Fotobabble….for 60 seconds of babbling

Name: Fotobabble
Cost: Free
Type: Internet Tool (or iOS app)
Rating: 3/5

Fotobabble logoI have an addiction, which I torture my students with. I like to make supplemental video content for my online courses. Students have access to text versions of instructions and rubrics, but I like to make videos that detail the requirements. As with any addictive substance, the problem is that I overdo it. What should take 5 minutes to explain, I will continue to layer on information until I run out of things to say 10 minutes later. I don’t even willingly sit through 10 – 15 minute YouTube videos, so I’m pushing my luck expecting my students to have more time/patience/interest. Thus, my desire to find a tool that compels me to keep it simple, yet engaging.

Fotobable is one option I’ve explored. It’s a single graphic with audio narration. With only one graphic, I know that I need to be brief since there isn’t extensive visual interest to keep the audience from straying to Facebook or the like. Personally, I like to use this opportunity to show off my amateur photos, which may not be relevant to the topic, but I think they’re interesting to look at for a few seconds. As noted in the Drawbacks below, I only use this tool for non-vital information so that I don’t get dozens of emails when the site goes down for maintenance at night.

Goal: Add audio to single graphic and embed the graphic in my classroom

Benefits:

Fotobabble workspace 1

This is the initial screen as you begin the process. You need to first upload a photo.

  • Very easy to click to record after uploading graphic
  • Embed codes available, either with or without Flash.
  • FREE, online tool that allows you to upload your own photos and record or upload audio.
  • Free themes are provided, which essentially serve as frames for your photo.
  • Pretty extensive collection of tutorials and guides to help get you started.

Drawbacks:

  • The site seems to go down nightly, so students accessing the graphic at night receive an error message.
  • There is a 5MB limit on the photos you can use, which is reasonable, but it’s not unlimited.
  • I’m pretty sure the “view” counter is off, since I highly doubt I’ve had over 3000 views since the post is marked Private and I haven’t had even 100 students to view the photo I recorded.
  • There is a 60 second time limit on audio recordings.

Fotobabble workspace 2

After uploading your photo, you have the record option, along with a few other tools.

Insider View: Since you only have 60 seconds to say everything that needs to be said, cut out the “ums” and “likes” by drafting a script to read from. Practice reading from the script so that you can develop a more natural sounding reading (like you just thought of these great ideas to share and the voice inflection is just right). [Note: this is easy advice for me to give, but not to follow. I’m not good at voice inflections with a script, but I prefer my “almost” voice inflections as compared to the “uhs” that I use without a script.]

Final Thoughts: It might be more reliable to simply create a YouTube video with a single graphic and added audio clip, but this site is easy to use, especially if you’re not proficient with audio/video software used for YouTube video creation (as argued by Fotobabble: http://www.fotobabble.com/help#gq7).

Link: http://www.fotobabble.com/

Samples: This is the only Fotobabble I have actively used, but I’ve since replaced it with a video since the photo/audio was not available 24/7 (and my students access the classroom at all times).

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