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Automatoon: Create HTML5 animations

What it is: Oh. My. Word.  I’m slowly but surely making my way through my Google Reader and stumbled on a post by @rmbyrne on his EXCELLENT blog Free Tech 4 Teachers about Automatoon.  I immediately started playing with Automatoon and cannot say enough about how COOL it is!  Automatoon makes it simple for students (or teachers) to create animations within a web browser.  My very favorite part? It was built-in HTML5!! Do you know what that means? It works on iDevices (like the iPad and iPod touch).  A non-flash animations site! Pure genius.  This is one of the easiest animation programs I have seen.  Students can draw characters in pieces (kind of like a puppet or paper doll) and then create points where the pieces connect.  The drawings can animate by moving, bending or adding pieces to the picture.  SO cool!  After watching the demo video, I think even young students could have Automatoon mastered in no time.  The tools built into Automatoon are pretty robust for what a simple program it is to use.  Your students will look like animation masters, bringing their creations to life.  When students are finished creating their animations, they can download them as a zip file to be uploaded to any site.  There are two ways to login, students can login with a “throwaway” login that will not save their animation (but will let them create and download a quick animation) or login with a Google account.  This is fantastic for schools that take advantage of Google apps for education! How to integrate Automatoon into the classroom: Kids of all ages love cartoons and animations, Automatoon gives them the tools to be the creator of those cartoon animations.  Students can create animations to animate processes in science (think the water cycle, plant life cycle, rock cycle, etc.), vocabulary words (in either native language or a second language), animate a piece of creative writing, animate a persuasive argument (think advertisement), animate a “book report”, animate solving a math problem, animate a story problem or animate an event in history.  The possibilities are really endless on this one, students will only be limited by their imaginations. Automatoon is easy enough to use that with a little pre-planning, students could create animations in 5-10 minutes.  This is handy for those situations where you have one or two computers in the classroom or a limited time in a computer lab.  After learning how to use Automatoon, students can quickly create animations to illustrate learning.  Automatoon is a FANTASTIC little tool for your visual learners…they will “get” it. Are your students having a hard time understanding a math or science concept or a vocabulary word?  Why not create an animation that illustrates the concept/word and share it on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer?  The animation can be saved on the classroom website so that students can go back and access it throughout the year. If you have a classroom website or wiki you could create a classroom animation collection.  Students can upload their creations to the class site for a great collection of learning.  It would be neat to animate sight words (Snapwords style), math or science vocabulary and create a visual “glossary” online that all of your students have contributed to.  Classes can add to it every year or you can work with other classes around the world to create a collaborative glossary.  This would also be a great tool to aid students in creating their own “e-textbooks” about any subject.  Students can create animations to embed in their other research, reflections and links. Way cool. Tips: Be sure to watch the intro video (above) to get a 5 minute low down on how to use Automatoon…very useful! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Automatoon in your classroom!

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HIP2B²: Science/Math edutainment magazine and videos

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, inspiration, Interactive book, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 11-02-2011

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What it is: HIP2B² is an edutainment site that aims to show students that subjects that are generally labeled as “difficult” or “hard” can be fun and are important to our future success. HIP2B² is a website, digital magazine, and TV show that work to equip learners with vital life skills including analytical thinking, problem solving, and a curious mindset.  The goal is to encourage curiosity in science and math in everyday life.  The magazine is a high-quality quarterly publication that is free to view online, the magazine uses the Issuu platform for the digital viewing.  You can see an example of the digital HIP2B² embedded above. The TV show can be viewed online, powered by YouTube.

How to integrate HIP2B² into the classroom: The HIP2B² videos and digital magazine are a fantastic way to invigorate a sense of curiosity and discovery in your students.  The digital magazines are really well done, students will eagerly read through them.  Each of the digital magazines is focused on a science or math topic such as mysteries, senses, the environment, technology, origins, animals, safety, food, intelligence, and much more.  Students can view the digital magazines all the way back to June 2007.  Use the digital magazines as inspiration for science and math inquiry.  Students can read through the digital magazines on a classroom computer set up as a reading center, as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer, or individually in a lab setting.   Do your students get silent reading time in class? Allow them to use the computers to read through the HIP2B² digital magazine.

In the video section, students can learn about “tricks” of science like invisibility cloaks and floating paperclips or more serious science like nanotechnology and extreme weather.  These videos can be used to introduce a topic or science/math concept or to illustrate a concept.

Are your students working on science and math that encourages analytical thinking, problem solving, and curiosity? Why not have them create their own HIP2B² inspired digital magazine.  Students can put together their own magazine using any word processing or publishing program and upload the finished product to Issuu to share with the world.

Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building, you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning.  Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. UseKeepVidYouTube DownloaderHDKick YouTubeSaveVid, or Zamzar.  Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url.  The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using HIP2B² in your classroom!

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