Tellagami

Common Sense Media says

Limited features, required purchases sink animation app.

Age(i)

2
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5
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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Tellagami's main purpose is to allow users to share their gamis, but frequent error messages and crashes with the in-app sharing features make the experience uneven. 

Violence

The terms of service prohibit content that promotes violence, but it's possible kids could create and share a violent message.

Sex

The terms of service prohibit content that contains explicit or graphic descriptions or accounts of sexual acts, but it's possible kids could create and share a sexual message.

Language

The terms of service prohibit certain kinds of violent, harassing, and sexual content, but profanity isn't specifically prohibited. It's possible that kids will create and share messages with iffy language.

Consumerism

You'll get a few options for creating your character (gender, skin tone, eye color, head size, and emotion), but, to customize hair and clothing or to get a wider variety of backgrounds or text to speech, you'll need to make an in-app purchase. When you tap on a locked item, you're asked to sign in to the app store to make the purchase, but you're not told how much the item will cost before tapping. There's no menu with a list of in-app purchases or an option to unlock everything at once. Instead, users will feel nickel-and-dimed, especially those who had the app before the update that locked many of the options.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The terms of service prohibit content that promotes illegal drug use or substance abuse, but it's possible that kids will create and share messages about drinking, drugs, or smoking.

Privacy & safety

The app's terms of service and privacy policy appear to contradict each other: The terms of service indicate that, with a parent's permission, kids under 13 can use the app. But the privacy policy states, "If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use or access the Site or use any Service or Application at any time or in any manner." Users can choose to share their gamis or store them in their devices' libraries. Once a gami is shared to the developer's website, it's unclear what kind of control over or access to it the user has.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tellagami is an app that lets kids create their own animated characters that speak typed or recorded audio. Kids can select the character's skin color, hairstyle, outfit, and gender and place their character in a real or imagined setting. Unfortunately, most background images in the app are only available as in-app purchases, and the on-screen character can't be customized much beyond its Caucasian-looking features. This app might be a good option for kids who are less comfortable reading a story in their own words or telling a story on video; they can type their words into Tellagami and have the built-in text-to-speech feature do the speaking instead. Although that feature is powerful and helpful, Tellagami's features and utility don't venture much further. The privacy policy states that kids need to be 13 or older to use the app.

What kids can learn

Skills

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression
  • presenting

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Users can record audio and add emotions and backgrounds; it's entertaining to locate characters in unexpected settings.

Learning Approach

Although it's fun to create custom characters and select backgrounds, the app doesn't make for especially engaging presentations.

Support

User support within the app is limited. The developer website's FAQ page mostly suggests that bugs are the result of user errors and users should relaunch the app. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression
  • presenting

Kids can learn to use an animated character to speak text that tells a story, gives a presentation, or delivers another important message. Kids can place a custom character on a custom background and use this imagined space as the setting for a class presentation, a digital postcard, or another spoken message up to 30 seconds long. The biggest learning potential for Tellagami might be for students who struggle with social skills: The medium has potential for kids who might be uncomfortable presenting in person or on film but who are comfortable recording audio or entering text. Although it's fun to create a character and record audio, uneven features make for a disappointing user experience.

This Learning Rating review was written by Patricia Montic...

What's it about?

TELLAGAMI is a mobile app for creating a custom animated video called a "gami." Users enter text or record audio and then choose from a range of skin tones, outfits, and hairstyles (most require in-app purchases) to create a custom character to deliver the recording. Users then place a character against a background selected from the free built-in options or the device’s photo library or from among several background "packs" available for purchase within the app.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Tellagami is supposed to enable users to share their "gamis," but frequent error messages and crashes with the in-app sharing features make the user experience uneven. After making a few gamis, it becomes clear that there's not much variety in the animation: The character's hand gestures don't seem to vary depending on the audio. It also would be nice if there were more options for characters, more free background options, and the possibility to have more than one character on-screen.

The most frustrating part is the way the in-app purchases are set up -- it feels sneaky, and users are severely limited in options unless they make several purchases.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how changing the character's expression can affect the meaning of the text.

  • Ask kids to draw or import images of faraway places to serve as background images for videos.

  • Talk to kids about how Tellagami might help them explain a concept or tell a story in a new way.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Price:Free (with in-app purchases)
Pricing structure:Free, Free to Try
Release date:February 20, 2014
Category:Entertainment
Size:54.70 MB
Publisher:Tellagami Labs Inc.
Version:1.3.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up.

This review of Tellagami was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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