This morning in the AT&T Classroom the Walls second graders explored three design and animation tools.
Scratch Jr. is a free app developed for young children ages 5+ by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. The app engages children in using an introductory programming language to create animations, interactive stories and games.
Children combine graphical programming blocks to animate characters to move, jump, dance, and sing. Children are also able to customize the characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, and insert photos of themselves. In addition to introductory programming and coding skills, Scratch Jr. also supports the development of skills related to sequencing and numeracy while also fostering children's’ creative and critical thinking. The app is available for free download from the itunes store and Google Play.
Toontastic is a free iOS app that allows children to draw, animate and share cartoons. The app offers several adventure themes that include backgrounds and characters for children to use to create their animated story.Children are also able to add audio to their story by recording their own voices.
On Wednesday the students were introduced to Sock Puppets and continued to explore the app today. Sock Puppets is a free iOS app that allows students to explore creative storytelling by creating lip-synced puppet shows that can be shared on the ipad or via Facebook or YouTube. Children are able to select from a variety of hand puppet characters as well as themed backgrounds to create their own unique show.
Using design and animation tools to create digital stories and media provides opportunities for children to further develop their literacy skills (e.g., reading, writing, speaking & listening) and also builds important twenty-first century skills for critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.