Morfo App is not specifically designed for educational settings but this application, available both for Apple and Android devices can be used to great effect in the classroom. The app itself was designed for entertainment bringing people, pets and TV personalities to life. The following post will attempt to give a ‘walkthrough’ for a teacher or student interested in integrating this resource into a unit of work in SESE History, Geography or Science. This could extend to Literacy including Oral Language and Gaeilge.
Morfo is a free app that allows its user to animate a still portrait. In my own classroom I have used Morfo to bring characters such as Tom Crean, Florence Nightingale, Tutankhamun and Charlie Chaplin to life. This idea of focusing students minds on their audience, delivery of their message and giving them a platform to showcase their work is central to promoting self-directed learning and 21st Century skills.
Step by Step Instructions
Pick your picture – choose a front-facing portrait. I picked Neil Armstrong as my sample avatar.
Save the picture to the Camera Roll.
Open Morfo App and import your image from Camera Roll.
Configure the face according to the guide. This part is not particularly difficult and children can grasp the concept quite easily. The need for a front-facing portrait image becomes apparent when doing the fine adjustments on the eyes, nose and mouth. Eye colour can also be adjusted at this point.
The images can then be made up in fancy dress and this comes in the form of an in-app purchase. However this option is utilised for entertainment purposes and is not of any particular educational use.
The app lets you record about 30 seconds of audio where the lips of your own avatar syncs with your voice. This is the time when the class must be very quiet if recording. Even a single cough or pencil dropping on the floor will make your avatar’s lips move.
Another interesting option is to allow the avatar to be recorded in a high pitch or low pitch voice. I have used the low pitch for characters such as the Gruffalo and would consider it a nice feature if it is not overused.
The last step is to ‘Save a Video’ where your recording can be saved onto your Camera Roll or emailed via the Share option. Videos can then be merged using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie into a complete story.
The one issue I would find is that you cannot save an avatar once you close the application. This means that you need to do all your recording in one sitting otherwise you will have to reconfigure your facial features all over again. I would however stress that this is something that you get quite quick at after a few runs through on this wonderful (and free!) application.