A Tech-Savvy Teacher’s Thrilling Lesson

by Megan -

We met Melissa Fisher at last year’s CUE conference, where she first learned about (and immediately downloaded) iStopMotion for iPad. She, like us, was extremely excited about the many possibilities the app offered in the classroom. “I returned and showed it to a few students in fifth grade,” Melissa recalls. “It was an exciting thing for them. They then showed up during their recess time to play and create their own project.

Melissa teaches technology and digital arts to kindergartners through fifth graders, as well as exploratory or elective classes to middle school students. Her school, the Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, California, is fortunate enough to have a number of iPads available to the students, allowing for greater technology integration in the classroom. “This also means that we bounce back and forth from the desktop Macs to the iPads for projects, with the students sometimes bringing their iPads into the lab for guided lessons and additional assistance, bridging the gap between lab and classroom that is often seen at schools.”

This past trimester, Melissa chose to introduce her sixth and seventh graders to the art of stop motion animation using iStopMotion for iPad. (Oh, how I wish MY teachers let US use iStopMotion for iPad in the classroom. Oh wait, iPads didn’t exist…). Using a projection screen to display what was happening on the iPad, she demoed the app to her class, running through the creation of a scene, setting up blocking, showing how to delete frames, and so on. She didn’t go overboard on instructions, however, sensing how intuitive the software is and knowing her students would master it in no time. She left them to get started, saying, “My students couldn't get their hands on their iPads fast enough. For those that weren't quite ready to begin shooting scenes, they couldn't stop talking about getting started. The app was not overly complicated, so what they thought at first might be difficult was suddenly very doable. As a result, their excitement increased.”

“My students learned about the entire production process from concept generation/script writing and storyboarding to character development/creation to blocking, filming with iStopMotion on their iPads and the final edit,” Melissa continued. “The process was a true learning experience for them. They had to try their big ideas and see if they would work and if they could complete them in the time allotted. As a result, my students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In fact, I have already been requested to teach the same exploratory next year.

"Making 'The Plant Revolution' was the most fun thing I've ever done with technology in school, and my first actual stop motion project," says Lucas L. of his classroom experience with iStopMotion. "iStopMotion is one of the best movie-making apps I've ever used, and although I don't have iStopMotion on a device at home, it has inspired me to work more with stop motion animation."

Melissa summarizes her classroom experience with iStopMotion for iPad saying, “Although my students learned just how difficult and time consuming character creation and stop motion can be, in regards to the technology aspect of our class, iStopMotion for iPad is so user friendly that I believe it greatly aided in my students' success.” Emma, another of Melissa's students who had the privilege of being able to animate in the classroom, enjoyed using iStopMotion for iPad, saying, "I found it really, really easy to use."

Watch the video above – a stop motion animation of (in my personal opinion) one of the greatest music videos of all time – plus see more of what Melissa’s students have created here.

Showing Off Our Educational Prowess
Attending the ISTE conference this year? Boinx will be there with our friends from Freshi Media, demoing the latest version of iStopMotion for iPad. Check us out at booth 4281 in Hall D for more information. Hope to see you there!