Monday, July 14, 2014

Tellagami + Green Screen = World Adventure Story

One of the great things about an International School is that a class is made up of kids from all over the world. That gives a lot of opportunities for projects that wouldn't be possible in a more homogeneous learning environment.

A student of mine had to leave suddenly during the middle of the second semester this year. As a way to tell him we were thinking about him, we came up with the following digital story project. Here's an outline:

1) Our protagonist, Bonno, would travel around the world. He loves animals, so his mission would be to find the Liger- the big cat that's half lion, and half tiger. 

Not to be confused with a Tigon

2) The countries he visits as he tracks the liger are his classmates' home countries. In the case where his classmate has two or more nationalities, the child chooses one to feature.

3) Each chapter will be written by a new student, with their location being featured.

4) Our protagonist also likes hotdogs, so he should eat a hotdog in each place too.

5) Each student will need to talk to the person who is writing the chapter before him or her, and the person who is writing the next chapter, to make sure that the way our protagonist gets from place to place is consistent between chapters.

We used Google Drive to write each of our chapters, and then I formatted it into a digital book

Each child also drew a picture that we could insert in the digital movie version of the project. The picture had to do with their location somehow. For example, the Cheomseongdae Observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea:

Then we used the iPad app Tellagami to record our chapters. The students designed their characters and recorded their chapter. At the time Tellagami could only record 30 seconds of audio (A new update offers an in-app purchase that allows for 90 seconds of recording). So if the chapter took, say, two minutes to record, then the student had 4 Tellagami recordings.

The students made sure that the background of each Tellagami video was green, so that we could place the pictures we drew as part of the background.

Just paint the background green

Once all the chapters were recorded, I first tried to use the Green Screen app by Do Ink to fill in the background, but that app can only handle small projects and wasn't conducive to the 60 or so Tellagami clips that needed to be used to make the story.

So I went back to my old standby, iMovie. Now iMovie had a recent update to make it look more like Final Cut. But I didn't initially update my computer and everything went swimmingly. Then half way through editing I updated, and it's like my project gained 300 pounds. Edits were slow. I could only make about four or five before the whole thing crashed. So yeah, I'm not a big fan of the latest iMovie overhaul.

I added a little bit of music and some more pictures to match the story, and here it is: "Bonno's World Adventure" featuring 20 chapters, 19 locations, 11 countries, a liger, and a bunch of hotdogs and helicopters.

The project is similar to one I did for a leaving school director in that it tells a story through the students' own voices and features the countries that make up the class. I like Tellagami though because it's more of an animated cartoon of the student. It would be nice if Tellagami had more features to design a more personalized narrator. 

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