A Fever You’ll Want to Catch – #flipgridfever!

flipgridHolding an online discussion is a great way to get all of your students participating in a conversation. It helps keep all students accountable, but online discussions often lack the personal connection of seeing the person you are talking to. With Flipgrid, students can have an online discussion using short videos, which allows them to see one another (and you) as they engage in discourse.

How Does It Work?

Flipgrid is a “video discussion platform” designed to allow student to easily engage in recorded conversations. There are two key terms in Flipgrid: Grid and Topic. A Grid is what you will create for your class, and your Grid houses all of your Topics for that class. Within a topic, you will have multiple student Responses. If you sign up for the always free Flipgrid One account, you will be able to create one Grid, but within that grid you can create unlimited topics. You also have unlimited student Responses for 15 or 90 seconds. Upgrading to a one-year subscription allows you to create an unlimited number of Grids, and it allows your students to respond to one another (in addition to other great reasons to upgrade). You can see the product comparison here.

When you’re ready to start a conversation, you create a new topic, which is your prompt. You can include video or images in your question/prompt to better engage your students. Students will then click the big green + sign to begin responding.  They can also add fun stickers and drawings to their videos. Alternatively, students are able to upload a video they have already created and have stored on their device. Here’s a great example of a topic prompt along with student responses from Flipgrid’s Explorer Series.

Sharing a Grid or Topic with others is simple. Just click on Actions and choose Share. Then you’ll get a few different sharing options including a ready-made QR code or a link to add your topic to Google Classroom. If you’re using the iOS or Android apps on your mobile devices, have students launch the app and type in the Gride Code provided to access the grid and then navigate to the topic.FullSizeRender

Common Core Connection

Flipgrid can be used to help students achieve mastery in all of the Speaking and Listening anchor standards as they participate in conversations with diverse partners, evaluate points of view, present their information effectively, and adapt their speech for different purposes. If your students need to practice their writing skills in addition to their speaking and listening skills, you may want to have students script their response before recording it. Student responses can also be used as formative assessment, either as self-assessment or for peer feedback (if students are able to respond to one another’s videos). You are also able to provide feedback to students in order to help them progress toward their learning goal. And with Flipgrid, you and your students can have fun at the same time!

What Do You Think?

Any way you slice it, Flipgrid is a great tool to use for students to engage in conversations about pretty much anything!

How have you caught #flipgridfever? Share your ideas in the comments! Or, better yet, share your ideas on this Grid!

3 Simple Steps to Go from Book Creator App > Drive > Different iPad

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 6.42.04 PMDriveI’m really excited about the new publish feature that is available in Book Creator App, but I recognize that not everyone wants to publish their books online. Saving your books from Book Creator App to Drive is a great way to provide access for others to read your book without having to publish to the world, but there are a few simple steps your readers will need to take in order to download and read the books on their iPads.

First, Get Your Book into Drive and Share It

  1. In Book Creator App, tap the “sharrow.” Choose the “Export as ePub” option. Then slide through until you find “Drive.”IMG_3036IMG_3037
  2. Once the book has been uploaded to Drive, tap the 3-dot menu to the right of the item. Choose either “Add People” if you want to share with specific users, or “Get Link” if you want to share a link with a larger audience. IMG_3039

Get Link

If you share the link by choosing “Get Link”, your users will have to follow the next steps if they want to view the book on an iPad or iPhone. The easiest way to share the link is by creating a QR code. I prefer i-nigma.com. You can also shorten the link to make it less cumbersome to type by using bitly.com, tinyurl.com, or goo.gl.

  1. Scanning a QR code or clicking on the link will bring up a screen that looks like this:IMG_3031
  2. Tap the 3-dot menu at the top right of the screen.From Skitch
  3. Choose Open-In, and then scroll through to find iBooks or Book Creator App. (*choosing book creator app allows you to copy the book and either add it to an existing book or open it as its own book, but the new book will be editable)IMG_3035

Add People

If you share with specific people by choosing “Add People,” they will follow similar steps.

