App Smashing using Talking Faces
I was watching my daughter play on the iPad awhile back and she was using one of those talking apps. These are the kind that let you use the microphone to talk and a character will mouth your words. Meanwhile, I was in the middle of playing with one of my iMovie projects on my iPad. My project was using primary sources for a Jamestown video. Along with primary sources, I was using the video camera to record people dressed as historical figures like John Smith. But this got me thinking... "these remind me of those silly JibJab videos. Can I customize this by adding historical people using this app instead?" And that's just what I did - some App Smashing
This idea of taking one application and using using it with another is called "App Smashing" . There are tons of possibilities once you start thinking about mixing tools together. Here is a post all about why you would want to App Smash from ipad4schools.org and check out their list of:
Reasons to App Smash
Now, back to Talking Faces.
There are several apps out there, Face Talk, My Talking Pet, and others but my favorite is called Chatter Pix.
"Simply take any photo, draw a line to make a mouth, and record your voice. Then share your Pix with friends and family as silly greetings, playful messages, or creative cards. And best of all, it’s FREE!"
Its a fun and easy to use app - All you have to do is upload an image, draw a line where the mouth is and then narrate. Its only on iOs for now but an Android app is being released soon. To make this more than just a fun experience though try having your students work on their reading and fluency by having them make characters talk. These can be fictional characters or people from the past.
So, back to my Primary Sources Project. I found a high resolution picture of John Smith, wrote a little script from his perspective and recorded it. Then I saved the video to my Camera Roll, brought it into iMovie and then added it to my timeline. Bam, John Smith is now alive and well and talking about life back in Jamestown.
I have had kids "act out" as historical characters in the past and although that went well there were always some students who had reservations and nervousness. This new technique was a lot of fun though. It ended up as a fun alternative of having students be the actors and there was that great combination of laughter and learning. I liked how the students worked and re-worked not only their "script" which was based off of primary sources, but really tried to get the tone of Smith as well.
Here is a link to some quotes from John Smith
Plus here is the resource "Work or Starve" from Teacher Created Materials (grade level apx 3rd-5th) which we had students use to create both learn about Jamestown colony and the life of John Smith
Here are some famous images that may give you a start at looking for ideas for your project. When looking for images for doing these try to get an image from straight on, not a profile, where you can clearly see the mouth line.
When you start looking for images to use, most of you will start with doing a Google Images search. This is a good place to start but there are other options as well (check out my earlier post about finding images on Flickr)
Here are a few tips when searching for Google Images. Did you know about using the SEARCH TOOLS feature? This allows you to easily refine your search. These tools show up for regular searches, images, news and more. When doing an image search you may want to change what you search for by SIZE - COLOR - TYPE - TIME - USAGE RIGHTS. This will allow you change the results you get back in search.
Look at the example below to see how I modified a search for JFK to refine it by CHOOSING LARGE RESOLUTION and FACE. This gave me a different set of results, more of ones which I would want to use for this type of project.
Just read this following blog post from Amy Burvall the day after I posted mine. In her post she has a similar theme but shown app called Motion Portrait (iPhones only). What I like about her idea is to have a student created artwork come alive. Thanks for sharing Amy your Frankenstein Experiment idea!
Sticking with my Jamestown theme, I used this app to make Capatin John Smtih read a quote. Check out the video here
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