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.
To make it easier for students to view each others’ stories whenever they wanted and have independent access, I decided to create QR codes linking to the stories on Toontube. I introduced QR (quick reference) codes to the Pre-K students and related them to something they have all seen, barcodes at the grocery store. Once the students understood the scanning process and knew where to find the QR code reader app, they were able to go up to any of the codes we placed around the room to view the Toontastic space stories their peers had created.
How did the kids respond? What benefits did you see?
Maggie: This activity helped students express their ideas and new knowledge about space through animated storytelling, a new medium for them. The students learned how to use the Toontastic app to create a beginning, middle, and end to their stories and how to take their own photos and add them into existing characters. We used this project as an opportunity for students to design and share creative stories and also some more factual ones, such as what to do when visiting the space center in the classroom.
Once we added the QR codes, the students learned how to use them as a tool to access their own and their peers’ stories independently so that they could listen and watch them whenever they wanted. I really liked how empowered the students felt to access their stories once they learned how to use the QR codes and I appreciated that the project reinforced the idea of using the iPad for creation (animated stories) and communication (sharing stories, accessed via QR codes).
Thanks Maggie for your inspirational work and please give your students an intergalactic high-five for us!