With just 2 apps students can create books that come to life
Ed. note: This post is one in a series that will explore how to AppSmash with a core set of Evergreen Apps.
AppSmashing — the process of combining multiple apps to create new multimedia content — encourages more creative use of mobile devices and allows teachers to gain insights into student thinking and understanding. When students make their thinking visible through multimedia creation, they practice critical thinking and communication skills and demonstrate understanding of curriculum content.
Evergreen Apps are non-subject specific apps that can be used in a wide range of classrooms across varied grade levels and disciplines. An Evergreen App enables communication and expression in multiple ways, such as through handwriting, typing, audio, video, and animation. An effective Evergreen App is not only flexible, it’s also intuitive. It’s the type of app that students can use quickly and easily.
This series of articles will provide opportunities to AppSmash with different media, such as audio, video, and images, as well as multimedia presentations, green-screen technology, stop-action animation, and more. The articles will focus on the ability of students to create multimedia content that showcases their learning through a performance or demonstration of understanding.
Two apps, many possibilities
Powerful Evergreen Apps strike a great balance between flexibility and ease of use, and Book Creator is deservedly recognized as one of the most versatile and intuitive Evergreen Apps available.
For use with an iPad as well as Android, and Windows devices, Book Creator facilitates the creation of multimedia books, reports, stories, and many other variations of written, visual, and audio communication. With Book Creator, students and teachers can easily incorporate handwriting, typing, shapes, voice, music, interactive images, and video. For instance, with Book Creator, students can record their voice directly into a page and, for instance, comment on the images, shapes, audio, or video on that particular page. Students can also insert video directly into a page and turn text and images into hyperlinks to Web content. The finished project can be exported and shared and students could combine their books. (A quick video tutorial is available online).
But while Book Creator has a wonderful of array of built-in tools, it cannot facilitate all creative multimedia possibilities by itself. Yet, one can easily smash content from other apps into a Book Creator project. One of the more popular apps to smash with Book Creator is Tellagami.
Next page: Lesson ideas when appsmashing
Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch,Tellagami enables students to create speaking avatars. In Tellagami, you begin by selecting a male or female character and move through a range of customization options, changing his or her clothing, facial expression, size, skin tone, and more. A student can then add her a voice to the character — for up to 30 seconds in the free version. Students can create any number of “Gamis” — those short audio-visual messages — and each Gami can be saved on the iPad and later uploaded into another app or otherwise exported.
Importantly, a student can add almost any background image for the speaking avatar. Tellagami provides free background images, but any image that resides on the iPad in use can be pulled into Tellagami. (Students and teachers can save images directly from the web onto their iPad.) So, for instance, a student could create a Gami with a background picture of a historic site and talk about that site.
In another example, a student might incorporate an image from a market scene and describe what is sold at a the market using varied descriptive adjectives. The student might incorporate an image from a park or office and describe the surroundings.
A Tellagami speaking avatar can be moved and resized by simply pinching the avatar or moving your finger around the screen. In one clever use of Tellagami and Book Creator, students worked in pairs to develop a book where an avatar on one page was facing in the opposite direction — as if they were speaking to someone on the opposite page. Both avatars had the same background image, so it appeared as if they were in the exact same place and engaging in a conversation. As one flips the pages of the book, the avatars are positioned in different background images and the result is an extended story about their locations and interactions.
Multiple students might also each create a Gami of a different historic site and then all Gamis could be smashed into a single Book Creator project for a class presentation on, say, the ancient world. (Though workflow scenarios differ, students and teachers might use a web-storage platform like Google Drive or Dropbox to share content, or use AirDrop on an iPad.) In science class, students might use Tellagami and Book Creator to create a presentation on animals or flora and fauna. Students in math class might use Tellagami and Book Creator to create a presentation on geometric shapes found in architecture.
In all, appsmashing Tellagami and Book Creator is a strategy to enhance the creative possibilities of a single Evergreen App and simultaneously enable students to express what they know in different ways. As educators, we instinctively know that if we vary opportunities for students to demonstrate what they understand, we will glean greater insights into student understanding and thinking.
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