We’re all looking for new ways to give students a voice. Whether we want students to share their ideas, demonstrate their learning, or tell their stories, giving students the opportunity to practice communication skills in multiple formats is essential in the Digital Age. One tool that is particularly versatile and student-friendly is Tellagami, a free animation app for Apple iOS Devices.

How to Create a Gami

Creating a gami is super easy. Even very young students should be able to make one without too much trouble. You can use this link to access an ICATS post that describes the procedures for creating videos with Tellagami.

Here are a few links to posts that share ideas for using Tellagami in the classroom:

A Few More Resources:

Even if you don’t have an iOS or Android device, there are still plenty of tools to enable Digital Storytelling. Check out our Digital Storytelling Tools page to find even more resources for your classroom. You can also check out this blog post for more ideas related to Digital Storytelling in the classroom. If you have an iPad, you might also want to check out Puppet Pals which is another great storytelling tool.

Your Challenge

  1. If you have an iOS or Android device, download and check out Tellagami.
  2. If you do not have an iOS or Android device, check out one of the many free Digital Storytelling Web Tools at this link.
  3. Once you have explored one of these tools, please share in the comments below how you have used this tool or how you imagine you could use this tool in the classroom.
  4. Above and Beyond: If you are so moved, feel free to share your ideas about how the tool you select could be used in the classroom through the tool you selected. Simply create your Tellagami or other Digital Story and then share the link to it in the comments below.

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  1. I am going to try telegami on my own personal ipad with my students. We have used an app in the past that allows students to create, move, narrate, and view a story mountain. It’s very easy for a group of two third graders to do and it allows my hesitant writers show the skill of story telling even if it is not hand written.

  2. Telegami has many possibilities!

    1. A teacher could create one as an introduction to a lesson. Since you can upload your own photos, the possibilities are endless! What a great way to introduce a social studies or history lesson!
    2. Teachers could also use the app on iPads for students to create their own Telegami’s. Again students could create fictional stories, tell about a geographical location, present a written report, etc..
    3. This app could allow for collaboration on these projects as well. As a group, students could research a topic, write a speech, type it into the app, create the Telegami, and share it with their class/parents/teacher/principal/etc.
    4. Sharing Telegamis open up possibilities for pen pals in other schools as well.

    Here’s a quick one I put together: https://tellagami.com/gami/43LU08/

  3. There are so many wonderful storytelling tools out there! Unfortunately I’m not in a 1:1 school and not all of my students have access to technology but if they did I would love to use VOKI in my Spanish classes. When I do assign projects, I do give them the option to create it digitally on Prezi, Alice 2.0 and other programs/apps.

  4. I could spend hours looking at these. I chose the Voki simply because it did what I needed it to do. I wanted to have our students write a story from the turkey’s point of view and the Voki had a talking turkey. You are welcome to see the one I made at http://bit.ly/HJDVR7. In the past, I used the ginger bread man to do the same point of view activity. I really liked Tellagami and I think I will use it with my high school students to do an activity digital footprints. I can’t wait to look at the others. The only bad part is this was day 2 and I’m already needing to stop and play longer.

  5. I just created my first gami! I just sent a gami, with a teaching idea I recorded, to a long distant friend that is also a teacher. What a great way to share ideas among teaching friends.

  6. As a counselor, I struggle with incorporating technology with everyday issues that arise with students. Tellagami would allow students to communicate problems in a non-threatening venue.

  7. I love Tellagami for fun and for the classroom. I think it could be useful for students with Autism to create social stories.

  8. What a great way to get students to talk (in my case speak German). I have used Animoto before, but the 30 second time limit did not work, so I’m excited to check out the other options. My students really enjoy the digital storytelling.

  9. One component of my program is two 20-minute blocks of mandatory choice-reading time. I’ve been trying to get some of my active readers to book-talk the novels that they love in the hopes of generating enthusiasm, but many have been reluctant to present in front of the class. Tellagami might be a more creative, less intimidating outlet for them to do this, especially when they have the flexibility to create a “gami” that resembles the character.

  10. This is my first attempt and I like this app! I can see it being used for short book talks and even instructions for a task. https://tellagami.com/gami/DHZ2CM/ I think creating these could be addictive! I think my students will like it as a method to participate and show creativity in a new way.

  11. I love the tellagami site. I think it’s a great way for kids to give book talks or short intros for presentations. They love it!

