A Handful of Ideas for Using Tellagami In School

This first appeared as a guest post on FreeTech4Teachers. 

Tellagami has updated their app. You can now draw or doodle on the background.

Tellagami, a free iOS app that lets you create short animated movies called “Gamis,” is one of my new favorite animation apps to explore. Although the site promotes the app as a way to send greetings and messages for use within social media, I see it as a great tool in the classroom.

With Tellagami, begin by creating and customizing a character. Although there is not a great deal of variety in virtual appearance, just enough options exist to personalize your character. From there, you choose a background either from a few in the app itself or your camera roll. I love to take a picture at the front of the classroom and have my character introduce me to the class. I have worked with teachers where they introduce the classroom to students or parents with their character in different spots around the room, even on a bookshelf.

After you customize your character and background, you can choose how you want your character to talk, either by recording your voice or typing in text. If you record your voice, you have 30 seconds. If you choose text to speech, there are male and female voices with a few different accents.

Some quick ideas you might try:

  • Have your character tell a story.
  • Pick a person in history and have them introduce themselves
  • Use a plant cell as the background and have the avatar name and discuss the function of each part of the cell.
  • Recite a famous poem or speech
  • Read a poem they wrote
  • Take a trip or go back in time and describe where the location/time period
  • Speak in Spanish, French, Mandarin or any language

When you are all done, Gamis can be emailed, posted to Facebook, or Tweeted, which also generates a link to share. You can also view your movie online and get the embed code. I could see embedding a whole bunch of these on a class wiki or blog.

You can also save them to your iPad Photos, which is what I like to do. From there, Gamis can be combined together in iMovie or incorporated into other apps like Explain Everything. (Greg Kulowic has some great examples of this, as “appsmashes.”) Your only limit is your imagination!

Using animation with your students can have a profound effect on how they participate in a project. Their work can be liberated when they have the opportunity to separate themselves from the physical world, removing concerns about appearance and general physics. Students who are usually introverted tend to really shine with animation. It makes them feel safer and more willing to “put their work out there.” To quote one of their emails, “It’s Gamilicious!”

I will be presenting more about Tellagami and other apps at the Boston and San Diego iPad Summits.

Thank You

I admit I have been staying away from my blog to focus on my grad work and work for my school. There are just not enough hours in the day. Even today, I have spent the entire weekend working on grad work and creating materials and signs for the opening of the “classroom of the future” I have been working on for the past two years. (Grand-opening this week.)

Needless to say I have taken on so much and I really think, if I let it, burn-out could rear its ugly head. This article describes pretty accurately some of the stresses in teaching: Why is teaching so stressful? Also, the current climate in NJ has not been very kind to teachers. I see colleagues at both ends of their careers leaving teaching and it saddens me. I try to find inspiration when I can. Today I got a good shot in the arm…

I just left RadioShack. I needed three wires to finish off connecting the SmartBoard and projector to a single computer. I was not quite sure what I needed. I spoke with the young man at the counter and we looked over the VGA wires and a converter. After explaining what I was doing, we settled on 4 items totaling over $120. I told him I needed to walk around the store to think about it, because I really did not want to spend my own money and I was not very sure about the possibility of being reimbursed.

I walked around for a few minutes and decided to get the wires. As I was paying for them the young man turns to me and says, “Well if no one else appreciates it, I do. Thank you.” I told him he made my day.

Thank you can be so powerful

So to all of my friends and colleagues who are teachers:
Teacher appreciation week is upon us this week. Don’t forget to acknowledge that what we do is not just for a paycheck. We do it because we make a difference. For many of us teaching is not just a career, but a life. Appreciate what you do, find inspiration where you can and thank you.

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