Review: Playschool Art Maker on the iPad

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After reading Jones’ (2012) experience with this application in a Kindergarten classroom at Wiley Park Public School, we decided to have a play with the app ourselves in class.

From the get go, the app has a very inviting interface that is easy to navigate and intuitive to use. Clicking on menu items results in the pages of the menu flipping over, reminiscent of a traditional story book which students’ are familiar with as well as short voiceovers from Playschool hosts to prompt students. The app allows you to record animations using the Playschool characters and scenes with voice recording for oral narration as you record.

With minimal scaffolding, young children will be able to create and record their own individual creations after playing and exploring the app themselves. It provides an introduction to storyboarding, scenes, character creation and drama. It can be used to retell a story or for students to create their own stories based on something they have recently read or experienced. With retelling, students can be encouraged to visualise what they have just read and translate it into the app as a digital story which enables them to create meaning and develop their visual and oral literacy. This can then be further developed with the introduction of elements of a story with introduction, complication, climax and resolution through scaffolding using the storyboard.

We also had a play with the Toontastic app which was not as intuitive as the Playschool Art Maker but included a very useful scaffold in a Story Arc and the ability for students to create their own characters that move around the screen.

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