  12. I like Tellagami. It seems like a quick and easy way to create an engaging video for others to view. I could certainly incorporate this in my Spanish classroom for an in-class or homework speaking assignment. Being a huge fan of learning language through storytelling, I’ve played with Voki, Google Voice, StoryBird, Pinnacle Studio and many others to tell stories. My students write them, share and collaborate in them using shared Google Docs, too. Storytelling is a great way to get repetitions and practice in a new language.

  13. I can see this app as a wonderful tool for those students that are fearful of speaking in front of a group. I can also see it used as a creative way to do reports on famous people, explorers, book characters, etc. A student could create the character and do the report as the character. Very interesting!

  14. I can definitely see Tellagami being used in Social Studies. I think the tool could be used as a way to gain students’ attention to introduce new material. Even on a geography assessment, I could have an image of the content in the background while asking the informative question. Previously, I completed Photo Story projects which students’ enjoyed the personal touch to the content.(Some did not like hearing their voice) The only problem I ran into when recording (which could happened with Tellagami) was back ground noise. Overall, great tool and looking forward to try it out.

  15. I have used other avatar based programs. I like the 30 second limit on Tellagami. This makes the students really have to think hard to be concise to get their point across. I could see using this to retell a story or give the main idea at any grade level. My second graders are using My Story Maker to create stories and love the little Avatar characters they get to pick. I know they will love making one with their own voice. Students who are shy can really shine with the use of avatars. Tellagami was very simple to use. I will definitely be adding this to my list of projects for all my grade levels if all of the grades don’t get to it this year next year for sure. I could also see my Tellagami introducing a topic instead of me or using as a bell ringer teller.

  16. I was not able to download the Tellagami app, but I did check out some of the other digital storytelling sites. I signed up for the free trial of Animoto due to a great review from another participant. I have been approved, but have not created anything yet. I also checked out Dvolver Movie Maker. It was okay, but I was most impressed with Go!Animate for schools. I enjoyed this site because it animated the dialog for you. (Plus my students are obsessed with the British accents!) I just created a short, but humorous demo movie for my classes about the importance of filling out their agendas. The message was received much more enthusiastically than hearing me tell them something they have heard me say 1000 times before. The students were raving at how “cool” it was and asking if they could create one of their own. I will definitely use this in my upcoming lessons! We usually make a flyer/poster for a dance, but now I think we’ll make a commercial/digital story instead!

    I will also be passing the digital storytelling website list around to my Language Arts department! Thanks for the great resources!

  17. I think this would be a great tool to use when you have a sub. You could leave a message for the students, or even a reminder to behave. I also think it would be a good presentation tool for a research project. For example, if studying biomes or land forms, students could use a background showing their research topic.

  18. This could be a great tool to use in my reading and social studies classes; however, because my students are Deaf, adding vocals always presents a challenge. I am trying to find out if there was a way to add closed captioning to Gamis. I want to look into seeing if I can use this with my Snagit/Comtasia programs. I want to be able to imbed a video of either me interpreting the vocals or my students signing the vocal parts. any suggestions?

    • I would think that the Camtasia solution could work pretty well. You could record the gami with Camtasia and record your signing live, or you could add captions in editing. I can help you with that if you need:)

  19. I finally had a minute to sit down and play! I tried out the Tellagami app as well as the online version of Creaza. This entire challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been working with a teacher this week who wants to use an app for a project. She’s had some of her gifted 5th graders reading Greek myths and wants them to create some type of digital storytelling that would point out specific story elements. I can’t wait to show her these. Creaza even has characters and settings that relate to Greek history! Perfect!

  20. I created a Gami to start a lab my students are doing tomorrow. It ‘s just a short introduction, but I got enough practice that I can do it again. It was quite easy.

        • Any ideas why I can’t get the Gami at school? I went home and got right on. At school it just tries to load . .and load . . and nothing happens.

          • Mary,
            Your schools internet filter is likely to blame. School filters categorize websites and then block certain categories. Often blogging, social media, and game websites are not passed through the school filter. If your school has a way to report websites that are educationally useful, you could request that the Tellagami site be opened. Otherwise if you have a smartphone that could access cellular data networks like AT&T or Verizon that would work as well.

