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Tell About This
Pros: Easy-to-use tool for kids that's also easy for teachers to customize.
Cons: Recording oral storytelling doesn't allow revising or editing.
Bottom Line: Versatile tool can be used as a pre-writing or publishing activity.
Tell About This is a truly versatile tool. In a kindergarten or primary classroom, where kids' ideas are bigger than their writing ability, teachers could let them express their ideas orally and record them. They could also record kids as they retell stories, developing reading comprehension, or take a picture of kids' artwork and record stories about them. Older students could use Tell About This as a publishing tool -- reading aloud a piece of writing, adding a photo, and sharing it with others. The developer's website also has a helpful list of ways teachers can use the app.
Dozens of photos, sorted into such categories as culture, people, family, and fun, serve as inspiration for prompts kids can tell stories about. After choosing a category, they select a photo, see and hear the prompt, and tap the microphone button to record their "tell-about." They can pause during recording, and save or play back the recording when finished. Recordings can be saved in-app or to the device's camera roll, and emailed as a .mov file. Teachers can create custom prompts using their own images, prompts, and voice.
This versatile pre-writing or publishing tool, with clear icons for recording, pausing, and playing, is easy for young storytellers to use. Prompts are read aloud and can be repeated. Resources -- from the interesting photos to the thoughtful prompts-- are inspiring. Teachers can create unlimited profiles, so every student can save work to an individual profile and easily find it again. Profiles can even include images to make it easier for pre-readers to use.