Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tellagami is Super Cool!

My colleague Kris Gordon introduced me to an amazing app the other day, and I haven't stopped thinking about its classroom applications since. Tellagami is a super-simple animation app for the iOS that allows users to create 30 second videos in which an avatar they create stands in front of a background of their choice and speaks.

Each step of the creation process is very simple, yet there is a surprising range of versatility built into the process as well. Here is an example:

I created this animation in a series of steps:

First, I created my avatar. I had the choice between a male or female avatar, and I had several options in terms of skin color, eye color, hair color and style, and clothing. I also discovered that I could move my avatar on the screen, resize the avatar with pinch and stretch motions, and turn the avatar by swiping.

Next, I added emotion. This was useful as I chose the "happy" option, since my avatar was going to be located in the "Happiest Place on Earth." I liked the silly and surprised options as well. I definitely recommend playing around with this, as the avatar's expressions change as it speaks.

Third, I selected my background. I really like this feature. I had the option of selecting from my camera roll, taking a photo, or using one of the in-app options. I liked how the in-app options looked more cartoon-y to match the avatar, but I wanted a Disney location. To solve this, I brought one of my Disney photos into another favorite app (BeFunky) and added some filters. Then I added the cartoon-y photo to my camera roll. I also discovered that I could re-size and move the background using similar gestures as the ones I used to design my avatar.

Once I had my avatar all set up in front of the background, I recorded my voice. The app gives me the option of either recording my voice or typing in text. When I used the text feature, the results were what you would expect from an artificial voice, good but not great. Once I hit the record button, I had a 30 second recording window represented by a countdown. It took me a few tries to get the feel for recording, so I appreciated the ability to review and re-record.

Finally, I shared my Tellagami via the share screen. I had the option to text, email or share my Tellagami through Twitter or Facebook. When I shared it through email and text, I received a unique URL from which to view the animation. From there, I also had the option to copy the URL or get the embed code.

I like this app because it is so easy to use, and because I was able to create a quick animation with impressive results in a very short timeframe.

I could imagine teachers using this app to have students capture and show learning anywhere. For example, it would be easy for a student to take a picture of a lion on a field trip to the zoo, create an avatar of themselves explaining what they learned about lions, and share that avatar with the teacher. The teacher could then share those impressions on a class website.

Most importantly, this app is free and does not require a login. I encourage you to check it out, and let me know what great classroom applications you find for it.