16 May

Go Animate

I’m always on the lookout for tools that can support creativity, be practical for classroom use and use our Chromebooks.

Go Animate was shared with me via twitter and it has proven incredibly useful!

The online package provides all the tools needed to create simple animated video that can then be shared. You are given a variety of tools to add voice, customize your characters and to be as complex as you like.

We also have iPads, and whilst you can access some of the features on the iPad, it uses Flash and so you can’t really produce a finished product. However the online environment means that children can access it anywhere.

A quick look at their blog gives some great examples. You can get a feel for how the finished product will look.

 

Simple

The environment, once logged in, is easy to use and intuitive. For our first session I just let our Digital Leaders play with it and then give me their thoughts. They were enthusiastic and very keen to keep going. Digital Leaders are a standard way for us to introduce new software, the idea being that they get to grips with it and then can show the other children.

Needless to say they picked it up immediately, it was all very familiar to them and they really enjoyed the cartoon style. All of the controls, were available within a couple of clicks and the icons, instructions used were straightforward. It created a kind of stop motion type effect, which the children could easily improve uponwith practice. Dialogue could be typed in and then either recorded or voiced by the computer.

Whole Class Use

Moving into whole class use then was simple, I used it for our look at ‘bullying’ and the children had planned a simple storyboard. I stressed that they were to use a more simple approach to story telling and they created a plan to animate. They were then able to turn this into a simple movie.

The topics that we have looked at so far include the bullying movie and a look at the water cycle – and there were adequate resources on the site for this. No doubt there could be some improvements in characters available, but we haven’t fully investigated the whole customisation process yet.

 

 

Management

Management of the system is also easy – as a teacher I can change passwords, set up groups (for collaboration!) and then view all video that has been created. I set up the initial lot of passwords manually, but you can also input files. I also put the link on our Google Classroom Stream, which meant the pupils could also access from home. Which they have done!

 

I should point out that I took part in a free trial for this review – however I will be subscribing! If interested I will add some of the videos to this review later, alongside the children’s comments!

 

30 May

Hakitzu – stretch your pupils with JavaScript

Looking for inventive ways of stretching your pupils to develop their coding skills?

Hakitzu is a great game from Kuato Studios  which puts you in control of robots during combat.  The studio have been running a brilliant 100 Hours of Code programme  – visiting schools and using their game to show pupils and teachers how fun coding can be. And it is fun!!

The game introduces JavaScript , which may be more advanced than Primary children would normally go, so teachers can develop their own confidence at the same time. In the classroom the pupils enjoy the developing sense of competition and can get involved really quickly as it follows different levels of difficulty. You begin with a tutorial which allows movement easily with little coding – as the difficulty ramps up you need to use more code.

As with any app in the classroom there are some practical constraints (though this may change as the app updates)

  • an email and username is needed for the competitive element of the game – if the children have one they wish to use then great – or you can provide with names and made-up email (do try this first though in case that changes!)
  • The tutorial and initial sections of the app are easily accessible – and you could easily let them play with this first and then bring them back to see what they are finding difficult
  • to play the competitive elements the wifi in the class needs to be good…

images

Get it on ios here

On Android here

A great dropbox for Hakitzu resources here – lots of ideas here!

Read more from their blog here