App: PuppetPals 2

Sometimes you just don’t have time to have 25 (+) students get out in front of the class to do their speaking assessment, other times you might have the time but not the class who will respectfully sit and listen – so what can you do?

My first solution to this challenge in my first years of teaching was to buy a voice recorder and send students out one at a time while the class worked. This was fine but ultimately I wanted a better answer.

Enter PuppetPals2.

I saw the app in use at an AGTV conference and loved its potential. PuppetPals2 is a cartoon video creator. The app allows students to select a setting and a character (from various head and body options) then to record a video which can be exported to the camera roll and uploaded wherever you like.

I have a set of 5 old iPhones without SIM cards that I use for school and so I can have multiple students recording on the app at once. The phones are either my old personal ones or purchased from eBay and are all loaded with my favourite learning apps (including Kahoot! and MindSnacks).

I usually set a PuppetPals presentation as part of my beginners’ first spoken assessment. They first need to write a self introduction to be their script and have it checked before recording their video (they also create an A4 poster of their self profile). Students do need to be monitored to make sure they don’t spend too long picking a character and ‘playing’ with the app, but the end result is a piece of evidence of the student’s work that is entertaining to watch (always good when marking many pieces at a time).

After the clips have been marked I edit them together in iMovie as a class movie, I only include one or two sentences per student so the video only lasts around two minutes and that way all students get to see ‘themselves’ and each other.

Do you have a go-to recording app? How do you manage spoken assessment?

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