Tellagami and the Writing across the curriculum strand in the LNF

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I’ve recently come across a really interesting app for developing literacy across the curriculum called Tellagami and I think it would be perfect to develop writing across the curriculum in the Literacy Framework in Wales and in particular the Writing Accurately element.

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What does Tellagami do?

For a start you might be glad to read that @Tellagami is available as an iOS and Google Play app, but what can you do with it? Quite simply it allows you, and your learners of course, to create animated messages by either recording your voice, or typing text that then gets converted into speech. The latter is the feature I am most interested in (although there is an awful lot that can be done to develop oracy with the voice recording facilities). Writing a message that will be “read” by a computer is not an easy task for developing learners, as computers are pretty stupid (just think about how useless SIRI can be) and need you to give them exactly the right form, or they will just not be able to interpret what you had in mind. So if you write “hop”, but by the context it is clear you meant hope, the computer will alway read “hop”. Well, this is great, because learners using a tool like this get to understand how important good spelling and punctuation are. Yes! Punctuation too. Just try to use the three versions of the same paragraph below in a Tellagami message and see how things change.


Hello! My name is Alessio. Today I have a sore throat, so I am going to talk with Tellagami. I hope you do not mind, if I do that!


Wrong punctuation

Hello My name is Alessio Today I have a sore throat so I am going to talk with Tellagami I hope you do not mind if I do that!


Wrong spelling

Hello! My name is Alessio. Today I have a sor throt, so I am going to talk whit Tellagami. I hop you do not mind, if I do that!


Some practical examples

To give you a few practical examples of how this tool could be used effectively through subjects to develop literacy just think about a geography lesson where the learners use Tellagami as if they were writing a set of instructions for a sat nav in order to give directions from location A to location B on a map. You would actually develop some good numeracy skills in such a lesson too 🙂

Now think about a Science lesson where learners act as news reporters and write a news report about a volcano erupting. They could use the image of a volcano as background to make their report more realistic and review their report until their punctuation and spelling are correct, i.e. when the animated message sounds just right!

I was reminded about the ability to use your own backgrounds by @MrBAyres with this tweet, so thank you Bob, as your tweet inspired me to write this post 😉

What if I don’t have iPads, or Android devices?

Not all schools have iPads yet, but there are other tools that can be used to great effect. I love Xtranormal, for example, and used it quite a bit in a previous life of mine (see one of my masterpieces below 🙂 ).

The main problem with Xtranormal is that the website was shut down 🙁 So, I tend to use a much less impressive tool these days called (I blogged about it here).

What other literacy lesson ideas across the curriculum can you think about with Tellagami and other text to speech tools? Let us know in the comments, please!


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