UPDATE: Tellagami no longer offers the text-to-speech or customization in the free app. You can read more about the Tellagami changes here.
I originally found the term “app-smashing” on TechChef4u. According to Lisa Johnson, the term was first coined by Greg Kulowiec, and she gives some great examples in her post, “App Synergy: The Art Form of App-Smashing.” I’ve been smashing apps for awhile – though I didn’t know that was what I was doing. When you use the iPad as a creation tool, it’s natural to begin combining apps in order to refine your creations. It’s rare to find one app that will meet all of your creative needs, and it’s fun to see the new ways to fuse different ones together. Last year, my students often used Puppet Pals, along with Aurasma, to create 2-d bulletin board presentations that morphed into 3-dimensional ones when scanned with an iDevice (see the post, “Misunderstood Monsters” for an example). When I learned this summer about the release of a free animation app called “Tellagami“, I saw immediately that it could be used in a similar manner to Puppet Pals. The fun twist to Tellagami is that it allows you to choose an avatar to speak for you. You can type the words, and select the person as well as the accent. I really don’t like speaking in front of groups. I know this sounds odd coming from a teacher, but I am much more intimidated by a congregation of adults who would prefer working in their classrooms to listening to me, than to an enthusiastic group of curious kids. So, I decided to enlist Tellagami to help me with a presentation that I needed to give to our staff. (As a side note, I used iMovie on my Mac at home to weave several Tellagami’s together.) Tellagami, like the all-access version of Puppet Pals, allows you to add your own backgrounds, and that is where I used TypeDrawing for one piece of the introductory video that I used.
I created an Aurasma scavenger hunt for the staff. They went around the school to find papers with images to scan. Each image triggered a new Tellagami video that give them a little bit of information about the GT program. (I would share the presentation with you, but it’s specific to our district’s GT program.) Tellagami videos can be saved to your Photos on your iPad. And, one easy way to get your images to use with Aurasma is to play your Tellagami (or any other) video, pause it, and take an iPad screen shot. You can even use the editing tool in Photos, then, to refine the image. Then, open your Aurasma app, match up the trigger image with the video, and you have a new “Aura.” Be sure all participants are following your Aurasma channel. Print out your Tellagami screen shots, and post them around the school if you are doing a scavenger hunt. I like to put some kind of title at the top of each paper, so people do not remove them accidentally, like, “This is for a GT Presentation, so please do not remove.” (If you are not familiar with using Aurasma, here is a basic introduction. Also, I have a Flipboard magazine on Augmented Reality in Education. You can search and subscribe on the Flipboard app, or you can access it on the web here.) I can’t wait to see how the students use Tellagami. What I like about the concept of app-smashing is that it really brings another level of problem solving into using the iPads. The students might want to do something with a particular app that does not have that feature, and they need to consider how to combine apps to achieve the result they desire. I added a bunch of “creation apps” to my iPad over the summer, and I am working on getting them organized so the kids can do some more app-smashing of their own!