Review by Kim Alessi, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2012
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Fotobabble

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Talking photo-maker a powerful storytelling tool; not so private

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Teachers say (4 Reviews)
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Grades
6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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5 images

Pros: It's easy to use, versatile, and has great classroom potential for digital storytelling.

Cons: Teens can easily share content to any social media network directly from the app or accompanying website.

Bottom Line: Powerful media-creation tool makes "talking photos" that can creatively support teens' learning goals.

Under a teacher account, let kids create a Fotobabble instead of an old-school class photo. English teachers could assign each kid to pick a literary quote or passage that best describes them; foreign language teachers might ask for a simple description in Spanish or French.

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Fotobabble is a media-creation tool for mobile devices that allows teens to add original narrative to individual photos for digital storytelling. Teens use their in-app camera to take a pic or import one from their camera roll, customize it using the app's photo editor, and then record 30 seconds to 5 minutes of narrative into the device's microphone to make a "talking photo." 

Fotobabble connects to an auto-generated web account so teens can create, edit, share, and access their creations on a computer, too. Creations default to public on a Fotobabble account but can be made private in account settings. Teens can easily share Fotobabble creations through Facebook, Twitter, email, and text message. Support is located at the app's settings button, which links to the developer's website containing video tutorials and helpful FAQs.

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Kids can learn how to use spoken language to narrate photos using this relatively simple app. Whether it's ad-libbed or scripted, the app's spoken narrative acts as a verbal caption for users' photos. Fotobabble creations take just a few simple steps to make; add a couple more steps if you want to take advantage of the fun in-app editing tools, effects, and themes. Though Fotobabble doesn't provide guidance or feedback on specific learning goals, the app offers teens a creative tool to document life and make original talking photos. Teens learn to communicate visually (by selecting photos) and with language (by providing a narrative of their photo). Fotobabble creations empower teens because they're easy to make and share, and because they're relevant to their own lives and interests.

The coolest thing about Fotobabble is its in-app photo editor, which lets teens add effects, themes, frames, stickers, and text to images, crop and reorient images, fix redeye, blemishes and whiten teeth, and modify an image's overall brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness. Whew! On the other hand, recording narrative can be a little tricky - first, avoid getting "into the red" on the app's VU meter, otherwise the recording will be distorted. Second, be sure your device's auto-lock feature is turned off or set beyond the app's recording time, otherwise it'll shift into auto-lock mode and stop recording audio.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Who loves taking pics on mobile devices? Teens. They'll go wild here, sharing creations via email and across social media networks, and they'll enjoy the snazzy photo editing options too.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Teens can explore photography and informative, demonstrative, entertaining, even persuasive speech, to guide their stories for talking photos. Visual and verbal skills are definitely transferrable skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Email support is available in-app. There's also an in-app link to tutorial videos (including one in Spanish) and helpful FAQs on developer's website.


Common Sense Reviewer
Kim Alessi Technology coordinator

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Patricia S. , Other
Other
5
A primer to video

There are many potential uses for fotobabble, I have used in a variety of ways. One of my favorites has been for distance learning students to introduce themselves, much more personal than a standard discussion board post.

I do wish you had the option to download and save the fotobabble, as other talking photos apps allow. The necessity to have an internet connection may hinder some users.

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