The app opens with a default character and background. You are able to change the way the character looks, where they're standing, and their emotional state. The app lets users set the backgroud either to a photograph on the device, a photo taken at that time, or one of the app's preset backgrounds. In order to generate the audio, the user can record directly into the device, or type text which is then converted to speech by the app. The 'gami' can then be previewed and saved to camera roll.
As Tellagami allows us to change the emotion on the character's face, it can be used to introduce to learners some of the ways the emotional state of the speaker can be expressed. This could involve some analysis of volume, syllable length and pitch of voice. One possible lesson plan to expose students to these concepts could be:
- Introduce emotions through facial expressions and get students to write them. Play two or three gamis that teacher made earlier and get students to match to the emotion
- Students discuss whether they think the emotions were clear from the recordings. Which were the easiest emotions to detect and why? Was emotion clear because of words used or how they were said or because of the facial expression?
- Students listen again and discuss in pairs/groups the characteristics of the different recordings and the emotions they showed.
- Controlled practice: a neutrally worded sentence is written on the board and students work in pairs to say the sentence with one of the emotions introduced earlier. The student must continue until their partner guesses correctly.
- Free practice. Students work in pairs to think of a situation that would make them feel one of these emotions. They then pass this situation to a different pair who have to think of what they would say in that situation and record it through Tellagami (they can do one each if there is time).
- All completed gamis are shared and played to the class. Other groups have to guess the emotion and the situation that has lead them to say what they said.
As you can set the background in Tellagami, it works as an interesting way to introduce and practice common functional language and vocabulary related to different situations. This could also be extended to the learners taking photographs of their own situations and thinking about common language used. One possible lesson plan could go like this:
- Show the learners some of the backgrounds and get them to name the situations (in a cafe, at the office etc.)
- Students brainstorm the different phrases that they think are common in the different situation.
- Students are then given 5 minutes for the first situation. They work in pairs to plan what they want the person to say in the situation they're in. When they're ready they record and share.
- Students then move to the next situation and repeat
- At the end, the teacher could paste the links to the gamis to a blog, under the headings of the situations
- Students then have a record of situational language and can comment on the blogpost and add their own ideas later too.