Fotobabble is a simple, quick and easy tool that you can use for various specific speaking tasks at all levels. It is a tool which allows you to create talking pictures and slideshows with really only a few clicks of the mouse.
To use, sign up for free at http://www.fotobabble.com and then click on Create a Fotobabble. You then need to upload a photo from your computer that you want to commentate on, choose a photo from Facebook, or find a picture from a set URL. When you have selected your photo, click create, and it will be uploaded. You will then see something like this below:
This allows you to ‘edit’ your fotobabble by adding your vocal comments to it. You will have to allow the microphone on your computer for it to work, then click ‘Record’ and stop when you have finished. You can play it to listen to it back, and on the same page add tags and themes to help others to find it. As with many of these webtools that I have been blogging about, you also have the option of deciding whether to make it public or private (better private for pupils of course – you can choose who can see it by inviting them or sending the relevant URL). You have the embed code and URL ready to cut and paste into your blog, or posterous account or website and when you are happy with everything simply click ‘Save’.
Here is one I made quickly as an example: http://www.fotobabble.com/m/VmVvM2JDVGphTkk9
The uses for this webtool are fairly obvious. With many GCSE syllabi, the oral requires a presentation and in the case of the IGCSE you have to do a presentation of photo. This seems a perfect way to practise this exact skill. You could have a photo bank accessible by the class, ask them to pick one for prep and add their comments to it. The same goes for the IB ab initio speaking exam. It could just as easily be used as practise for the AS exams, particularly the WJEC syllabus where pupils have to comment on the pictures they see. It should be easy to create a bank of pictures for each topic with questions attached, and pupils simply upload the photos and talk about them. A perfect way of doing a speaking prep, on so many topics – describing people, places, action, or discussing what pictures represent and so on.
Just as with Vocaroo, Voki, Voxopop, GoAnimate and Blabberize which I have blogged about already, Fotobabble is another excellent tool that gets pupils speaking the language, a critical aspect of language that teachers have not been able to assess as easily or as regularly. It is useful for all year groups, from beginners to A level, and should be an integral part of practising topic vocabulary.