How I Use It
My students used Easy Studio during our geometry and patterns unit. First, I gave them some time to watch the tutorial and go through levels 1-4, which demonstrate how the app is used, adding additional features with each level. As students go through the levels they are actually creating an animation so they think this is fun. Then I divided students into 2 groups, those with stronger iPad skills and those who are less sure when using an iPad and/or not as willing to try things without specific directions. The more confident group had time to play around with the "expert" while the less confident students explored "level 5". Both options allowed students to create animations of their own using a variety of shapes, with the expert level adding advanced features. Following some exploration time I asked students to create an animation that had at least 4 steps and included at least 3 different shapes (I differentiated for different students). In addition to their animation, I asked them to take a screenshot of their final product, import to Skitch and label the shapes with vertices, angles and edges. Another activity we did was to create patterns, both repetitive and growing patterns. As with the previous activity students used either level 5 or expert and were given a different number of steps and shapes to include. Easy Studio is very easy to use. Directions are all model-based so there is no reading that students need to do, making it perfect for young learners and ELL students. The app is very forgiving and there isn't a "right" answer or way to create an animation, so all students can feel successful.
Overall Easy Studio is an easy app to use for animation. There are a decent number of shapes and colors available for personalization and the ability to re-size, flip and rotate shapes. All of these options are intuitive and work well. Since the app is so open-ended there are many possible ways to fit it into the curriculum with some creative thinking. My students are going to use it later in the year to create a bridge (engineering unit) and also a rocket (related to a book study) and some of them enjoy playing with it during choice time. It's easy enough for 2nd graders to pick up quickly and also has enough to offer older students, especially as an introduction to animation. I like the holiday back grounds, it would be great to have some more general backgrounds--maybe a forest, ocean, and skyscrapers that students could insert behind their animation. One issue we've had on the expert level is a "hot tip" box popping up and not disappearing very easily (tapping on it seems to work but sometimes it takes 5-6 taps). One addition could be to allow students to draw a shape and add that to their animation, for example if the they wanted something like a squiggly line and didn't want to make it from the "c" shapes. However, as is it's great because it makes students think about how they can create a shape or object from other shapes.