  1. Locate the item in “Shared with Me.”
  2. Tap the 3-dot menu to the right of the item.From Skitch
  3. Choose Open In, and then scroll through to find iBooks or Book Creator App (see image and text in step 3 above).

That’s it! A few simple steps will have your readers in awe of your authoring ability in no time!

What Do You Think?

What are some ways you have used Book Creator App with students? Have you shared books using Drive yet?

Virtual Field Trips on your iPad with Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions iconGoogle Expeditions are an amazing way to take students to far away places and have them feel like they are really there. When they first launched, Expeditions could be accessed via smartphone and by using Google Cardboard viewers. I kept holding out hope that someday there would be a solution for iPad users, and now there is. Google recently launched Expeditions for iPads, which allows students to take an Expedition just by moving the iPad side to side, up and down, and all around.

How Do Expeditions Work?

The video below shows you how to access, launch, and lead an Expedition from the teacher’s point of view.

If you’d prefer having a document instead of a video, a great resource for using Expeditions on the iPad can be found at blog.edtechnocation.com. According to the author, Michael Fricano II (@EdTechnocation), you are free to download and share the resource he created.

Expeditions are searchable from within the Expeditions app, but it can be overwhelming to scroll through all of the hundreds of available Expeditions and/or search with the right key terms. A neat solution is to search for an Expedition based on location using this world map that can be found on Mr. Caffrey’s blog (which is currently being updated to reflect the newer Expeditions that have been added to the app).

What Do You Think?

How have you used Expeditions in your classroom? What has been the reaction of your students?

Spark Student Creativity with @AdobeSpark Post

Adobe Spark Post app iconWe’ve all seen print ads containing beautiful images with visually appealing text, right? A cool poster advertising a sale? A quote by someone famous or not-so-famous? Of course we have. These types of professional-looking images are everywhere! The good news is, there’s a free app for the iPad (and for the Web!) that students can use that allows them to create their own visually appealing, professional-looking images. The app is one third of of Adobe’s Spark trio: Adobe Spark Post.

How Does It Work?

Adobe Spark Post couldn’t be easier to use. When students are ready to create their image, they just tap the big plus sign at the bottom and choose a background style. Students are able to use solid backgrounds, images they have in their photo library, take a photo directly in the app, or they can search the free Public Domain photos that the app already has available (not recommended due to potential lack of image filtering).Adobe Post Start ScreenStudents then choose the style of image they would like to use by scrolling along the different options (social posts, social profiles, or standard). Once students have selected a size, they tap the Done button and will be immediately taken to the text editor.Adobe Post Select SizeDouble tap the text and type in the quote or message that you would like to appear first. When that text is selected, different tools will appear across the bottom of the screen. Students can change the font, the color and opacity of the text, the shape and alignment of the text, and the spacing of the text. Experiment with those buttons and see what they do :).Adobe Post Text EditorDrag the bubbles on the corners of the text to resize the text box. If students wish to change the number of lines the text is on, double tap on the text box, move the cursor to the desired break, and tap return. That will move some of the text to a new line.

If students wish to add another line of text, tap the A+ in the top menu. A next text box will be added that can be edited just like with the other text box.adobe_post_3

Spark Post images can be animated. Once students have finished editing the text, tap on the Animation option to see all the options for animating text. Even if an animation is selected, it can always be changed or removed.

When students are ready to share the Post, they tap the share button in the top right. The share options include saving to camera roll and sharing to apps such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, and more.

Common Core Connection

Using Spark Post is a great way to support the Common Core State Standards. Thinking specifically about craft and structure, two anchor standards are as follows:

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

Students can identify sentences, quotes, words and phrases and create an image that uses the sentence, quote, word or phrase. Students would then save the image to the camera roll and import it into another app that would allow for an explanation. For example, students might identify a quote from a story and create a Post. Then they would import that post into Adobe Spark Video and explain their analysis of why this particular phrase was used in the text. They could also export to Google Docs in order to write their analysis or choose another app that would allow them to explain their analysis.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Adobe Spark Post in your classroom with students? Let us know in the comments below!