  21. I don’t have an Ipad and neither do my students, so I looked at the list of digital storytelling tools listed for PCs. I tried fodey.com. It is really easy, and I think students would have fun using fodey. It is quick and easy to create something. The newspaper clipping would be a great way to do a quick summary or thoughts about the learning for the day, a digital version of an exit ticket. I also created an animated owl gif where I could add text. I downloaded and posted the picture to My Big Campus, but the text was a little blurry and sort of hard to read.

  22. Once you leave the iPad app, how do you access your previous Gami projects? I could not find a way using the iPad app.

    • Alicia,
      This is a good point!. I share the Gami’s with myself in an email so that I have a link for them in the future. You cannot use the app to go back and find them. At least not that I know of.

  23. Here is a link for my first attempt with a Gami: https://tellagami.com/gami/DASRUG/

    Right now, I have lost my voice, so the typing feature is good. I can definitely see this appealing to high school students in a variety of settings..whether I’m the center of pushing the project at hand or even when students create their own reviews/critiques.

    Thank you!

  24. I really enjoyed playing around with this app! I looked at this from a different perspective then in the classroom setting. Rather, I approached the idea from an open house standpoint with a gami highlighting different areas of our school. I love an earlier idea of tying a QR code to the gami as well!

  25. Using this in a kindergarten class at the beginning of the day to introduce the lesson and at the end of the day to reinforce what was learn would be a great addition to any lesson plan. The kids would love it!

  26. I would like to use tellagami to do some review or possibly to have students teach each other a new concept, however due to the lack of iPads, I don’t know that I would be able to do much with it now. It will defiantly be a program I will keep in mind for future use though. A web based version would be great.

  27. Disappointed with the performance of the Tellagami, I was really looking forward to trying this out.
    It’s not compatible with the desktop,
    Phone and Kindle doesn’t support it, Nook freezes when trying to download.
    On the portable devices, I couldn’t find the app looking for it in the store,
    I had to use the ICATS link on their page

    Other Programs used:
    Animoto-I had my 8th graders create an Animoto for each chapter in a 6th grade reading book, then I sent the links to the 6th grade teachers. The intent was for these to be used as an preview or review for each chapter. My goal is make a Animoto for each book throughout the next 2 years.

    StoryBird-I have used this for 2 projects-Last year, I paired my students up-Student 1 picked the pictures and then Student 2 wrote the story. The students were directed not to discuss either part of the project with each other until we reviewed them as a class-We had very interesting conversations during the review as we found out what the illustrator was thinking when he chose the pictures and what the author thought when she was writing based on the pictures. I limited the pictures to a cover plus 5 pages. A lot of the students asked for a 6th or 7th page to make the story flow more.

    This year, I had the kids choose the pictures and write their own story. They were allowed a cover and 5 to 9 additional pages. Doing it this way, did not seem as enjoyable as the first way.

    Voki-I didn’t see this on the list but I use this as an intro to the class. I have the kids create a Voki to represent themselves with at least 4 facts that they want to share. For me, this is a quick way to get to know some of the kids and have get to know each other.

  28. This would be a great tool to use for students to take what they read in a story or novel and create a character that they imagine the book character to look like or say in real life. It would be interesting to see how different students imagine the character looking. I think it would also be fun to use it for directions or key information so they student sees/hears someone besides the teacher. I’m also thinking it would be neat to try with clues as a scavenger hunt for a faculty activity.

  29. I instantly thought of using this with special needs students who need aural directions but are also visual. I know this would grab the attention of several students I worked with last year. This would also be amazing for short directives during class or station time. The students see and hear someone which frees up the teacher!

    • I’ve been really impressed with all the ideas that have arisen around differentiation with this tool. I think it speaks to the flexibility of the tool that it can be purposed to so many different tasks and audiences.

  30. My students read their choice of fiction, autobiographies, and biographies as independent reading assignments throughout the year.I’m always looking for new ways for them to show what they know about their books. Last year, another teacher showed me Fakebook where students can create “Facebook” pages about the main characters or subjects of their books. Looking over the web tools for teachers linked here, I found Creaza an online tool that creates cartoons and digital stories. I’ll be adding Creaza to my list of creativity tools for students to use.

  31. Telegrami seems like a really fun way to tell stories. My 5th graders were just writing some very vivid narratives and the voice over features along with a visual representation would have been as much fun to make as it would be to watch.

