AppSmashing with Different Apps and Different Minds

St. Clement’s School in Toronto goes MAD over creativity – Music, Art and Drama, that is! Every year, the St. Clement’s Junior School holds a celebration called “A Little MAD Day” where the three subjects become interactive workshops for the students. This year, iStopMotion for iPad was featured as one of the workshop options. Proving its popularity, 30 students grades four through six signed up for two sessions of introductory stop motion filmmaking.

“They blew me away with their ideas about animation and their intuition using the iPads,” says Adam Caplan, a teacher at St. Clement’s. “It’s a device that is ubiquitous in their lives outside of school, and the creativity and problem solving that goes into making these short animation stories is exactly the type of work we value.”

Adam has used iStopMotion in teaching several times over the past few years. He began using the program at his former school when an external group called Director’s Cut brought a field trip experience to his grade five and six classroom with a day-long iStopMotion workshop. The organization, whose purpose is to give young people a creative outlet for expression and creativity in the digital world, brought in MacBooks and video cameras, and they helped the students tell social justice stories with clay characters and construction paper box sets. The stories could be anything from fairness and bullying to elements of character or sticky-situation decision making. The stories were then edited into scripts and transformed into incredible iStopMotion animations. The students enjoyed the process so much that Adam continues to use iStopMotion with his current students.

This past MAD Day, Adam and students at St. Clement’s experimented with “AppSmashing,” a term he picked up from Greg Kulowiec at the iPad Summit held in Boston last fall with EdTechTeacher.

“It refers to workflows that involve more than one app,” Adam explains. “For example, students can type out a newscast in Pages, put the text into TouchCast for teleprompting and video recording, and then over to iMovie for editing and publishing to YouTube. Our AppSmash was iStopMotion, Dropbox and the Reflector App, which allows a Mac computer to act as an AirPlay terminal and show on the SMARTBoard the recording progress of six different groups at once so that others could watch these films being made.”

Using apps as educational tools in the classroom can be a great way to show students how much they can learn from the technologies surrounding them every day. Adam says that creating stop motion films to tell stories is a learning-rich task involving so many twenty-first century skills with a specific purpose and an authentic audience.

“Students work together, practicing negotiation and other team skills, developing literacy with media in terms of tool and form, combining art and writing through creative design and iteration, and – most importantly – by being able to create a tangible work product, they can reflect on their product and process during a screening event or private viewing gallery,” he says. “This year, we produced a grid of QR codes with links for students to ‘view their own adventure.’”

With a mix of different programs, different students from different grades and a multitude of different creative ideas, it seems like AppSmashing has positive effects in more areas than just technology! This idea is inspiring classrooms all over the globe to take learning to the next level; instead of only gaining knowledge from books and lessons, students are learning from their own mistakes, the peers they collaborate with, and their real life experiences. We love hearing about how iStopMotion is helping students discover their very own learning adventure!

Check out some of Adam’s students’ work above for some great examples of AppSmashing! What apps do you like to use together to create your animation masterpieces?