Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Toontastic App for Writing, Communication, Emotions and ...FUN!

I saw the Toontastic App for the iPad yesterday. The SPED teacher showing it to me was very excited about it . This teacher has her students working on animated stories using this app. Here are the elements that made it popular with her and her students:

1. The "Story board" goes through the different stages of a story, they call a "Story Arc",  from setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution. Kids can create a scene that represents each element of a story. They can also reduce or expand the number of scenes representing these elements.

2. Students can select a setting background or draw their own background and save/catalog it.

3. They can pick "toys" which are the characters in the story to animate. They remind me of movable Play-mobile figures.There are several free ones and more can be purchased in themes of castle, sports, town, space, monsters, Halloween, pirates, etc. They can also draw their own characters, color them and catalog them in the character library.

3. Students start "rolling the camera" and move the characters, re-pose movable parts and read their script to create the scene.

4. Mood matching to Music: This was a HUGE plus to the teacher I visited with because she has students who cannot read emotion real well. The music step in the app has different emotions to select and then slide up or down for different music intensity/style that matches, i.e. friendly moves to loving to passionate. Each level has different classical music matching it and a cartoon icon with a cartoon face showing that emotion.

5. Once the scene is done they repeat the steps for the next element in their "Story Arc". It then packages it all together and asks them to name their movie and categorize it. They can either save locally on the iPad or post to an online account area for view by others.

The World:
Toontastic has a share feature on "Toontube"  that shows the globe and places all over where movies have been posted. I selected Madagascar and got an adventure movie  drawn and created by a student there. He did speak in English so you could understand it. Very cool. No one can contact the creators and no personal information is posted - just the nickname, name of movie and number of "likes". You can Share the video too so there is a social network aspect to it on a limited basis.

The teacher that shared this app with me says that her students are learning about cultures so they have been viewing videos created by kids from places they talk about. She is also excited to see students who are quiet and reserved verbally, using the app to talk and record their stories.
Initial download is free which includes the animator/player with limited scenes and characters to play with. More can be purchased in sets or the complete package can be added for $9.99. 
Check it out!

All the best,

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