channel your edtech kid
Think about the times you used avatars in your play. Don't feel like you have to limit your experiences to education or edtech outlets.
Here's my personal shortlist if you're feeling stuck:
Barbie Girls Virtual World
The Sims FreePlay
Bratz: Girls Really Rock
The point of making this list is to be able to call out the memories and emotions that went along with designing and using these avatars.
With these feelings in mind, it's up to you to decide how you want to show up to work.
Because there's no reason you can't feel the same energy and sense of purpose you had creating your avatar, at your edtech job.
Find more ways to find your sense of purpose at work by subscribing to the Channel Your Edtech Kid monthly newsletter!