Fun with @Ozobot Olympics in #lhcsd

FullSizeRenderThis summer I made it my mission to bring computer science to the students and teachers involved with our Summer Academy. The theme of the Summer Academy was the Olympics, and the district coaches compiled units for each grade level that included GLAD strategies, Thinking Maps, Project Based Learning, and technology. I wanted to include lessons using the Ozobots, and I knew it had to be connected to our summer curriculum. Enter, Ozobot Olympics.

The Idea and The Games

Coding Ozobot to Follow a Path

After attending a webinar hosted by Ozobot featuring Richard Born, I was inspired to find a way to create a race of some sort that would involve a code that would be loaded into multiple Ozobots. The Ozobots would then travel along paths that were similar but different enough to mean that one Ozobot would “win” the race by arriving at the end first. I chose to call it an Equestrian race. After observing the first Equestrian race, students would then create a similar code in order to have their Ozobots partake in a 50-meter “swim.”

Coding Ozobot in Free Movement

I also wanted to include some activities where students would program Ozobots in free-movement mode. The first activity I created was Ozobot Golf. In Ozobot Golf, students are given 4 different pages that have a hole in different locations on the page. Each page also includes a sand trap and a water hazard. The goal is for students to get Ozobot to the hole using the fewest code blocks possible and by avoiding the hazards. If Ozobot travels through either hazard or touches a hazard, students gain a point. If Ozobot lands in a hazard on its way to the hole, students gain 2 points. The player with the lowest number of points at the end of the 4 holes is the winner. Each hole has a par score indicated based on the number of code blocks it took me to get Ozobot into the hole.

The last activity I created was Ozobot Gymnastics. This activity begins with the viewing of a video of a 2012 Olympic floor routine performed by a gymnast from Russia. In the routine, she steps out of bounds twice, but still executes some incredible tumbling passes and some dance moves. During the lesson, the students and I discussed which of Ozobots codes would symbolize tumbling (movement blocks) and which would symbolize dancing (light effects). We talked about how the gymnasts do dance moves interspersed with tumbling blocks and how they lose points for stepping out of bounds. The students were then tasked with creating a 1-2 minute routine using a certain number of blocks with the ultimate goal of not touching the line or going over the line of the gymnastics floor that I provided for them. For extra fun, students could set their routines to free music from websites such as incompetech.com and jamendo.com.

The Lesson Progression

Due to time constraints and the number of students who already had experience using Ozobots, (not many!) the progression of lessons changed dramatically from when I first envisioned the Ozobot Olympics. I had wanted to visit each classroom 4-5 times, but it turned out that the most we could do was 3 one-hour classroom visits. In the first visit, students became acquainted with Ozobots and learned to program them using markers and paper. In the second lesson, students experimented with coding Ozobot using Ozoblockly.com. Half way through that lesson, we watched the video of the gymnastics routine and students began planning their routine for the gymnastics competition. In the third lesson, students were given 25 minutes or so to solidify and test the Ozobot gymnastics routine as well as identify some instrumental music on incompetech.com that they could use to accompany the routine. The last half-hour of the lesson was reserved for the elimination competition.

The Outcome

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly all of the students learned to program Ozobot using Ozoblockly. For some students, the paper and marker coding was more challenging because the Ozobot wouldn’t always follow their codes. Sometimes students didn’t put the colors in the correct order, and that was slightly frustrating for them when Ozobot wouldn’t do what they had wanted it to do. However, when we moved to the iPads to use ozoblockly.com, they all did a phenomenal job. Students were completely engaged the entire time we were using the Ozobots. They persevered through learning how to calibrate the Ozobot, which is not such an easy task. They wrote and re-wrote programs for the gymnastics competition multiple times. For me, the biggest win is that the teachers were excited about using the Ozobots and they want to find ways to purchase a set for their own classrooms for the next school year.

