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Fotobabble Research Page

Fotobabble Group Member Introduction Page

Fotobabble is a Web 2.0 that allows you to create and share Talking Photos in three simple steps:

1) Upload a photo.

2) Record your voice.

3) Share with friends and family.

"Every computer should be all set up to use Fotobabble automatically. Speakers are needed along with the computer to able to hear Fotobabbles, and a microphone is needed to be able to record your voice on Fotobabble. To create a Fotobabble you will need to create an account (for free) at . After signing up on the website, simply upload a photo, and then click the record button to record your voice."

"Fotobabble can be used to create a variety of projects" (2)

  • Home-made greeting cards
  • Talking postcards from vacationing and traveling
  • Review products, songs, movies, or TV shows
  • Citizen journalism: Reporting from the scene of something newsworthy
  • Enhance an ad on Craigslist or eBay
  • Enhance your Facebook Fan Page
  • Provide commentary on a photo found on the web
  • Promote your brand, products, or services
  • Instant photo/voice messaging between iPhones
  • Narrate the story behind a special photo
  • Talking Photo Facebook status that plays right in Facebook
  • Twitter updates
  • Adding a visual element to your poetry or music  
  • Limitless educational uses

The following link will take you directly to a public Fotobabble that was created on the Fotobabble website. Please follow the link to see the example.

Table of Contents



Kamal Shah (the founder and CEO of Fotobabble) had his original idea for the creation of Fotobabble in the summer of 2009 when he received an emailed photo in his inbox, followed shortly after by a voice message on his cell phone, showing and describing the day his young nieces had spent at the zoo. At that moment he thought, why not put these two messages together? Photos personalized with the energy and emotion of voice could be incredibly captivating way to share experiences using Web2.0 and mobile applications.

A few months later, in December 2009, Kamal founded the company that would make these "talking photos" a reality. He called it Fotobabble. The company launched its first products to market in March of 2009 to positive reviews from the press, media accolades, and a wave of glowing feedback from creative users around the world. The office in Emeryville, California was buzzing with activity and excitement for what was to come.

Fotobabble has a wide base of enthusiastic users and advocates: Parents, kids, teachers, students, bloggers, photographers, small businesses, non-profits and even large companies like NBCi (NBC Interactive) make use of talking photos.

As Fotobabble continues to grow its user base and its corporate customers, Kamal Shah and the rest of the team are always hard at work to evolve and launch new versions of their web and mobile products and services, including developing a FotobabbleEDU beta program that will incorporate suggestions from the educator-users of

From the beginning of Fotobabble, teachers have seen this site as an innovative way to relay new information to students. However, there has always been the problem of students under the age of 13 being allowed to use the site due to possible inappropriate material. Fotobabble has found the perfect solution to this problem. Fotobabble recently released statements stating that while in school teachers could have students login using the teachers information on multiple computers at once. This allows the teacher to supervise the material viewed by the students. Teachers can also change their profiles to private to ensure that any posts uploaded by students are not shared with other users. For at home use, students simply have to ask parents to create a log in and agree to supervise their student’s usage. (3)


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How Fotobabble relates to other applications

Fotobabble is unique because it allows you to create talking photos unlike any other site. Fotobabble allows you to make a recording to explain an uploaded image. Fotobabble allows you to narrate one still frame; it does not allow you to link photos to narrate a slide show. The uploaded still frames can be shared with anyone in the world, kind of like YouTube.

One of the distinctive things about Fotobabble is the fact that Fotobabble can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or through email.  A member of the Fotobabble site can share their talking photos with even more people by signing up for Fotobabble through Facebook. The talking photo will be displayed on the user’s wall for his or her Facebook friends to take a look and listen to what he or she has to say. Talking photos can be used on Twitter by being a link in the status. By clicking on the link, a talking photo can be viewed.  Fotobabble is also available for iPhone by downloading a free app.

One common suggestion is that Fotobabble creates a way for users to link together a chain of pictures in able to tell a longer, more detailed story using multiple photographs.

