As a Digital Literacy Coach it is my job to help teachers find ways to transform learning in their classrooms. Recently I worked with the Lower School art teacher to create a project that brought together content learning, art and technology. It was an example of best practice in using technology for transformation in learning. Students had been working on a PYP (Primary Years Programme from the International Baccalaureate) unit of inquiry in which they were studying natural disasters and pollution, specifically focussing on water, in both English and Spanish classrooms, since we have a fully bilingual program. As a part of common unit planning for our school, special teachers (art, PE, music) are involved in planning each unit, along side of the general classroom teachers.
For this project I was approached by the art teacher, Jeri, who wanted to do something different with her 3rd grade classes. She had used stop motion in the past but it was a cumbersome project because students used digital cameras, transferred the images to their computers and then used iMove to create their videos. We began to explore other options and settled on Stop Motion Studio , a free app. We borrowed five iPads from the classroom teacher and divided students into six groups. Guided by Jeri, students had already created the visuals for their stop motion water project. She taught them about depth, perspective and everything else they would need from the artist point of view. The ideas for each team’s projects came from their investigations in English and Spanish. It was my job to show them the basics of using the app. After a short tutorial on the app we set the kids free to create.
Students were creative in ways we had not even thought of, quickly moving beyond the basics and downloading the app on iPads at home to hone their skills. There were able to synthesize knowledge and present it in a new and creative manner. I found this project to be a perfect example of how technology transforms learning. Four teachers, each experts in a particular area, guided students in the process of knowledge creation. The students then used this knowledge to create an original, authentic product which they shared with classmates, administrators and teachers. I can honestly say students were engaged and learning as well as having fun.
Often parents ask which apps I recommend so their children are learning and not just playing on the iPad. I would highly recommend Stop Motion as a content creation app that can inspire creativity.