Archives for May 2015

More Talking Objects? Yes– With Yakit Kids!

Yakit_iconYakit Kids is an app by Freak’n Genius that lets students take photos of inanimate objects, give them faces, and make them talk. It is similar to Chatterpix Kids, which I have also featured on this blog, but it has some added functions that make it another good choice for animated videos, the most important one being that students can create multiple scenes in one Yakit Kids Video.

How Does YakIt Kids Work?

The app opens with a very obvious “Start New” button that prompts students to begin.

IMG_1630Students can then take a photo using the camera on the iPad, choose a photo from their camera roll, or search the Web for an image. Image search, however, is considered an “Adult” feature. A warning is provided and the added step of “press-and-hold” is required in order to do a Web photo search. Each time I attempted to do a Web search, however, I got a “Search Failed” notice even though my wifi was fully connected. Student can also start with a pre-created scene.Yakit_add_photosOnce the photo is taken or selected, students are then taken to a screen where they will add a mouth. They can create a mouth on something that already has amouth, or they can choose from three pre-created mouths. If students swipe up while on this screen, they will also see different eyes and noses they can add. They will also be able to add a talking character, animated special effects, and props to their scene.
Yakit_MouthIMG_1638If students choose to create their own mouth, they will zoom the photo to line up with the mouth. The photo will get very large and it will seem awkward, but it’s supposed to be large. Tap the “next” button in the upper right-hand corner to adjust the movement of the mouth. Each of the dots moves separately along the mouth, and the chin line can be adjusted up or down. This all controls how the mouth moves in the next phase of recording voice. Students can also test what the mouth will look like when it talks by holding the “test” button at the right. The small inset photo provides a demo.Yakit_test_buttonStudents can continue to add characters, facial features, props and special effects until they are satisfied with the scene, and then they press the green record button. They get a 3-second countdown, and they can record a scene for 30 seconds.Yakit_recordOnce students are finished recording, they will hear a preview of the recording. They can play the scene again by pressing the play button in the middle of the screen. They are also able to delete the scene if they wish, edit the scene by adding additional elements (which requires them to record the scene again after they edit), re-record the voice, change the pitch of the voice, or add a new scene. If they add a new scene, they will go through the entire process again. This puts together multiple segments of Yakits within the same video– an added bonus!IMG_1644When students are finished entirely, they tap the green “next” button and they are then able to save the video to the camera roll. Students can tap “more” and they will get the “adults only” warning. “More” allows students to upload finished products to multiple other apps such as Google Classroom, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, or other apps that use video such as iMovie or Explain Everything.

Yakit_adultsIMG_1643

 Common Core Connection

Along with being fun for students to use, Yakit Kids can help students to improve their communication skills while they exercise their creativity. Students are able to use the app to show what they know about a topic or a concept they are learning about. Specific Common Core Anchor Standards include:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Writing standards can also be addressed using Yakit if the teacher requires students to write a script before recording. This is always a good idea because it allows students to rehearse before recording, and it also provides students an opportunity to organize their thoughts before trying to record off-the-cuff.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried Yakit Kids? How are you and your students using it in the classroom?

A Challenge: Let’s Stop Pretending and #makeschooldifferent

makeschooldifferentI was challenged by Jessica Vannasdall (@mrsvannasdall) to write a post on what educators need to stop pretending in order to #makeschooldifferent. Here are my five:

Let’s stop pretending that homework in its current typical form is important or necessary. When done right, homework can be a good thing. But it usually isn’t done right and it’s either busy work or too frustrating to help kids improve. Rethink homework.

Let’s stop pretending that we don’t have time to change our practice. There will never be a good time to make a change, but it has to happen. We can not continue to teach today the same way we did a few years ago. It’s a different world. Change it up.

Let’s stop pretending that our students are “Digital Natives” and we are anything but. I wish this term could be stricken from the record. It creates an excuse that doesn’t need to exist and it needs to go away. We are all capable of learning to use technology in order to redefine what happens in our classrooms. Take the risk.

Let’s stop pretending that our students will take risks if we don’t. We have to be the role models for our students and for our colleagues. Risk taking is growth, and if we want our students to grow, we have to show them that we are growing, too. It’s ok to be scared. But jump in anyway.

Let’s stop pretending that we can do this alone. We can’t teach on isolated islands anymore. There are hundreds of thousands of teachers “out there” who are looking to collaborate, share ideas, and who want to make the world a smaller place. Our students want to collaborate, too. Make time to get connected. Reach out. You won’t be sorry.

I’m a little late to the challenge, so if you have already been challenged I apologize in advance. I challenge my friends Pablo Diaz @teachusingtech, Holly Steele @hollybsteele, Ann Kozma @annkozma723, Catherine Cabiness @ms_cabiness, and Sabba Quidwai @askMsQ. How would you like to #makeschooldifferent?