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Real-World Application

Fotobabble can be used in many different ways, ranging from personal uses to business and educational purposes. Listed below are several examples of ways Fotobabble can be used: 

Personal: If you want to share a family photo with some friends you can send them a talking photo via email instead. Fotobabble is almost like a talking postcard. You can share photos of pets, family and friends, or vacation memories. By using Fotobabble, it is easy to narrate photos to share with others. It makes connecting with family easy; even if seperated by long distances.

Business: Businesses are able to use Fotobabble to promote a product or the business itself. Talking photos can be used to share special deals with customers via email, Facebook, or Twitter.  By posting your Fotobabble link on your business website or promotion email, your business or product can be further endorsed. Using Fotobabble in a business setting can bring a personal connection between the business and cliental. If your business uses photos to promote products or services on your website, via e-mail marketing campaigns, a blog, or through social networking sites, Fotobabble enables you to easily add voice to those photos, providing a unique format for being heard – literally – in a highly cluttered and competitive marketplace. (1)

Education: Talking photos can also be used for education. Users of Fotobabble must be thirteen years old or older to create a Fotobabble account. However, teachers can create a classroom account and help the student use Fotobabble. The Fotobabbles students create can be set to private to insure students’ safety.  Possible uses for Fotobabble in the classroom include vocabulary practice or a reading analysis. Also, Fotobabble can be used to communicate with pen pals or be used for parent/teacher conferences to allow the student to inform their parent what he or she has been doing in the classroom. There are multiple educational uses available with Fotobabble. Fotobabble can be used on the elementary level as well as the secondary and post-secondary levels.(6)

If you teach students younger than 13, have teachers or parent helpers build audio visual dictionaries that can be added to throughout the year.  This would be helpful for math, science, social studies, history, and regular vocabulary words that students learn.  The format will be so valuable to your audio and visual learners.  Taking pictures on field trips and uploading them to Fotobabble can enable students to record thoughts, observations, and lessons they learned on the field trip.  Consider creating a class Fotobabble account that you (the teacher) are in charge of.  Upload student illustrations and record a story that they have written using their own voice.  This is the perfect type of project to share at parent teacher conference time.  Parents can get a good idea of their child’s writing, reading, and fine motor skills all in one spot.  If you complete a similar project several times through the year, both students and parents can see the growth and progress that has been made during the school year.  Fotobabbles are an outstanding way to send your young students on an Internet scavenger hunt.  Along the way, record directions with Fotobabble and embed on your class website, wiki, or blog.  Non-readers will be able to listen to, and follow directions for any assignment.   Upload a picture of a landmark or map and have students record fun facts that they have learned about the place.(6)

"Ideas for using fotobabble in a post secondary classroom: 

  • describing using parts of speech
  • descriptive language - using metaphors, similes
  • creative writing, e.g. a short story about the photo, poetry
  • point of view
  • inferring; e.g. hidden meaning behind the photo, the story
  • media literacy, such as developing slogans, determining how a photo can sell a product or concept
  • music; select the appropriate jingle / song for the photo" (7)

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Demonstration of Educational Value

The simple operation procedure of Fotobabble not only facilitates teachers’ teaching also enhances students’ learning motivation and maximizes their creativity. Teachers can use fotobabble to design courses (especially in language learning courses); Students can learn to express the touching moment, or try to tell a great story of a photo. Some examples of applying fotobabble in education are described as follows:

1.Teachers can use Fotobabble as a teaching material:

              (a) Elementary

                         - Help students to practice their speaking skills and learn vocabularies

              (b) Secondary and post-secondary

                        - Teach descriptive language - using metaphors, similes

                        - Teach creative writing, e.g. a short story about the photo, poetry

                        - Teach students to share their point of view

                        - Teach students to make inferring; e.g.find the hidden meaning behind the photo, the story

                        - Use fotobabble in media literacy , such as developing slogans, determining how to use a photo to sell a product or concept

                        - Use fotobabble in music class; select the appropriate jingle / song for the photo" (7)

2.Teacher can use Fotobabble to record the development of students and show them on Parent's Day.

