Dear Tellagami

~~~this blog post is in response to “MESSAGE TO EDUCATORS” —


Dear Tellagami –

Before I get into the main conversation of my thoughts of the recent changes to tellagami, I first feel it is quite important to tell you a few ways of how we used this free app in our K- 6th grade computer lab classroom.

  •  students practiced their spelling words
  • students practiced their bible verses and poems
  • the 2nd grade students created “what you will love about 2nd grade” for the first grade students
  • the 4th grade students made “end of the year thank you videos” for their teachers  (Sample)

Because of tellagami –

  • my students learned to personalize their avatars
  • my students learned to choose between a variety of voices that would represent their thoughts
  • my students learned to use the camera roll and then insert their picture into their own “gami”
  • I — and my students — learned to save and then export the “gamis” into imovie to make 1 longer movie

For this — I am grateful — and appreciative for this app that you have created that is so versatile in its educational and creative uses in the classroom.   Thank you…..honestly, thank you.


Yesterday, while browsing twitter, I saw a friend’s tweet that talked about the recent updates to tellagami — so I ran the update.

I did not notice anything right away — until I clicked on the avatar to personalize it (one of the most powerful options in this app to showcase diversity) and clicked on the hair option.   Hmmmm — and I saw locks on all the options but the top.   I then noticed the same locks on the clothes and shoes.

I continued to look around and noticed another lock on the text feature.   Hmmm — now I am perplexed.

I posted a disappointment tweet and received a tweet back from tellagami and later a link to this blog post —

and here are my thoughts:
(quotes from the tellagami blog post are in italics — my thoughts are in bold)

You wrote this:

It saddens us, however, and it’s a hard reality, that fans expect apps for free without regard for the amount of time, effort and cost that goes into creating great apps.

 —- There never was any disregard for the amount of time, effort, and cost.  There was always extreme gratitude that Tellagami PRICED this app as free.

You wrote this:
There is nothing more discouraging to our team than to read that an app that we have put so much time into creating and enjoyed by so many is now a disappointment just because it is no longer completely free.

—–I understand that — and yes, sometimes we often knee jerk our emotional thoughts quickly onto “feedback” forms.  However, on the other side, (I won’t be so extreme to say there is “NOTHING” more discouraging)…but I do have to say that is very discouraging to the user that something they had been able to use freely suddenly has an unexpected price tag.   That the 100% opportunities are now 70% is a bit disconcerting.  

You wrote this:
We value our relationship with fans and have been very straight forward by communicating that the Tellagami app would be free for a limited time only and a promotional period which we extended several times.

—-I never saw that — perhaps my fault, I was told about this great “free” app that had a variety of uses in the classroom and I downloaded it and used it.   I had not read that it was for a limited time only.

Will I continue to use tellagami?   Probably, though I am not looking forward to the phone calls and questions when I see my students again about why they now have to pay for it.   And I also now have to be hesitant in promoting it when I speak at conferences….because it now has the label of “in app purchases”.

Personally, Tellagami, I hate in app purchases.  I, probably one of the few, prefer to pay for my apps upfront.

So, since you asked for my feedback, this is my suggestion:
go ahead and charge for this app.  I would pay $1.99 for full use for my students.  I would even tell other educators that this is the BEST $1.99 they can spend on their students and for their students.  But in app purchases are a huge inconvenience in a classroom setting.

Tellagami, you have created a great app — and I say that without reservation.   You might have created it for entertainment — but the educational opportunities it has brought to my classroom have been many.  It worked in kindergarten and just as well in 6th grade.   It WAS one of the favorite apps of the 2013/2014 school year.  The icing on the cake was that it was free.

And for that, you have my most sincerest appreciation and gratitude.






  1. Will Kimbley says:

    I absolutely agree. I had the amazing experience of being in a 5th grade class where the students using iPads to create books on the human body to be shared with younger students from their school and they wanted to be able to make them more interactive and interesting. I suggested Tellagami and was absolutely delighted to see the finished product. It is an amazing app with fantastic educational implications, but when you price it out of the accessibility reach of the classroom it is no longer useful. Particularly with the shortsighted (for education) in app purchase business model.

  2. Christine Monge says:

    I completely agree-especially since I just put it on over 800 iPads at our school and now find that my students (and teachers) will have to pay and I will have to redo my budget in the fall.

  3. Gail Lovely says:

    I DO believe in supporting apps – and often remind others that we must pay for apps to keep them available as it is not free to create apps…. that being said, in-app purchases put apps on my no-go list, it is just too difficult to manage in schools and classrooms with multiple iPads. Do they have the “right” to charge for their app? Yes. Do they have the “right” to put advertising in their app? Yes. Do I have a “right” to choose to usen or not use their app? Yes, in fact it is my responsibility to make that choice wisely. I have also been on the “Tellagami Bandwagon”, but now with the caveat of the price and in-app purchases it will be less likely to be in my list of top apps. I DO like apps with prices attached, but pay upfront and no advertising apps are the only ones I routinely suggest….

  4. Jo-Ann Fox says:

    Dear Tellagami,
    We certainly understand that you must make a living. My humble opinion is that you went about this the wrong way. I think you should have planned the paid roll out better.

    How? I think from the beginning you should have limited some of the features… held some of the features back. Then as a part of the in app purchase update you should have added better, more amazing features that one can then purchase. This would not have left your fans feeling like they had the “bait and switch” pulled on them. That is where the negative reactions are coming from… not the fact that you now require an in app purchase.

    Think of all the free PR you received from educators who, like me, have presented about your app, used your app in the classroom (thus inspiring students to download it at home on their personal device), blogged about your app, Tweeted about your app… and educators have done that for you… free of charge. Because we believed in your product.

    Thank you,
    Jo-Ann Fox

  5. Lindsay Foster says:

    I do not recall seeing anywhere on my downloads of atelligami that they would be pricing it in the future. Unfortunately for me, This will be the end of my use of Telligami as I am not forded a budget for app purchases of any kind by my district and my devices are district property. I had students who were excited about integration into our announcements – using an avatar rather than themselves but we will have to find an alternative.

  6. Also there is no way to use the VPP with in-app purchases. I’d rather see two separate versions a lite version to try it out and a paid version with everything unlocked.

  7. Karen says:

    So disappointed and will no longer be using it. I agree, let me pay for the app, instead of $2.99 to change a shirt. Bye-bye Tellagami. Sure wish I hadn’t updated.

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