Speech Journal

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
Speech Journal App Poster Image
Voice recorder app designed for teachers, fun for families.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn basic photography, storytelling, and narration skills. They can create photo slideshows with voiceover by organizing media for creative, digital storytelling. There's lots of in-app instruction to help kids, teachers, and parents follow the sequential steps needed to create a Speech Journal photo slideshow. The app also allows kids to exercise creativity and decision-making. While Speech Journal doesn't allow users to add text captions to their photos, its power of voice makes it a solid learning and media-creation tool that can support both kids' and teachers' learning goals.

Ease of Play

This app is fairly straightforward, but there's also a detailed video tutorial linked from the main page as well as a help page with instructions. Kids can select photos from their library or take new pictures with the camera, then record audio to go along with the selected photos. They can listen to and rerecord audio. Kids can also add additional recordings and photos, but they can't go back and edit them to remove or reorder certain parts. Recordings are saved in an archive specific to each profile on the device and can be shared by email as .jpg and .caf (Apple core audio format, which can played in Quicktime) attachments, but the photos and audio are no longer joined. Within the archive, saved recordings can be viewed full-screen, and users can add additional audio or photos.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Most parts of the app include a link to visit the developer's Facebook page.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Speech Journal was created for teachers to make slideshows with audio captions for students, but kids also can use it to create stories or photo journals. Parents or teachers considering purchasing the app can view an eight minute online video tutorial to see its features. The app allows users to create profiles, each of which has an archive of recordings. To make a recording, kids select a photo from the device's library or take a new photo with the camera, then record themselves talking about that photo. Kids can play back and accept or erase a recording, then add more photos and audio recordings to make a slideshow. The entire show is then saved under the user's profile. Saved recordings can be shared by email (although not as a slideshow, only as separate audio and photo attachments) or viewed later. The app is largely safe and self-contained, except for a link to the developer's Facebook page in the recording section.

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What's it about?

SPEECH JOURNAL is a tool for adding audio narration to images. Kids can add narration to single images or link several images and bits of narration together to create a narrated slideshow. They start by creating an account with their first and last names. (No data is collected outside the app, so names are safe.) They then choose an image, either taking a new one with the device's camera or choosing one from the device's photo library. The image can be moved and scaled, but further editing isn't available. Kids then hit the green record button and start talking: They can journal in a stream-of-consciousness flow, read something they've written, or read another's work. When finished, they hit stop and can choose to erase and rerecord, play the recording, continue recording, save the recording, or add another image and continue recording. Adding another image creates a slideshow stream with narration. Saved recordings are kept in the archives and can be opened and added to later. Recordings can be emailed as Core Audio Files (.caf).

Is it any good?

Speech Journal is intended as a tool for teachers, but it can also be fun for families and kids. It doesn't have all the functionality of similar apps -- users can't type in captions, like Pictello, but it has a friendlier price tag; and they can't include video, like Storyrobe, but it works much more smoothly. Images are limited to the photos and pictures on the user's device -- as opposed to being able to import images from the web, like Skrappy, -- which has plusses and minuses. The simpler features Speech Journal does offer, it does well, however. The video tutorial makes using the app very clear. It's also great to be able to crop selected photos, gradually build recordings, and make different recordings under different profiles, although it would be nice to be able to easily share recordings among profiles.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Ask kids to tell a story about a favorite photo.

  • Help your kids sequence multiple photos and record an audio narrative to tell a story.

  • Talk with kids about possible topics for a photo slideshow, such as documenting a school science experiment, family vacation, or art project.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: presenting to others, speaking, storytelling
    Arts: photography
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
    Collaboration: group projects, teamwork
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: August 7, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 20.10 MB
  • Publisher: Mobile Education Store LLC
  • Version: 1.5
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.1 or later

For kids who love storytelling photography

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