3. Teacher can use Fotobabble as an assessment:

                  (a) As an oral assessment for speeches

                  (b) Oral assessment for speaking in second languages (11)

4.Students can use Fotobabble to create personal experience of learning and exchange with their  peers.

                  - They can share their hobbies such as sports, music, food, movie etc.

Example Elementary Lesson Plan

Vocabulary Using Fotobabble

Grade Level: Elementary


The purpose of this lesson is to use Fotobabble to upload a picture vocabulary word and record the definition so the students will be able to practice and remember vocabulary words.


Students will be able to upload a picture of vocabulary words and record the definition to help practice the words and obtain a better grade on vocabulary tests.


  • List of Vocabulary Words
  • Digital Camera
  • Internet Access
  • Access to the teacher’s account on Fotobabble


  • Indiana Academic Standards 3.3.2
  • Fine Arts: Visual Arts


1.      The teacher should guide the students in taking photographs of their vocabulary words with the digital camera.
2.      The students should log into Fotobabble using the teacher’s account information on the internet.
3.      The students should upload their photos to Fotobabble.
4.      The students should record the definition of their photos on Fotobabble.
5.      The students should save their recordings.
6.      The teacher can access the students Fotobabbles and practice vocabulary with the class.
NOTE: It is best for the teacher to assign one or two words to each student instead of having each student create definitions for all of the words because it less time consuming.


Students will be assessed in front of the class as practice of vocabulary words and also given a vocabulary test a few days after creating pictures and definitions on Fotobabble.

Example Secondary Lesson Plan

Foreign Language Using Fotobabble

Grade Level: Secondary (Grades 9-12)


Students will learn to use a Web 2.0 photo application while they learn to recognize foreign language words both visually and audibly.


Students will understand the Web 2.0 technology well enough to create useable “flashcards” that will depict a word, phrase, or picture; while also recording their voice to match up with the photo.  These Fotobabble creations will be a helpful study tool for many students and will expose them to Web 2.0 technology.


  • A camera for each student or pair of students, computer cord included
  • A computer with internet access
  • A microphone to record voices
  • Computer speakers to listen to the recordings


1.       Students will take photographs of either items or words written on white boards. These pictures should be foreign language vocabulary that needs to be studied and memorized.
2.       Students will upload the photos to a computer and then upload them into the Fotobabble website as “flashcards.”
3.       Students will use the microphone to record their voices pronouncing the foreign word and use the application to connect the picture to the voice recording.
4.       Students can play and watch these Fotobabbles as study aids for both visual and auditory learning.


The use of this Web 2.0 application as described in this lesson plan should increase student knowledge of foreign vocabulary while boosting homework, quiz, and test scores. The effectiveness of using this form of flashcard will be reflected in student’s grades; either positively causing grades to increase or ineffectively with no apparent improvement.

Example Post-Secondary Lesson Plan

Art History

Grade Level: Post Secondary


Students will use the Fotobabble Web 2.0 application to learn about several important and influential art pieces. They will upload a picture of a piece of art and record themselves telling about the piece, the artist, and the significance of the piece to history. These Fotobabble’s will then be “played” for the class as an interesting note-taking experience.


After learning about historically influential pieces of artwork, students will be able to identify different artist’s styles and will be able to identify several pieces of artwork. They will each show this understanding by creating a talking Fotobabble containing this information and sharing it with the class for note taking.


- A computer for each student
- Access to the internet and photos of various art pieces
- A microphone to record voice messages
- Speakers to listen to voice recordings


1.       Students will search information about an assigned piece of historical artwork.
2.       Student’s will create a Fotobabble account online and use the account to create a Fotobabble demonstrating their understanding of the piece of art.

  • Upload a picture of the assigned artwork
  • Making a voice recording describing the piece, the artist, and explaining the significance to history.3.       Each student will present their Fotobabble to the class, while their classmates take notes on the various artworks presented.


After completing the research about their assigned work of art, students will be able to recognize each piece of art and make historical connections to the significance of the piece. They will demonstrate this knowledge by creating an informative Fotobabble and sharing with their classmates.

