Zoobe Pets is an iPhone app, however it works quite well on your ipad. As you have probably gathered I really like apps that get my students speaking, as I find this is the most difficult aspect of learning a language. Students often feel self conscious or embarrassed with speaking tasks and any app that encourages speaking always gets a thumbs up rating.
The finished product reminds me of Talking Tom app, however rather than passively speaking and then hearing Talking Tom repeat your message, this app allows students to create an avatar, record the message and then share or save as a mp4 file, which then can be used in an iMovie creation or other animation app.
With Zoobe Pets, students choose a cute character, such as a bear, cat or rabbit, they then can dress the avatar using the costumes available, as well as assign an emotion. You can add your own background using images from your camera roll. So, for example, if you are teaching Indonesian, your avatar can be set in an Indonesian setting, such as a market, or at a significant site or point of interest.
Once you have created your avatar and setting, you can record your message. Before students record their message, you might get them to write their script therefore giving them an opportunity to further develop their writing skills. Once recorded, students can view their creation. Their Zoobe Pets avatar will speak in a cutesy voice, with animation that reflects the emotion chosen earlier. Whilst a bit gimmicky, I quite like that voices are changed as some students cringe at hearing their own voices.
The avatar can be shared through email, as well as other social networking avenues or it can be saved to the camera roll. Saving to the camera roll will allow students to use their animation in other apps.
I wouldn’t use this app often, however as a once off it does have usefulness in the languages classroom. Students could use this app to
- Create a script and then a movie with a relevant image on any topic being studied, for example my shopping trip at the local fruit market
- Create a series of avatars, and incorporate them into iMovie to create a film
- Students can work in groups to create the iMovie
While it is a bit gimmicky, I can see potential for use. Certainly worthwhile using considering it encourages speaking in the target language and the app is free. For older students there is another app Zoobe Eve which works identically to Zoobe Pets but allows for creation of avatars which might appeal more to teenage student.