Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kerpoof makes digital storytelling easy and fun

     Kerpoof is a great site for educators who are looking for a way to allow students to express themselves creatively. The basic version of the site if free to everyone but educators get access to all features using class accounts. It is suitable for children of all ages, whether they be young learners in kindergarden or students in middle school or beyond. The site was acquired by Disney about two years ago.

     There are a variety of activities to choose from which cater to different age groups. The spell a picture activity is great for young learners. Students of various ages will also love being able to make cards, pictures, drawings, stories and even animations. The site is intuitive and fun and, apart from the make a movie section, the learning curve is minimal. 

     When teachers create an educational account, they are able to login into the teacher tools section to add their classes and students. There is also the additional feature of being able to control how content is shared to provide additional privacy. Teachers are able to add multiple classes using the same account which is great for teachers who teach more than one group of students.

     Once signed up with a class account, students can login using their assigned nickname, password and class ID. The thing I really like about the site is the social aspect of it. Students can choose to share the content they create within their own group or with all members on the site. They can view and rate each other's content and get additional points in the process. The more students participate in the site, the more points or coins they receive which allows them to get additional features such as new pen styles, new backgrounds and so forth.

     The site has tons of content to keep students engaged, but the only drawbacks for me are that there are some limitations in what students can add to a particular scene and the inability for them to add voice to their productions. 

     I would certainly encourage any educator who has not tried this site to request an educator's account. It takes story telling to a whole new level and students love it. You will find that students are doing extra homework without even being told.