This article was written for the Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and can also be read on their blog here.
What if we could reimagine the iPad as an augmented reality camera for kids to act out their own stories – a costume box for the 21st century?
You’ve all heard the stats. One in three American kids are obese or overweight and will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. After diet and exercise, two of the biggest culprits in this epidemic are TV and gaming – the average 8-18 year-old spends 7.5 hours every day on entertainment media. American kids born after 2005 watch 35 hours of television each week and spend 7 hours a week gaming on phones and tablets alone. Meanwhile, only 1/3 of high-school students get the recommended amount of daily exercise. The correlation isn’t coincidental.
Beyond health, there are some pretty scary social effects too – outdoor play isn’t just good exercise, it’s a great place for kids to practice their “21st century skills” – creating, constructing, and collaborating in the sandbox, the backyard, and the ball-field. Whether it’s assigning rules for kickball or roles in “Cops and Robbers”, communication skills developed through play are critical to child development… though the jury’s still out on mid-frag mom-jokes from frtblster2005.
We released a new app today that you’re going to love. It’s called TeleStory and with it you can film and broadcast your own TV shows – spy adventures, space battles, music videos… check out our video!
How does it work?
- Pick a scene to act out – maybe a lightsaber battle or a car chase?
- Write your script and pick a costume to wear in your scene. What role will you play? A rockstar? A ninja?
- Record LIVE with onscreen special effects and dozens of characters & settings!
Once you’re done you can broadcast your TV show on ToonTube to share with friends, family, and millions of kids around the world.
To all our wildly imaginative storytellers around the world: Thank You! Your creativity and humor inspire us every day and we can’t wait to see all your TeleStory adventures on ToonTube.
We’re excited to be featured on a great piece this morning by NBC’s TODAY show about how kids are playing a major role in designing the apps and games they play with.
Here at Launchpad Toys, we work closely with the Children’s Creativity Museum and the SF Friends School here in San Francisco to partner with kids to design, test, and evaluate apps as we build them. Thank you to all of Launchpad Toy Testers and the TODAY show for showcasing this fantastic trend in children’s media.
We’re teaming up with Gamestar Mechanic next week at ISTE 2014 in Atlanta to host a workshop on game design with Toontastic: School Edition. In this workshop, teachers will learn how to prototype games with students using Toontastic, test and iterate, then build working games on Gamestar. What better way to get students excited about Computer Science than through game design?
Tina Watson is a UK educator working with Toontastic in the classroom. She recently shared this story in UKED Magazine. You can see her students’ creations on ToonTube and read more about her creative uses of EdTech tools on her blog.
Having taught Media Studies & Film Studies in the FE sector for over ten years, I am well versed in teaching students how to analyse moving images and the practical skills associated with making their own moving image products. Now that I work increasingly with primary pupils, I was keen to find ways of introducing moving images into my teaching and learning. When I taught BTEC and A level students, we had whole terms to spend filming and editing, but now I needed to find something quick and easy that could be incorporated into a single lesson. Being an EdTech enthusiast I naturally turned to the Apps store. I dabbled with stop motion but found it very time consuming and was unconvinced that my pupils were learning a great deal. Luckily I found Toontastic, an amazing animation App that has since become one of my most used Apps for educational use. Toontastic allows pupils to select characters and settings to animate. They then add their own voice recordings and choose music to add. The format of the App means that pupils are guided through the correct stages of writing a story, following the story arc. Here is how I have integrated Toontastic into my teaching practice.
One of the best parts of working here at Launchpad Toys is hearing how creative teachers are using our tools in ways we never imagined. I recently had the pleasure of talking with one of our Toontastic Teachers, Maggie Powers, about how her preschool students transformed their classroom into their own interactive solar system using Toontastic cartoons and QR codes. Brilliant!
So you turned your classroom into a space movie theater…
Maggie: In our Pre-K class, we wanted to find a way to help students create and share stories about what they were learning in their space unit. We realized that Toontastic would allow students to use a variety of space scenes and characters and also integrate themselves, into animated stories. After introducing the app to the students and discussing the general arc of most stories, I worked with students to help create their first space stories. We shared these with their peers and the students really enjoyed watching their friends’ work, especially as they began to replace the character faces with their own photos.
This story aired on the BBC News on 4/22/14.
Congratulations to The Specialists Guild, our SF neighbors and QA partner here at Launchpad Toys. We were thrilled to see their work highlighted last week on BBC News and are proud to team up with their dedicated squad of playful app testers. Keep it up guys!
With powerful new tools at their fingertips, educators today are breaking through school walls to connect classrooms to the real world and offer students perspective and context beyond their textbooks. Thanks to tools like the iPad and Google Hangouts, word problems and field trips are giving way to live video chats with NASA astronauts and collaborative online productions of Shakespeare that reinforce learning goals and have the potential to improve both transfer and student engagement. Inspired by the ingenuity of “connected classroom” teachers around the world, we set out this fall to explore how students might also benefit from connecting with other kids through shared storytelling and peer review. Today, we’re excited to share a short video about “Project PenPal”, a few takeaways we gathered from our exploration, and some tips for creating your own connected classrooms project.
At Launchpad Toys, we build creativity tools like Toontastic: School Edition that empower students of all ages to create and share content with kids around the world. Since releasing Toontastic three years ago, we’ve been amazed by the millions of creative stories students have drawn, animated, and narrated on our online network. The greatest surprise, however, has been the remarkable creativity of teachers bridging digital storytelling with math and science for students to create everything from geological reports to tutorials on fractions.
We hosted a “Saturday Morning Cartoons” contest this weekend for all you playful storytellers out there to turn off your TV, get off the couch, and create YOUR OWN cartoons.
Your stories were so amazing that our voters had trouble picking a winner, so instead we decided to honor all of our participants with a highlight montage second only to… well… the greatest montage of all time.
Well done Toontastic Nation. You make EVERY MORNING feel like Saturday Morning!
Don’t worry teachers, Toontastic: School Edition is also on sale for $9.99, making Volume Purchase… wait for it… $4.99!
The All Access Pass includes 50+ playsets chock full of pirates, princesses, fire breathing monsters, and rescue heroes. You’ll also unlock the Toy Camera to add photos to your cartoons, the Special FX pack to create your own Hollywood blockbusters, ProtoToys for designing animated characters, and Video Export for saving your amazing cartoons to your computer or uploading to YouTube.
To unlock the app (and every future update), simply tap the store button on the home menu (or purchase Toontastic: School Edition). We can’t wait to see how our toys spark your imaginations and inspire new stories!
From our team at Launchpad Toys to you, our 3 Million playful storytellers around the world, we wish you all a fantastic Valentine’s Day chock full of… well… chocolate!
We’re excited to announce a new update to Toontastic today for you to create and send your own animated photo-valentines with our newest Toy Camera Card. It’s FREE with the update. We can’t wait to see all the valentines you Romeo and Juliets out there create and share on ToonTube.
– Your Friends at Launchpad Toys