A Google Slides Hack to Replace ChatterPix or Blabberize

This idea–a true moment of educational duct tape (using technology to solve a classroom problem or goal)–actually came to me while recording an episode of my Educational Duct Tape Podcast!

In Episode 5, I played a question that Linda Hummer shared to the Educational Duct Tape Community FlipGrid along with Abbey Thomas’ answer.  Linda’s question was, essentially, what is an alternative to Chatterpix that works on Chromebooks?  Abbey’s answer was Blabberize. And the question was answered!  Or, so I thought…

After the episode aired, Dan Gallagher shared on that same grid some words of caution: Blabberize’s Terms of Service indicate that it’s not appropriate for all ages.  So, in Episode 6, I shared this and then, on the spot, found a hack for a solution:

I’ve posted about #StopMotionSlides a number of times (here are my tips for making them) and they make a pretty good solution for this.  Put a picture into a slide, use some careful cropping and then leverage a stop motion technique.  Not only can you make the mouth move up and down, but you can then publish the animation (#13 in these tips) and then record them with Screencastify (or your screencasting tool of choice) with a voiceover (#14 in these tips)!

Voila!  Not as easy as Chatterpix, but at least it eliminates the need of adding another tool and another set of terms of service to what you use with your students: you likely already use Google Slides & Screencastify!

Plus, unlike ChatterPix or Blabberize, you can have multiple characters, your characters can move, the scene change…  You–and your students–can get super creative!

Here’s an animated GIF of the process, followed by a step-by-step breakdown.

Google Slides ChatterPix Blabberize Hack Animation

Setup:

  1. Open a Google Slides presentation.
  2. Insert a picture with a face in it (it doesn’t have to be a Bitmoji like mine and, if you do it right, it can even have a background and/or body).
  3. Duplicate the slide. Right-click on the slide in the left menu and select duplicate –or– click on the slide in the left menu and click ctrl+D (PC or Chromebook) or command+D (Mac).
  4. Crop the picture so that you only have from the top of the picture down to the center of the mouth.
  5. Duplicate the picture. Click on the picture and click ctrl+D (PC or Chromebook) or command+D (Mac).
  6. Line the two pictures up (use the red lines to tell you when you’re centered on the other picture).
  7. Crop the new picture so that it is only the bottom of the mouth & the chin.
  8. Duplicate this new piece of the picture. Click on the picture and click ctrl+D (PC or Chromebook) or command+D (Mac).
  9. Line the two pictures up (use the red lines to tell you when you’re centered on the other picture).
  10. Crop the new picture so that it is only the area below the chin (all of the way to the bottom of the picture).
  11. Repeat #8-10 with the bottom right area of the picture.
  12. Repeat #8-10 with the bottom left area of the picture.
  13. Add a black rectangle over top of the mouth area and then click ctrl+shift+↓ (or command+shift+↓ on Mac) to move the black rectangle behind all of the pieces of the picture.

Animation:

  1. Duplicate the slide (see #3 above).
  2. Click on the bottom of the mouth & chin piece, click the down arrow once to open the mouth a bit.
  3. Duplicate this slide.
  4. Move the mouth/chin piece down another click.
  5. Duplicate this slide.
  6. Move the mouth/chin piece up a click.
  7. Duplicate this slide.
  8. Move the mouth/chin piece up another click.  It should now be closed.
  9. To continue the animation to make it appear that the face is talking, you have two options: (1) highlight all of the slides and duplicate the whole set repeatedly or (2) use the animation tip below to have these slides play on a loop.

Adding Audio

  1. To make the animation play automatically and loop if needed, use #13 in these tips to publish the animation.
  2. Use #14 in these tips to record them with Screencastify (or your screencasting tool of choice) with a voiceover!

Published by

Jake Miller

Jake is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and is the Lead Technology Integration Specialist for Brady Middle School in Ohio's Orange City Schools. In the past he taught STEM, Science & Math in Stow-Munroe Falls, Ohio, where he was also a leader in the district's Technology Leadership Team and a co-advisor for the middle school's STEM Club. He has been an educator since 2003. His Bachelor's Degree is in middle-level education (math/science) from the University of Akron and his Master's Degree is in Instructional Technology from Kent State University. He has enjoyed providing more than 100 professional development opportunities at conferences and school districts across the state of Ohio. He is very involved in Twitter (@JakeMillerTech) and provides regular pointers for educators with his #GAFETip tweets.

2 thoughts on “A Google Slides Hack to Replace ChatterPix or Blabberize”

  1. #GreatMinds Jake! As I listened I was saying to my car stereo “stop motion with slides!” and I was going to send a note – and then you said it!

    1. Great minds indeed! I like that this method could allow for tons more freedom than Blabberize and Chatterpix… multiple characters, changing scenes, character movement… only limited by creativity and perseverance to make it happen!

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