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Do your students love creating videos? In this YouTube generation, many creative young minds in our classrooms crave the chance to make their own videos. Some might have the imagination but not the interest in being in front of the camera. Others might want to design the background or do the sound effects. In creative classrooms, students are embracing these challenges and turning them into opportunities to communicate with peers, think critically about new ideas and collaborate with others.
Ask a group of elementary students if they want to try out a new creative technology tool and chances are, they are going to jump at the chance. Add to the experience that they get to connect with the designers of the game and provide feedback after playing it. This was an opportunity posed to some of our students this year.
With their curiosity piqued, a group of third-grade students in our district had the chance to try out Toaster Pets. This is a new classroom tool that pairs digital creation through a simple-to-use app with the hands-on manipulation of character blocks. With a tabletop green screen and small animal characters, Toaster Pets provides a variety of options for students looking to design and create. This collaborative tool turns students into script-writers and movie makers.
What can students create in the classroom?
When students use their device to open the Toaster Pets app and try out their characters, they can use their imaginations to create just about anything. Your students might create:
- Animated movies
- Music videos
- Educational videos
- Video messages
Our 3rd graders absolutely loved the app and hands-on characters. With very little direction at all, the students were quick to figure out features like adding music and adding their own voice recording for each character. Working in small groups of 2-4 students, groups accessed virtual props and colorful backgrounds to tell their stories and create their videos. Students adjusted images and added different effects as they enhanced their scenes and developed interactions with their characters.
Students explored the app for about 45 minutes and could’ve kept going, but paused to reflect on the experiences and share some feedback with the design team. Students wanted access to more props and characters. They had ideas for different scenes and types of music to add. Some were even ready to design their own! Each group was thoroughly engaged in the discussion and had meaningful feedback to share with the Toaster Pets team.
At the conclusion of the experience, students were asked to leave a compliment on a sticky note for the team to take back with them. Here are a few things the students shared:
“I liked that you could unlock multiple characters.”
“I made a racing scene and another scene with soccer.”
“I loved it! It was so much fun.”
Ready to try it?
You will be amazed at the imaginative thinking that happens when students are given the freedom to create using this tool. Toaster Pets can be used with Apple or Android devices. Use this link to check out all that Toaster Pets has to offer!