Stop Motion Animation, Inquiry, and Metacognition

At integratED PDX, I attended a workshop called Making Thinking Visible with iPads facilitated by Michelle Cordy. Michelle teaches Grade 3/4 with 1-to-1 iPads. One of the ideas that I got from her workshop was about the use of stop motion animation apps such as iMotionHD in order to allow students to record their learning process and then think metacognitively about their learning experience.

The example that Michelle provided was students who were engaged in a bridge building activity. After they were completed the activity, the students were able to explain their strategies for building their bridge and draw on top of the photographs to show specific elements that they had identified. Being able to record and document the learning and thinking process, is such an authentic form of assessment that provides meaningful feedback for the student and teacher. This was such a powerful example of how an app like stop motion animation can be re-purposed for another use and redefine (R-in SAMR) the learning experience.

I think that the application for this type of learning activity is limitless in the K-12 environment. The stop motion apps are very easy to operate that even very young students would be capable of recording their learning process. The set up is also very minimal (a stand for the tablet or device with the app on it), and does not distract students during the learning experience. Most apps will allow you to adjust the amount of time between each picture being taken so depending on the length of the activity the appropriate time can be selected.

Some examples that I can think of are:
– recording science experiments
– recording group work
– process of creating a piece of art work
– solving math problems with hands-on manipulatives

When I got back to my class, I did a little bit of experimenting with this concept. I had not had time to have the app installed on my class set of iPads yet so I had my students take pictures manually and strung them together with Animoto. When my students were exploring various rocks and mineral samples, I had 1 member of each group take photos and upload them to Dropbox and then I was able to post the Animoto videos on my classroom blog, and students were able watch the video, reflect and to make comments about the learning and activity.

This is an example of the video that I produced for my students:

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