Complete List of Educational Lesson Plans

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How Fotobabble is used internationally?

      Fotobabble can be used in social networking sites or for personal reasons and can be sent to relatives, friends, or co-workers to other countries around the world. Also, they have fotobabble for iPhone and the app is free. Some examples for using fotobabble include vacation pictures, birthday cards, and fotobabble is also useful for businesses. You can upload your pictures and share them with the whole world or just a few people. Fotobabble can be used in some blogging websites and because it can be used on websites or for personal reasons, it can be used internationally. (9)

       Fotobabble can be used for communication between different nations throughout the world. One example of this is called "Collaboration Corner". This is a system of communication using fotobabble of students from a classroom in Australia and classroom in the United States. These students have been creating fotobabbles that explain themselves and what they like to do. It is interesting hearing the different speaking that is going on between the Australians and the Americans. (10)

In Taiwan, many students or workers are used to order lunch box by phone every day. One needs to make several phone calls to ask everyone come over to the office and order lunch. It can be troublesome and time-consuming sometimes.

With fotobabble, one can upload the menu on the Internet the day before the class. And everyone can go to the fotobabble website and fill in what they want to order with zohosheet.

It is very convenient for students or workers because they don’t have to worry about their lunch when they are busy working or studying. On the one hand, it is very convenient for the person in charge because he doesn’t need to waste time making phone calls; on the other hand, it is also very convenient for the lunchbox stores because they can receive the ordering via the Internet in no time.

Some people still unable communicate with others using computer keyboard or are just typing too slow. For example, the elders, children, and information illiteracies. Input devices besides keyboards, there are other computer input devices such as microphone and webcam, which can help these users sharing and recording their life easily.

These people usually use skype, but there are some spatial and temporal limits. If you can use fotobabble to record life, you can upload your mood and you can upload your mood and pictures at any time, any place. 

In Taiwan, due to a great diversity of geographical features, there are many unique species. We can upload pictures of Taiwan endemic species to Fotobabble and use the voice recoding function to show the sounds of various creatures. We can also publish the pictures on Blog and share this information to the world.

Taipei Green Tree Frog


Formosan Magpie



  1. Fotobabble is easy to use for introducing endemic species.
  2. People can learn more about creatures not only through the pictures but also the sounds they made. 

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  8. Zoe Catsiff (Fotobabble employee),

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  1. Unknown User (hjaworsk)

    I like the idea that fotobabble provides. A picture is worth a thousand words, but if you give that picture a voice then it has so many more. When a PowerPoint presentation just doesn’t cut it but you want an interesting way to present something or to get a point across then fotobabble has the equipment.

    I like how it allows for a picture, more or less, to have the ability to say something and squeeze even more meaning out of it. It’s a new a refreshing way to  edit photos and I would definitely love to find a way to fit this  program into future assignments because I feel that It would be quite beneficial to me.

    One thing I would be aware of though is that there are a few grammatical errors here and there and that the videos aren’t centered. To me it throws the page off and makes it seem a little off-putting. I like order and organization and it would be nice to see a little of both in my time perusing the site.

  2. Fotobabble was an interesting idea and a good one at that. It can be utilized in so many different settings. You can send virtual postcards to your family, advertise a product for your business, use it to create flashcards, or even communicate across the world. At first, this idea began with the intent of making it easier for people to describe their photos, but now its a revolutionary tool used in businesses, for personal use, and in schools.

    The feature I liked most about this site is the ease of navigation. The site includes directions on the right hand side of the site and everything you need is on one page. You can also share with other people on facebook and twitter.

    I like the idea of using this program as a flashcard or vocabulary tool. Students learn through memorization. Having a program like this helps students to remember by using an easy program, an it's much better than carrying the flashcards around with them all the time. In these upcoming generations, students are more inclined to use a computer to study anyway. Being an app on the Iphone is also convenient because then that student can carry their virtual flash cards in a storage device and look at them whenever they want. I will definitely use this program in my future lesson plans because I am a prospective elementary school teacher. This can help me keep track of my pupils' progress and also give parents an idea of where their students are in the class. Vocabulary is important to reading comprehension and this program is perfect for a lesson plan like this.

