I’m just starting to use iPhone apps with my English Language Learners, and they’re loving it. These puppet/avatar apps reduce student fear because the “puppets” are on the screen with their voices, but their faces are not visible.

I’ve previously posted about Sock Puppets. It’s a neat app, and, in many ways, one of my favorites — it’s easy and provides opportunities for multiple characters to record. The free version allows audio recording for thirty seconds, while the paid version has a ninety-second length. Unfortunately, I found the paid version to be very buggy, and had lots of problems uploading it to the Web. I asked Lisa Johnson for advice (I first heard about the app from her) and learned that she only used the free version. She suggested that the ninety second length might be the problem, and she was right (thanks, Lisa!). So we’ll still be using it, but, unfortunately, it will only be in thirty second clips.

We’re also going to be trying out another app called Talking Wee Mee. It just allows one character, though it appears to provide a one minute recording time.

Lisa also suggested Photo Puppet Go. It’s a little more complicated than the other two I’ve mentioned, but it does have potential.

I’ll be including all these apps in The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.