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Secret Builders Update

What it is: I have reviewed Secret Builders virtual world before, but some new additions and features deserve another post.  Secret Builders is a virtual world for kids (8-12) that introduces them to fictional characters from history and literature.  Secret Builders has added a host of new historical characters that students can interact with including: Jane Austen, Bach, Alexander Bell, Emily Bronte, Confucius, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Hafez, Magellen, Omar Khxyam, Motzart, Issac Newton, Rumi, and Lao Tzu just to name a few.  Students can actually visit the historical figures house, learn more about them, interact with them by asking questions in a virtual chat (answered as the character would answer), and take a quiz to find out how much they know about the historical figure.  Secret Builders allows kids to get up close and personal with history in ways not previously possible.  It allows them to gain a better understanding of historical figures than a textbook offers.  Secret Builders has additional school friendly features like areas for students to write, collaboratively draw and share, and play educational puzzle games.  Secret Builders also has a great Internet safety quiz that tests students on their knowledge of what online behavior should look like.  Secret Builders has just added a Teacher’s Console where teachers can add and manage their students from one central location.  Teachers can also set up an online reward system for students where they can unlock special Secret Builder features by completing “quests” that you assign.  For example, you may be studying Thomas Edison in class.  You could send students on a quest to find and learn about Thomas Edison and give the reward to those students that correctly complete the quiz. How to integrate Secret Builders into the classroom: Secret Builders is an excellent way to bring history to life for your students.  They will understand historical and literary figures better as they interact with them in this virtual world.  Secret Builders is best in a lab setting where every student has access to a computer.  Be sure to sign your class up under a teacher account where you can control and monitor what students are expected to do in Secret Builders.  Encourage students to interact and “interview” the historical figures that they encounter.  They can then write an article about the historical figure for the Secret Builders virtual newspaper.  Secret Builders is a great first stop for learning about important figures in history.  It will leave them wanting more and excited to learn more about these interesting people in history. Tips: Secret Builders also has a program that is connected called “One for All” students can raise money for their school by answering math, logic, geography, and vocabulary questions. Leave a comment and share how you are using Secret Builders  in your classroom.

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Presenting Learning with Stop Motion Animation

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Create, inspiration, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Websites | Posted on 14-09-2011

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What it is:  At Anastasis Academy, we have some Stop Motion Animation PROS in the form of an eight year and ten-year old boy.  These brothers taught themselves how to use stop motion animation, proceeded to create several learning videos (without assistance from a teacher) and, if that wasn’t enough, went on to teach the rest of our students how to do it!  Incredible.  Nothing like starting the day with a little viral learning!  Today these two young boys stood before our junior high students (twelve to fourteen year olds) and taught them how to make a stop motion animation video.  The young boys are SO proud of their accomplishment and were incredibly articulate as they taught the older kids about stop motion, the programs that can be used for stop motion and talked about technique.  The older students followed along as the boys led them step-by-step through creating their own short stop motion video with a pencil or shoe.  The ten-year old then issued the jr. high a challenge: Create a stop motion video before the end of the school day to show me, I’ll give you tips on what you can improve on.  Above is one of the jr. high created videos that was presented.  It was incredible to stand back and watch kids teaching and leading kids this way.  The age difference was no barrier today!

Today, our students used the iMotion HD app on the iPad to create their stop motion animations.  This FREE app is powerful in the hands of creative kids!  The brothers have been using stop motion regularly to reflect on, or display learning.

The older of the two brother’s started learning stop motion using SMA (Stop Motion Animator) this is a free program that works using a PC, webcam and a whole-lotta (technical term) imagination.

For the Linux crowd, there is the free Stop Motion.

For the Mac crowd (cheers), there is the free Jelly Cam.

How to integrate Stop Motion into the classroom:  Stop Motion is a great way for students to create their own animated videos.  Students can use stop motion to display learning, as a way to reflect on learning, to tell a story, to demonstrate a time-lapse of a scientific process or just as a creative outlet.  Stop motion requires students to do some pre-planning.  First students have to decide what story they are trying to tell, next they have to decide how they are going to demonstrate that story visually, finally they need to move an “actor” frame by frame through the scene.  The results are pretty incredible (as you can see above).

Tips:Some tips from our Stop Motion PROS: Make sure not to move your actor too far each time or the end result will be choppy, make sure to move your hand out of the shot before snapping the picture, plan through your story BEFORE you start.

Check out our YouTube channel for more stop motion animation from our students.  The Bones, Gnome.Eaten.By.Jaws, and Anastasis Academy videos were all created by the 8-year-old! (P.S. The kids LOVE comments on their videos!)

This, my friends, is what happens when you give kids room to learn!  Onward.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Stop Motion Animation in  your classroom!

Comments (15)

I loved the video!! What an awesome edgy idea for the students!! Who knows someday they will be designing commercials for Mac!

This is awesome because it shows kids to start with a simple idea and simple tools. I love the use of the whiteboard. I will use this as an example for a project with my kiddos in Greeley!

Had these thoughts in my blog!! The challenge is getting the technology into the classroom!!

This is way too cool! It makes me want to do stop animation.

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Presenting Learning with Stop Motion Animation [...]

[...] Presenting Learning with Stop Motion – I went to a fabulous Stop Motion session when I was at ISTE in June.  Since then Stop [...]

Great stop motion work guys. I’ve been teaching stop motion to children for several years and have published an extensive guide to making stop motion movies (Stop Motion Handbook using GarageBand and iStopMotion). This may be useful to give you real confidence for your next movies. Check it out here – http://www.acumen.net.nz/pages/NMSSMHandbook.html

It’s very useful tutorial for stop motion. I like your video tutorial.

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[…] iMotion HD This has become one of our students absolute FAVORITE ways to document learning or progress. Students use iMotion HD to reflect on learning, tell a story, document scientific process, and as a creative outlet. Kids of all ages really love this app! http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4257 […]

[…] iMotion HD This has become one of our students absolute FAVORITE ways to document learning or progress. Students use iMotion HD to reflect on learning, tell a story, document scientific process, and as a creative outlet. Kids of all ages really love this app! http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4257 […]

[…] iMotion HD This has become one of our students absolute FAVORITE ways to document learning or progress. Students use iMotion HD to reflect on learning, tell a story, document scientific process, and as a creative outlet. Kids of all ages really love this app! http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4257 […]

[…] iMotion HD This has become one of our students absolute FAVORITE ways to document learning or progress. Students use iMotion HD to reflect on learning, tell a story, document scientific process, and as a creative outlet. Kids of all ages really love this app! http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4257 […]

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