    I also like how the students are safe when it comes to computer usage through an account I can create.

  3. Unknown User (amonagh)

    Just from reading the beginning on how this application works, I was hooked! I think this application is a new way for individuals to put words to their pictures. It is an easy process that can be done by pretty much any age from elementary school to elderly people. I liked the different ways you can use Fotobabble in the classroom as lessons and projects for students. I think this application is fun and creative! What makes Fotobabble even better is where you can share your work (Facebook and Twitter) and all the different things you can do with this application.

    I feel that this site shows great ideas and shows many different ways this application can be used. I feel like this site is easy to navigate and very comprehendable. I find this application to be interesting and I must say it is something I may consider using in the future; either in other projects or in the classroom. There are numerous different projects that can be done with this application from home-made greeting cards to promoting a brand, products, or services.

    Although, I must say there are a few changes I would make to this page: 1. Make sure all videos work and all pictures are visable. 2. Try and find pictures of the creators of the site and add them to the page (maybe add their bios underneith too). 3. I did notice a few errors that should be reviced within the site, but other than that well done. And overall, I think this site really describes and shows what Fotobabble can do.

  4. Unknown User (smhousto)

    You got me the second I read talking photos!  I think this is such a cool idea and cool way for people to be able to share thier photos and tell a story behind them as well.  Not only does it make it easier than having to type out all the details of the story behind the photo, but it also makes it a lot more personal and almost relatable because your actual voice is beng projected from the computer.  Also, we all know how big technology is at this point in time and different social media sites such as facebook and twitter are expanding I thought it was great that this application could be used and work alongside those applications.

    As I was reading through your site I learned just how versatile fotobabble actually is and all the different ways it can be incorporated.  I thought you did a great job at explaining and giving different examples on how it can be used in the business world, for research purposes, inside the classroom, for entertainment, and possible even for students, children, or adults who may have disabilities or trouble with keyboards and typing.  What a cool way for them to be able to stay connected and plugged in!  I was just somewhat blown away at how many ways this application can actually be used and used acurately and effectivly.

    Overall I could not find much that I would change about the site.  I thought the presentation of it as a whole was very well done, and I also thought you did a great job of setting up the page so that it was easy to navigate for first time usuers.  It was easy to be able to find information and directions were set up clearly.  The only critic I have is maybe adding a little more color or a little more flare to the page, make it more visual appealing, and then go through and proof read your information.  I noticed a few mistakes here and there, but all very minor.  Overall I think this is a great idea!

  5. Unknown User (nschrens)

    What an awesome concept! I've never thought to put a photo and audio recording together but once I started to read about the app I wanted to know more! I always think of using a bunch of photos with a voice recording but that can be overwhelming and complicated whereas using one photo can be more powerful and useful. 

    The actual site was very easy to navigate. It has a very simple but appealing setup and color scheme. It's inviting and simple much like the app itself! My favorite part is that they actually use a fotobabble on the home page of the site to explain the program! 

    Using fotobabble for vacation photos as a sort of online postcard is what initially popped into my mind. However, as I explored the site I discovered all the ways that fotobabble could really be used! In a work environment an audio recording could be paired up with a graph or chart to explain what is being illustrated, this may be more efficient and effective than a typed explanation. Fotobabble could also be used in an educational environment in many ways! It could be used for vocabulary lessons for elementary students and also for second language vocabulary as the students get older. Teachers could pair it with photos and make a topic more interesting by adding the visual aid. It could also be used to keep parents and teachers connected. There are truly an infinite amount of ways this app could be used! 

    There really is not much to critique about this app as a whole. The site is focused on making itself simple and fun to use! At the bottom on the home page there is a row of comments about the app which is great however I think incorporating some fotobabbles into this would make the site more appealing and would demonstrate to a new user what can truly be done with the site. Adding a little more color may make the site as a whole more appealing but there's always a risk of becoming too overwhelming and uninviting when adding color to a webpage. Overall, the creators did a fantastic job and have a very original and creative concept!