Review by John Sooja, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2015
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KOMA KOMA for iPad

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Bare-bones, stop-motion tool lacks support

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity

Subjects
  • Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-5
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4 images

Pros: Easily save and share movies.

Cons: Very basic functionality compared to other stop-motion animation apps, with limited editing tools.

Bottom Line: It's a mixed bag -- a free, no-frills stop-motion animation app that could spark interest but might wear thin with its lack of features and support.

Teachers can use KOMA KOMA for iPad as an introduction to how animation and stop-motion creation work. As a companion tool, consider having kids create movies that help animate how certain life science phenomena work or movies that display science experiments step by step. Teachers could also make use of the time-lapse feature to study slow-moving processes. More broadly, teachers can encourage students to create stories, perhaps recreating important moments in history.

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KOMA KOMA for iPad is a simple stop-motion animation app for beginners. The inviting interface and design allow kids to get in quickly and make movies within minutes. The app automatically opens up the iPad’s camera and launches quickly into the viewer interface with only four buttons. A big red "record" button takes pictures, while a big green "play" button will play what has been captured. A blue "X" button deletes the last picture taken, and the yellow "arrow" button saves the current movie to the gallery. Also, the current number of images is always tracked and represented by the number at the bottom of the screen. One of the most helpful aspects of KOMA KOMA is the "onion skinning" feature, which always shows the previous image taken as a transparent image so positioning the frame for the next image is much easier. Onion skinning can be toggled off, too. The few settings options allow for control over frame rate, from one frame per second to 30 frames per second, and automatic capture set with time intervals between three seconds and 10 minutes.

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This is a good place to start learning how to create stop-motion animation movies, and kids will love watching their imaginations come to life. They can take their favorite toys and put them in motion, create stories and sequences, or make little presentations showing how causal interactions work. However, KOMA KOMA for iPad is not a full-fledged animation studio and is even more limited when compared to competitors such as Stop Motion Studio. Although kids will become familiar with frame-by-frame editing, they will not encounter other editing tools such as aftereffects, adding narration and writing, audio, or manipulating existing animations through drawing. As only a camera-capture animation creator, kids will best make use of this app as a portable "flip book" maker. There's also a dearth of supports -- only a few introductory videos and very little else in the way of FAQs, contextual cues, and instruction.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The simple, if a bit outdated, design will get kids to experiment, play, and create.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids will take pride in saving and sharing creations, but instruction is sparse.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Only a handful of videos explain the primary functionalities. Beyond that, kids are on their own.


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John Sooja Classroom teacher

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