If I had to choose just five apps to have in a classroom, Book Creator would be at the top of my list. Whether your students are four or fourteen, there is something about this app that is perfect for the classroom. Maybe it’s the blank slate you begin with, open possibilities, and ease of embedding your own pictures. But this app is all about creation.
So what could this app be used for?
1.) Portfolios. Each student starts a book at the start of the school year and adds a page over time. Recording their thoughts with the sound tool, taking photos of their work, or even typing a reflection. At the end of the year? Publish the book to iBooks and the student can keep their portfolio.
2.) Exploring Books. Snap a few pictures of a book that the class has read, and younger students could put them into Book Creator, in sequence, and add sound clips of retelling the story.
3.) Diary of a Field Trip. Take pics at your field trip and upload to Google Photos (my favorite way to sync my phone photos across devices). Kids can choose from the album, screen shot them, and create their own story about the field trip.
4.) Engineering Journal. Doing a big project? Students can document their steps and reflect along the way using a page each step of the way. Photos to capture the work. Videos to talk about struggles along the way. How great would it be for others to be able to see and hear the thinking that went into a student’s work?
5.) Math Stories: Because Book Creator is so simple to use, I think it opens itself up to being a great place for kids to practice thinking skills like drawing visuals to help solve problems or using the Comics feature to create a math story.
Even your youngest students will be creating in no time with this app and that’s why it’s always going to be on a my “must have” list. So many apps in education are nothing more than a worksheet. But Book Creator is a blank slate just waiting for creativity. And the possibilities are only limited to you and your students’ imaginations.
iStopMotion is one of those great apps. You know, the kind that are soooo easy to use, yet offer so many possibilities for learning and collaboration? Best of all? It involves hands on creativity to design the movie set and characters.
It’s great because it has an overlay, as in the purple clay man show below, so students can see where the object was last placed. It really helps students to know where to begin again with their object. The trick is to keep your iPad stable and set up a background using file folders stapled together or papers attached to the wall.
Please don’t limit students to just few ideas. Introduce the app, allow them time to explore and play, and then ask them what they could create. One question might inspire the next feature film in your classroom. Keep collaboration at a maximum by having each group member have a specific role, such as Producer, to move the objects, Director, to set up the scene and be sure story is followed, and Camera Operator, to click. Students could even work on storyboarding their movie before creating to save time in production and produce a more thoughtfully planned project.
So how can you use iStopMotion in the classroom? Here are some ways to get started in the elementary or primary classroom…
Character Project: After reading a favorite book, students can draw the setting. Then, students draw the character on cardstock and cut him or her out. Moving the character around on the background will work just like an old style cartoon!
Fractionator: Fractions are often hard to visualize. What if students design a movie to demonstrate fractions for younger learners, then invite them to your classroom and show them. Imagine a pizza made from clay that divides into fractions. Or, imagine what students could come up with if you asked, “How do fractions help us?”
Lego: A bucket of minifigs, a pile of blocks, and 5 minutes in a team to create a story? Then the app opens and students are writing, creating, and collaborating. The story could demonstrate challenging vocabulary words, character words, or even scientific concepts. Kids will think outside the box when it comes to Lego blocks and iStopMotion.
Patterns: Create a video that shows a pattern being built with blocks, manipulatives, food, or even paper objects.
Historical Stories: Imagine sculpting a tiny Lincoln for the Gettysburg Address? What about recreating man walking on the Moon? Whatever time period, it gets more interesting when turning it into a feature film. Ask students, “How might an event change the course of history?”
Measure It: Imagine if a tiny clay inchworm crawled up a ruler, one inch at a time, to measure objects in the classroom. It would not only reinforce how to measure, counting, and creativity, it would be fun to watch each other’s videos and see what was measured.
And if your students get hooked on stop motion video? Here are some fun videos that will inspire them….
Yes. Love is a strong word, but it’s almost Valentine’s Day. And these apps? I DO love them so much I kind of want to marry them. They are great. Why? Because they are not about consumption. They are about creation. Open ended apps that put the power of the iPad in the hands of the students, encouraging the REAL power of learning to come from their own thinking. What will your students create?
Easy Blogger Jr.
Easy Blogger Jr. is an interface for Blogger. It allows you to use a basic Blogger site for students to upload and share content to. The apps is also available to work with WordPress and Edublog. This app encourages students to reflect, share, ask each other questions, compare their thinking to other students thinking, and practice being responsible global citizens. Students can post photos, videos, and record voice overlays.
Such a simple app. It does just what is says… create a book. But there is so much more here. Add photos, videos, drawings, creations from other apps, text, sounds, and even pictures of projects. This app could be the start of student portfolios, weekly journals, creative poetry books, a place for students to write stories, and even non-fiction books to teach others. Even better? The books can be published to iBooks, enhancing students ability to see how their content can be authentically shared with the world in iTunes.
I have tried every drawing app out there. My own iPad is filled with apps that I’ve tried to find to rival my Sharpie and paper doodling love. Then? I tried Drawing Pad. I love it because of the options. An array of supplies to inspire students in various paints, markers, and more. Text can be added, or the drawings can be exported to other apps as photos.
The iPad is a great classroom camera, but we typically don’t print those photos or have an easy way to display. Here comes PicCollage… a great way for students to display their photos, add text, and even put a video clip. It’s a great introduction to digital media for young learners, and a flexible tool for the tech savvy kiddos looking for more.
If I had Popplet when I was a kid, I would have loved taking notes. The visual delight of the little bubbles, organized in web form to break down information, makes my heart sing. Popplet can be used to organize story elements during creative writing, taking notes during research, creating a simple timeline, and even organizing a project into parts.
Is this every app I love? Nope. But you know what? When it comes to apps, less is more. There are millions of apps available, and it’s easy to think of them like Valentine chocolates… you can’t have to many. But the really rich, delicious truffle apps that feed your brain and creativity? Just a few of the right ones, and your students creativity will make your heart sing!