Want to see the Ozobot Olympics in action? Check out my Snapchat Story video:

Make Videos more Engaging with @EDpuzzle

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 2.31.37 PMUsing video in the classroom to help teach ideas is not a new concept. Teachers are now using videos found on the Web or creating videos for students to use as part of a flipped or blended classroom. For many students, learning through video is a relatively passive activity. They might take notes if they’ve been required to do so, but those notes may not capture the intended learning. How can teachers solve this problem? Enter: EDpuzzle, a web-based tool that allows you to embed voice-overs and questions into pre-made videos. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see an example.

How Does EdPuzzle Work?

After registering for an EDpuzzle account, you will be guided through creating your first EDpuzzle. You’ll be asked to choose a video from one of a variety of channels, including YouTube, LearnZillion, Vimeo, and more.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.12.15 PM

You can search for a video just by clicking through and exploring what is available in the channels, or you can type some specific content into the search bar. Once you’ve found a video you want to use, click on the Use It button (to immediately begin editing the video) or Copy (to save it to your content). By clicking “Use It,” you will enter the editing area, and you will begin in the cropping section. This is where you can trim the beginning or ending of the video you are going to use. Some of the videos available are quite long and you may need to crop the beginning or the end. Of course, if you upload your own videos you most likely won’t need to crop the video. *Pro tip: record a few extra seconds on the end of your video so that your voice won’t get cut off at the end the way mine did!

EdPuzzle Toolbar

You can click on any of the icons at any time throughout the process to toggle between cropping, inserting questions, or inserting audio tracks.

Each time you click on a new icon, there will be help text to guide you along the way, and it will also offer you a short video to watch the process.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.16.00 PMThe real key to using EdPuzzle is adding questions throughout the video to check for understanding and to see how students are thinking about the content. There are two types of questions you can add– open-ended questions and multiple choice questions. You can also add a comment. Adding a comment means that the video will pause and students will read your comment on the section. Then they get the opportunity to re-watch the previous part or continue to the next part of the video. Just click the Questions icon, play the video or drag the playhead to the point where you want to add the question, and click on the green question mark at the bottom of the screen.Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 2.41.55 PMIn addition to being able to add in assessment to the video itself, you can prevent students from skipping through the video and only answering the questions if you choose to do so. In your teacher dashboard, after your students have registered for the class you will create when you “Finish” your video, you’ll be able to view student data to determine who watched the entire video and who skipped through parts.Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 2.54.05 PM

If you use Google Classroom, you are still able to assign EDpuzzle videos by creating an assignment and including the link as part of your assignment in Classroom. Taking this route, however, means that data from answering the questions won’t be saved.Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 2.56.14 PM

EDpuzzle offers a student iPad app for those classes that use iPads. Students are able to sign in using Google accounts, Edmodo accounts, or with an Edpuzzle account. Students do not need to have a valid email address to sign up. Once they’ve created their account they can enter your class code to access videos you’ve assigned the class.

If your school uses a Learning Management System such as Haiku Learning, you can embed your EDpuzzle videos directly into your class. When students go to watch the video, they can sign in and enter your class so that their progress is saved. If you use another Learning Management System you will probably have similar integration.

Common Core Connection

One of the great things about using a tool like EDpuzzle is that the videos you create or choose can help you to address standards, while the questions you ask can help you to quickly assess whether students are meeting the standard. You are able to customize the questions you ask your students, which means that you can also address questions of varying Depth of Knowledge levels. And, better yet– students are able to make their own EDpuzzle videos when you assign them a project to do! They locate a video based on a topic or upload a video they’ve made themselves, and then they have the same tools that teachers have to add comments and questions to a video. This will give students practice with asking purposeful questions about a text.

