Hook Your Students Through Video App Smashing

I am always looking for new ways to “hook” students and make them excited about learning a new topic or unit. As the school year is coming closer to beginning, my colleague and I were brainstorming ideas about how to introduce Spanish class. At our school, when students enter grade four, it’s their first year of taking Spanish, which in itself is exciting enough. Normally, I show a little powerpoint, but thought this year creating a video would be more intriguing.

I used four apps to make the video, which initially took about two hours, but I’m hoping over time will become less. I’m sure the students could have made it much quicker than I did! Here are the apps I used:

1) Tellagami: This is a free app that allows you to design your background and character, and record up to 30 secs of either your voice or text. It is very user friendly! This app was used at the last scene in my video.

2) Puppet Pals 2: The version I used is free, so is limited to selective scenes, characters, and props, but it is optional to upgrade. This app allows users to choose a scene and character, and manipulate the character’s moves throughout the scenery, while simultaneously recording your voice.

3) Explain Everything: This app is $2.99, but well worth the price. I was able to import my previously created videos, and add specific props/pictures that I wasn’t able to add in the other apps. This app is capable of doing so much more than I used it for, so definitely challenge your students with this one.

4) iMovie: The price for this app is $4.99, or free to new iPad users (I believe this is free as a package on all the new iPad 5s). Through this app, I compiled all of my clips to make one coherent and fluid movie.

From this video, it’s clear that I am an amateur, but through making it, I came to the realization that the capabilities with app smashing and the abilities of our tech-savvy students, is a recipe for greatness!

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Tellagami: The Voice of Reason

Recently, I had my students use the app Tellagami to complete an assignment and was blown away by their abilities and the ease of use of the app. For those of you who don’t know Tellagami, it’s an app where you create an avatar, design their hair, clothes, etc…, as well as the background. You have the option to type in your text and choose a voice, or can use your own personal voice. Here’s a few reasons why everyone needs this app for their students:

1) It’s free!! It will cost you nothing and the abilities are endless.
2) The ease of use is amazing and is intuitive to the kids. I pulled out the iPads, told my students to click on the app, and the worked away on their assignments.
3) It saves to your camera roll so you can easily upload into another platform, or use in another program.
4) It’s a great way to provide students with a way to express themselves, especially for the more introverted students.
5) Although the app is limited to 30 seconds, it does require the students to be precise in their explainations. They must be straight and to the point!

My student’s assignment was to explain the difference between transparent, translucent, and opaque objects. Here are two examples of the work they completed:

I think this app could be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. Besides having the students explain what they’ve learned in another way, it could be used as an activity it to provide feedback on reading (i.e. if you had them focus on expression), and could also be used to combined several Tellagamis together to create an iMovie. Here’s an example:

If you haven’t checked it out, or are unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend trying Tellagami with your students today, and would love to hear of other ways that you use it in your classroom.