July 13, 2016

Easy iPad Apps for Everyone: Shadow Puppet

I think effective technology integration comes down to two things:
  • using technology frequently 
  • planning ahead

That's why I'm taking some time this summer to really get to know some great apps that I plan on using in the classroom this year.  

If you are like me and only have a few iPads available to you on a daily basis, you need apps that meet certain qualifications.

NUMBER 1: It absolutely has to be easy to use. I want my students to be able to figure things out quickly, get started right away, and use it often.

NUMBER 2: It has to produce a product within a reasonable amount of time.

NUMBER 3: It has to allow groups to easily work on one project together. 

Previously, I shared an app with you called Adobe Voice that allows students to quickly create a video with background music, images, and voice over to tell a story, share about themselves, or create a class book. Very cool.

Today, let's take a look at Shadow Puppet.

Shadow Puppet is similar to Adobe Voice in the product it creates, but the platform and look of the final products are a bit different.

The two biggest differences I found are:
  • Shadow Puppet is one recording for all slides, unlike Adobe Voice where you can record per slide. This makes it a bit more difficult for group projects and group recordings.
  • Pictures on Shadow Puppet fill up the whole screen instead of fitting into a themed background on Adobe Voice. I like that feature because it keeps the focus on the image.

Another small differences is that Shadow Puppet is part of SeeSaw Learning Inc. If you are already using or plan to use SeeSaw in your classroom, they work together seamlessly and makes it easy to share student work within your classroom community and with parents.

For classroom teachers, I recommend downloading the EDU version. There is a regular version as well that allows for in-app purchases, however the edu version free includes features specific for classroom use.

Once the app is downloaded, it is easy to get started. Just click "create new" and you are ready to rock and roll. It's very user-friendly and easy to use. Simply select the images you want in your slideshow, add your extras to each slide, record your voice-over and you've got a movie.

Why do I love Shadow Puppet?

  • The bank of images readily available to include in your movie is unbelievable! You have direct access to online images from the Library of Congress, Met Musuem of Art, and NASA. You can also search Flickr, Wikipedia, maps, and your camera roll for images.
  • The app automatically adds photo credits to the end of the slideshow reinforcing the importance of digital citizenship and copyright.
  • You can add music. There are 8 prerecorded background songs to choose from or you can pull from your iTunes library on the device.
  • It's simple to change the style, size, and location of text on each slide.
  • There is a variety of transitions for slide text.
  • When recording, you can use a magic wand to draw on your slide. Each drawing image fades, allowing the user to highlight important aspects of the image for just a moment.
  • You can share your product easily by directly uploading it to SeeSaw, emailing it, or even uploading to Instagram! There are tons of ways to share your video once it has been created. You can even embed it on a webpage (see below).
Image from Shadow Puppet Blog: Puppet Feed
Shadow Puppet is VERY educator friendly. There are 30 different student project ideas right there in the app.  Plus, you can check out Shadow Puppet on Twitter.  They have some great real-world teacher examples of Shadow Puppet in action. The ideas are endless! Here are just a few...

Student Project Ideas:

  • Biography Project - Read a biography or participate in a research project on a famous person. Celebrate and present their life and accomplishments through a slideshow. 
  • Phases of the Moon - Have students search the NASA archives for examples of the moon phases, label them, and put them in order.  

Shadow Puppet Project Ideas I Loved:

  • Guess Who? - Interview a classmate and create a video of a few of their favorite things. Have the class who is being described in the video.
  • Art Portfolio - Create a slideshow of examples from all the art projects during the year. This could be a single student's artwork, or it could be a collaborative project by the whole class. 
  • Digital Story Telling - Take a picture of a favorite book, then voice-over a summary using other images to support the story from the beginning, middle, and end. 
  • If I Were President - Share 4-5 things you would do if you were president.  Great activity during an election year.
  • Read Aloud - Practice reading aloud from a book by taking a picture of each page and recording your voice as you read aloud.
  • Math Scavenger Hunt - Take pictures of real-world fractions (for example) around the school, then use the drawing tool to show your fractions in the pictures.
The list goes on and on. There really are so many wonderful ideas it can be a bit overwhelming. I think the good news is that this app can easily be integrated into whatever you are working on in the classroom. 

I plan on using Shadow Puppet during the first week of school for the GUESS WHO?? activity. Students will work in groups to interview a group member and create a "Guess Who?" movie for the class.

Here is a quick example I did to give my students the general idea.

Don't you think this will be fun?  It will be a great way to incorporate community building and learning how to use Shadow Puppet at the beginning of the year. Two birds...one stone.

I'm still working out the details on how to make this work, management wise with 24 children, 48 little hands, and 4 ipads. But, I figure - if there's a will, there's a way. I've got a few more weeks to work out all the details.

If a strike of genius hits, I will surely fill you in. And if you have any words of wisdom and have made this work in your room, please share. Ideas welcome.


Have you used Shadow Puppet in your classroom?  

Have you found the app to be successful with your students?

What projects have you loved that you can't wait to do again?

I'd love to hear how you incorporate this app into your daily classroom routine. I invite you to share your thoughts, comments, and questions below.

This summer has been a great time for me to build my technology repertoire: Adobe Voice, Thinglink, and Shadow Puppet have all proven to be excellent resources for my classroom.

My goal is to start my year off with 4 solid  iPad apps that I can really use. I don't need 50.  I need a few really good apps that my students and myself can become proficient and successful with on a more regular basis.  I hope you'll follow my journey.

Stay tuned for two more installments of iPad Apps for EASY Integration of Technology in Elementary Classrooms that everyone can use!

1 comment:

  1. If only my class had IPads(sigh). I do have my personal IPad that I am going to use to try out Shadow Puppet EDU app. Thank you for detailing the ease of the app and giving some useful suggestions on projects!
    2 Smart Wenches


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