Here’s an example of an EDpuzzle I made to teach you how to use EDpuzzle.

What Do You Think?

Have you used EDpuzzle with students? Please share how you’ve used it. Links to videos would be awesome :).

The Padlet App: Great on the Web, Great on the iPad

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.27.33 PMPadlet is a fantastic online tool for communication, collaboration, and formative assessment. Now students who use iPads will have instant access to Padlet walls you create for them through the Padlet iPad app, and you’ll be able to create new walls for students in a snap.

How Does Padlet Work?

Padlet is like a digital bulletin board. Once your Padlet wall is created, you provide access to students so that they can post comments, images, videos and/or links on the Padlet wall. Among other ideas, Padlet can be used for

  • quick formative assessment of student understanding
  • crowdsourcing of information around a topic
  • Project GLAD Observation Charts
  • Response to a question or comment

Upon logging into Padlet, you will see your Dashboard. The image below identifies the different icons for you. Tap on one of your current Padlet walls to view the contents or Choose “New Padlet” in the upper left-hand corner to get started. You’ll notice the “Open” command at the top right– this is to scan a QR code or type in the URL for someone else’s Padlet wall.

Padlet login screen

If you do tap the Open button, the below image is what you will see. Students also see this screen when they launch the app and choose “Continue as Guest.” Tap “Scan QR Code” or just type in the URL on the line provided.IMG_1802

Once you do open or create a Padlet wall, you will see that the controls are *almost* identical to those that you see on the Web version. The biggest difference is the share button– that’s found at the bottom of the iPad screen.IMG_1783
To add content to your own wall, double tap anywhere on the wall or tap the plus sign in the bottom right-hand corner. If you want to add a link, photo, image, video, or any other type of link to your post, tap one of the icons at the bottom of the little post box.IMG_1781

When you are ready to share your wall, tap the share button at the bottom to see the various ways you can provide your students access to the wall.


If you want to feel good about yourself, tap on the “Me” icon at the bottom of the dashboard for a little treat. In addition to the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get inside, you’ll also be able to change your profile by tapping on the settings gear in the upper left.IMG_1785

Students can use the Padlet app without having an account. They will be able to access any Padlet walls by typing in the URL or scanning the QR code directly within the app by choosing “Continue as Guest,” but they will not be able to create their own walls. Also, if students tap on the settings gear at the bottom of the screen, it will appear as if they are able to make changes to the visual appearance of the Padlet wall. These changes only appear on the students’ own iPad and not on the Padlet wall itself. This allows students to customize their own view of of the Padlet wall but it does not interfere with what you have created.

Common Core Connection

Using Padlet can address many of the Common Core State Standards. Of course, this depends on the questions you ask and how you employ Padlet as a tool in the classroom. For example, at the end of a lesson or a class period, a Padlet wall could be created that asks students to discuss their learning from that day. They might be asked to post an image of their understanding, a video they’ve found that illustrates the standard they are working on, or a link to their work from the day. This quick formative assessment can be used to determine student needs for the following day. Additionally, Padlet allows students to communicate and collaborate quickly and easily using these spaces that you provide for them.

What Do You Think?

Have you used the Padlet app with students yet? What do you think of the app versus the online version?

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.


 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:

Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

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?

Lock Your Google Docs on the iPad

passcode_driveEvery so often, I’ll stumble upon something that’s not-so-new, and think to myself, “I cannot believe I didn’t notice this before!” Today was one of those days. As I was putting together slides for a presentation I’ll be doing at the Annual CUE Conference about Maximizing Google Drive for the iPad, I tapped the settings gear instead of my name when trying to switch accounts. I’m so glad I did– I was quite thrilled by what I found.

Lock Your Docs!

If your students are sharing iPads and they are also using Google Drive, you might want to have each of your students place a passcode lock on their Drive. That way, other students will not have the ability to accidentally access another students’ work. Start by tapping the menu icon at the top left of the screen or by swiping the screen to the right to reveal the menu. Tap the settings gear icon next to the user’s name.IMG_1376The settings for the account will pop up in the center of the screen. Tap on Passcode Lock.

