Friday, October 31, 2014

Software for the Classroom: Review of Animation-ish

Ages: Kindergarten through grade twelve 

Content Areas: Cross Curricular

Cost: Varies depending on the license purchased. More pricing information can be found on their website. Of note, a 15 day free trial is also available.

Technical Requirements: Animation-ish can be run on Windows, Mac, and Drawing Tablets

Description: One of my personal all-time favorite children’s authors has launched an award-winning software program titled Animation-ishPeter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator behind the incredible titles IshThe Dot and The North Star. Mr. Reynold has moved beyond books and into the digital space with the launch of Animation-ish, which is described as “an easy-to-use animation software program that inspires creativity and enables children to show what they know.” Students can use this program as an alternative to writing a story (allowing a teacher to asses ability regardless of writing or graphomotor challenges), to create a presentation (which could be of benefit for students with language difficulties) or to animate a project. 

Not only will your students be able to bolster their digital literacy skills by learning how to independently create their own animations, but they can use it a medium to demonstrate their knowledge across curricular areas. As such, this would be an invaluable tool for teachers trying to embody the "multiple means of expression" aspect of Universal Design for Learning or differentiated instruction. Furthermore, embedded into the software program are a number of curricular based activities that they have aligned to the national educational standards

Technology has always been a professional interest of mine and, as a teacher, I would attempt a video or animation project with my class each year. However, so many of the video creation tools available are really designed for professionals, which can be a barrier to implementation in the classroom. What Animation-ish does is provide a child-friendly, simple way to have your students demonstrate their learning via video creation. This will serve as a highly motivating way for learners to showcase what they know, especially when compared to traditional assessment measures such as tests, papers or physical projects.

If you are curious about what this software can do, or apprehensive about the tech skills you must possess to integrate this modality into your classroom,  the team behind Animation-ish has published an exceptional Quick Start guide. Furthermore, professional development is a critical aspect of learning a new tool and a variety of lessons on how to use the different features of the program have made available on the Animation-ish website in order to help you. Beyond this resource, Mr. Reynold also offers a variety of tools for creating a creative classroom, which you may want to explore.  Most are literacy based and infuse elements of high quality art.

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