A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
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.
Products & Purchases
Most parts of the app include a link to visit the developer's Facebook page.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.