IMG_1377On the next screen, you will swipe the passcode lock to the on position.

IMG_1378You will then add a 4-digit passcode for the account. You will be prompted to enter it twice.

IMG_1379Once you have put in a passcode, you will be taken back to the passcode lock screen. This is the same screen where you started, but now there are some additional options, including Change Passcode if a user wants to change their code. Tap the “Always Lock” button and wait until you see a blue checkmark appear next to it.

IMG_1380Now you can tap on the back arrow and return to Drive. Any time there is a change in user or the account has been idle for 15 minutes, you will need to put the passcode in to access work in any of the Drive apps– Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive.

It’s important that students remember their 4-digit code, but if they do happen to forget the code, they can always remove the account from the device and start over again.

What Do You Think?

Are you using Google Drive on iPads with multiple users? Have you used the Passcode Lock feature?

Tell Animated Stories with (Now Free!) Toontastic

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.28.13 PMKids love to tell stories. I have found that their stories either go around and around in circles or they end abruptly rather than follow a plot sequence. The app, Toontastic, a storytelling app (that just went completely free!), addresses the “plot problem” in a simple way using cute, animated toys and lots of fun backgrounds as settings for stories.

How does Toontastic Work?

Toontastic is a free storytelling app by LaunchPad Toys, which was just acquired by Google. It has many different settings that students can use to tell their stories, or students can draw their own. There are also many characters, called toys, that students can use. The toys fit with the setting themes.

Toontastic walks the students through a basic plot sequence after they choose Create Cartoon.IMG_1196First, students decide whether they want to edit a story they’ve already started or if they want to create something new.IMG_1198Next, they set up the scenes in the story. Tap a section of the story arc, and the edit paintbrush and the trashcan appear. Notice the use of the red and green icons for editing or deleting– this is great touch for our youngest students.IMG_1197Students can create a scene and then record the animation and voices, or they can put the scenes together and record the animation once all the scenes are created. Each time a student adds a scene, they can choose the same setting as before, or they can choose an entirely new one. As students create scenes and finish recording them, the app returns to the Story Arc.   Characters can start on screen, or they can start off in the “wings,” and enter the scene as the student drags them in. Dragging characters animates them. Students can also resize their characters with their fingers by pinching or zooming on the characters.toontasticOnce a scene has been recorded, students will have the option of including background music. If they don’t want the music, they just tap the flashing arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Dragging the scene up or down increases the intensity level of music; for example, “frustrated” is the first level, but dragging the scene up increases the level to “enraged.”toontastic 2toontastic 4In addition to all of the background settings that already exist within the app, students are also able to use the camera to take photos. This way, they can pre-draw the story’s setting, or they can set their animated story in an actual location.

If you have used Toontastic previously, you’ll know that the only way to share ‘Toons was to upload them to ToonTube. Now, however, students can save their creations to the camera roll! I can’t even tell you how happy this makes me!This means they can app smash Toontastic into other apps. If you have Green Screen by Do Ink, student could also record their animations on a green background and use them in the Green Screen app. IMG_1195Students can save directly to camera roll from the start screen, as well. They just choose the share button underneath the video thumbnail, and as long as a recording has been done, the video will export immediately.

Common Core Connection

Common Core Writing Standard 6 has students using digital tools to produce and publish writing, and Speaking and Listening Standard 5 requires students to make strategic use of digital media in presentations. Using Toontastic helps to address both of these standards. Students are creating cartoon movies in this app, but in order to do so, they first must write the situation. There isn’t a length limit for the stories students create, which means that they could create a Toontastic story as a small part of a larger presentation. The app is simple and intuitive enough for the youngest students, but it can also be used to tell sophisticated stories, which makes it a winner for all of K-12.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Toontastic in your classroom?