  32. I am excited to use this with my ENL students– especially students who are shy of talking. Students can take time to write and rewrite and then the program can do the talking. This could also be a lot of fun for teaching pronunciation. I teach English through the core content of Social Studies, so we could use this to present arguments, explain timelines, and all sorts of other things.

    • There’s another great idea that I hadn’t considered. I really like the idea of students writing out the text and then listening to the avatar speak it. It might help students discern when the language sounds right and when it sounds wonky.

  33. Without an Android or iOS device I am unable to download Tellagami unfortunately as this seems like a very cool tool to use in the classroom. However, as a Social Studies teacher, I have used Fakebook, Storify and Pixton in my classroom to teach about specific personalities and events in history. These resources have gone over very well in my classroom and I love using them for extension activties. If Tellagami were available on the computer, I would use this resource in a heartbeat.

  34. This is Kelley from ECS. I love this idea! I have used goanimate.com, and it is lots of fun, but it takes more time to create. I love how easy this is to use. I will definitely have my Spanish students create characters to share what they have learned. I know they’ll love it!

  35. OOO! I like it!

    There is this thing called a Voki (http://www.voki.com/) that is very similar. This one doesn’t use your voice though.

    I could see this being used as a introduction to class/bellringer/warm up. Sometimes you can say something over and over and the kids barely listen, but have the computer speak to them? All eyes and ears on the computer!

  36. My name is Melinda and I teach Music And art. I can see using this app for design. I can see using the microphone feature in having the students sing into it and making their character sing a song, so they can hear themselves and hear how they grow through the year in their voice. I can also see them drawing a picture for their background and uploading it to use for that day’s story.
    I would like to show my teachers this to use as a tool for writing. I think that if a student is stuck on characters, setting, or an idea they could go to their character, and describe a situation for that day. It is something new, and would be exciting for the kids to use.

      • Reading fluency, multiplication and other facts, skip counting, spelling homework verbally, oral reports for people that are shy :)

  37. I am the technology coordinator, so I will pass this along to the teachers. Within the next few months, the teachers will be receiving IPADs. We will also be purchasing IPADs for the students.
    I can see many teachers using this: The resource teacher using it for review for students. History for telling the story of the Civil War. Math for review problems, and teaching new concepts. The uses for this are endless,

  38. I may try using this when we read Hunger Games in a few months. I do a lot of work with characterization in my basic reading skills classes, so I could have students create a Gami for one of the characters in the novel. They could demonstrate understanding of characters by talking from the character’s perspective. I’m going to put this on my website right now!

    • I got the same error message tonight, but when I clicked on it a second time, it worked. I had to go through that process each time I tried something new.

    • It is worth mentioning that every school district filters information a little differently on the web. The primary tools given in the challenge are open on our filter, but if you are having difficulty, you may need to talk with your district’s IT department about unblocking the site, or work from a smartphone or home network.

      Glad you were able to get Tellegami unblocked!

  39. Turns out our school labeled it as games. It is unlocked now and the students are using it. They are having fun with it. Can’t wait to see their projects.
    Tracy Speer-Horn

  40. This would be a great tool to use in the library! This could allow me to be “two places at once.” I could make a Tellagami booktalk and then shoot that out to teachers via email/web link. Then they could show the booktalk to the class. Great for those days when I’m too busy to be all over the place!

  41. Although I am not in the classroom, I am always looking for great tools to share and I like this one! I also use Animoto, it is easy to use and share.

  42. I teach high school science and I think I would like to use Tellagammi as a way for students to review for a test. The assignment would be to create Gammi about a topic from the unit by either assigning them the topic or allowing them to choose. They could incorporate pictures of diagrams, notes, or whatever else that would help as backgrounds and have their character explain the topic. Then use the Gammis in class for the review for the whole group.

    You could also have them research a topic and have them choose if they would like to give a live presentation or use a digital storytelling program. At some point though, they do need to learn the personal communication skills needed to present in front of a group. But if the objective is to present information, then this is a fun alternative for those that are more introverted!

  43. Just completed my Gammi. The kids liked it. I think the Creaza Cartoonist would be neat to use in the class also. Students might find writing stories more interesting using cartoons. They could create the story and add the words to write their story.
    I could also see using the Tellagammi app as a fun way to check students reading fluency. They could record themselves reading a passage and submit it to me. I can’t wait to check out the other options listed as well later on.

