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.
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!