Behind the Mask – Yakit Kids and Chatterpix in the classroom


One of the things I love about using iPad in the classroom is that it can really level the playing field for students. We all have children in our classes who are reluctant to raise their hand, shy away from being the centre of attention  and struggle to ask for help. Of course it is our job as educators to make sure our learning environment makes all of our learners feel safe and secure, and we must encourage our students to be risk takers, but sometimes technology offers us a few opportunities to help with this.

Today I’d like to talk about using two fantastic apps to turn pictures into talking characters to help encourage speaking and listening.

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Yakit Kids by Freak’n Genius

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Chatterpix Kids by Duck Duck Moose

Both of these FREE apps can do similar things. Take any photo from your camera roll and turn it into a speech to animate video. It is extremely simple to do, both apps have a 6-8 age rating, but I think the benefit of these can be found higher up the primary school and beyond.

To use the apps you draw on/select your mouth then record some speech. The picture then comes to life, with the mouth moving in time to the recorded sounds. ChatterPix allows students to add text to the video, apply filters to the initial photo and a number of props. Yakit Kids has slightly more advanced features such as adding comical eyes, noses and beards as well as an option to add a second talking character. Voices can also be disguised by selecting a higher pitch or lower pitch (very useful when I used it to interview the Gruffalo!)

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How the Gruffalo felt after being outsmarted by the mouse

I use both apps with my students and I encourage you to try both of them. I think whilst being similar, they both have tasks that they lend themselves to. Yakit Kids and ChatterPix Kids are both limited to 30 second recordings per scene. These of course can be mixed together afterwards using iMovie. I have to say though, a 30 second limit motivates students to practise what they will say and it tends to ensure that there is no ‘dead space’ in recordings or the dreaded “ehmms” or “likes” in final recordings. Speaking to an ESL specialist, she commented on how she liked the restriction on time as one of her students (who had previously been extremely reluctant to take part in verbal exercises) had clearly been motivated to write a script and rehearse, to make sure she pronounced words correctly and eliminated hesitation.

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The bee explains why her friends are in danger.

I love apps that are open ended and these two fit that brief. They can be used for so many things across the curriculum:

  • Roleplay as key figures from history
  • Hear Lord Voldemort’s side of the story
  • Practise dialogue in MFL (Courtesy of @lancslassrach in #AppshareLive)
  • Create introductions to videos
  • Explain scientific findings with characters

Whatever you choose to use these apps for, I would thoroughly recommend them. Students love the opportunity to make characters, celebrities or historical figures speak and even the most shy of children will be chomping at the bit to have a go!

My one piece of advice when using apps like these, is to have a 5 minute ‘Amnesty’ where students can PLAY. Try out all the COOL STUFF and get it out of their system, before creating the content for the lesson.

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One thought on “Behind the Mask – Yakit Kids and Chatterpix in the classroom

  1. Pingback: LIS 568 Week 3: Chattering and Yakking and Blabbering, Oh My! | LIS 568 Reflections

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