  44. After checking out the links to this technology, I am wanting to use it right now! My class just started a new advertisement project that would be a great way to incorporate this tool in the classroom. They could create short commerials highlighting the product they are selling. I also emailed the Spanish teacher the link to the project where the avatar gives the weather forcast in Spanish. My biggest problem right now is I can’t get on the website to create my own project. Don’t know if the problem is here at my school or with the site. ugggh!

  45. This would be great in the classroom! Students can retell stories and even respond to what they read. The emotions you can add can help relate tone and mood and you can even customize backgrounds. It is also great for coaches! check out my gami: https://tellagami.com/gami/MA546F/

    Other great ones if you have an iOS device are Skitch, by Evernote. Kids can draw and create and it records their voice. Like tellagami, it can be emailed. Toontastic is also great (and both are free) and even uses the vocabulary of the plot pyramid! And its so easy my 4-year-old nephew figured it out.

    Don’t have an iOS? Try Powtoons. One of our teachers uses it to not only retell stories, but also to tell original stories that have similar themes. you can also use it for anti-themes and characterization and mood and tone and plot development and genres, shwoo! These types of online learning tools can help you go beyond the frist level of learning and hit that DOK level 4 and level 6 of Bloom’s! Because they can be shared, students can critique and evaluate and well as come together as a class to synthesize and find those common theme amoung everyone’s stories.

    Tellagami is nice because you can reach that non-fiction genre and make presenting awesome. No more taking three class days to present!

    BTW, just tested my Gravatar from yesterday… sweet

  46. As a technology integration specialist this is a great tool that I will definitely share with my teachers. We will be getting IPads for the entire school next year and I am sure that this app will spread quickly. For now my IPad pilots will love to use this app. I have a teacher who likes to do a lesson on idioms. In the past she used xtranormal videos. Tellagami will allow the students to limit the amount of time they write their idiom story. Also xtranomral has been under construction for a while.

  47. I have used Animoto several times. Our corporation recently went 1:1 with Chromebooks and it was super easy to create a “do’s and don’ts” video of simple Chromebook care. Animoto has tons of choices for themes and gives you the ability to upload your own songs into the videos. I highly recommend it.

  48. This is a great idea. I like to have my seniors video record a response to what we are reading, but some are hesitant to do so. They don’t like to see themselves and don’t do the assignment. I have tried other options for them to do a video response without using their own image, but this might be a nice bridge for them since they can use their phone. I plan on trying this on my next video assignment. Thanks for sharing!

    • I agree. There is something less threatening about using an avatar. Still, when I used to do podcasting, I still had some students who were uncomfortable even recording their voice. I wonder about that. In those cases, do we differentiate for those students, or is the experience of know how to record/create digitally important enough to require?

    • Tellagami would be perfect in that instance. In fact, there are actual companies using Tellagami to promote items. Plus, the 30 second limit is perfect for teaching kids to be concise in their pitch.

    • Hadn’t thought about it this way- I could also use it in Business Math when teh students make commercials about banking online. Thanks

  49. I will add this to my list of Digital Story Telling ideas for our Geometry Logic Book project at the high school level. I already send them to the list of Digital Story Telling Ideas and others but this would add a new charter to them telling their conditional statement logic book project. Other ways a math teacher might use this would be for the students to explain how to do a problem in their own words through the character at tellagami.

    • Love that idea:) I could also imagine having students take photos of geometric shapes in architecture for the background of a gami and having their character explain the relevance of the image they chose to a problem they are solving.

  50. I have used My Story Maker in my classroom this year. I teach 7th grade, so I wasn’t sure at first if the students would think the program was “cool” enough. It turns out they absolutely loved it! We have already created at least 3 different stories this year, and they have asked that we do more. I have used this program to teach story elements, including plot development. They have created stories individually and with groups. I have noticed that when they work in groups, they are actively engaged in conversations about the content of their story. They know that they have to include certain elements and they are working together to make sure that they have the best possible story.

    • I think part of the engagement you mentioned comes from the potential of an authentic audience. I noticed that my students would be far more engaged with the process of writing when their product could live online or in a new digital form. Do you have a link to one of your stories that could be shared?

  51. I am thinking about using Tellagami in my 7th grade music class as a way to help teach music fundamentals. It may be just the distraction they need in order to understand the content.

    • Cool! One of the things I like about Tellagami is that it fits into any curriculum. What would a Tellagami assignment around music fundamentals look like? I’d love to see that and know how it turns out.

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