Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Storytelling with Pictello

Pictello is yet another storytelling app. It is designed for both  iPhone and iPad, but will not work on older iPod touches (2G)  or iPhones (3G). It comes from AssistiveWare, the company that created the assistive communication app Proloquo2Go. Pictello creates a book-like end product - a story of one or more pages that can have pictures and text. You can record sounds for each page, which could be a reading aloud of the text. A unique feature of Pictello however, is that it comes with built-in text-to speech voices and you can have it read aloud the text that you add to each page. You can even read some pages aloud yourself and use text-to-speech on others! The latest version highlights individual words as it does text-to-speech, which is a helpful feature for literacy goals. The current version of Pictello is localized in English, Spanish, French, German, Turkish and Dutch. North American English male and female voices are included, with children's voices and voices for 25 other languages and dialects such as Japanese available as free downloads! Pictello does not require an active Internet connection for story creation or playback.

Pictello was originally designed to create social stories, but it looks like it's a great tool for encouraging storytelling and literacy skills for all kids. However, it is significantly more expensive than the other storytelling apps I've reviewed so far. (It was $14.99 when I first wrote this and is now $18.99 as of 4 April, 2013, admittedly with some new features.) The stories you create can be viewed on the device where they are created, within Pictello, or they can be shared via the Pictello server - but only with other Pictello users. The latest version will let you save your stories to Dropbox as Pictello stories or PDFs. If I were working with students who were able to write their own stories but unable to read them aloud, I would be more interested in this app specifically because of the text-to-speech feature which I've not seen in the other storytelling apps. For my regular ed. students, the free app StoryKit is very similar, is free, and StoryKit stories can easily be shared via the app's website.

Assistiveware provides detailed descriptions on their website to help you get started using Pictello.  a4cwsn has several videos that give detailed information on using Pictello. (Here is the first of their videos.)

(Updated 5 April 2013)

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