It's worth noting that this tool doesn't just have to be used with Lego bricks and figures; instead, it's a super-cool tool for helping your students give stop-motion animation a try. Consider offering this as a tool for a class video or presentation. Encourage your students to illustrate a story from history or a scene from a play or novel via stop-motion animation. This also might be an opportunity for a creative-writing or theater class to create inventive shorts that tell stories. Also, think about who your students' audience might be for their creations. This might be a great opportunity to create content for authentic audiences outside their school communities. Talk about what's appropriate to share publicly online, then let your students' imaginations run wild with creating their very own creations in this distinctive, inventive visual style.Continue reading Show less
LEGO Movie Maker is an animation-creation tool that features most of the tools a professional stop-motion animator would need. The app features three sections: "Make A Movie" (which is exactly what it sounds like), "Movie Gallery" (where you store your creations), and "Instructions" (where you learn how it all works). Students can create a stop-motion animation by creating a title page, taking pictures of characters, adding music and sound effects, and exporting to the camera roll. Students have access to important stop-motion animation features such as onion skinning, snap to capture, and grid. You can edit sound effects and record audio by clicking "Edit" on the frame. Movies can be easily saved to the device's camera roll and shared via email, Google Drive, Google Classroom, Dropbox, YouTube, or any other digital-sharing platform.
The "Instructions" section explains how to use the app, but the directions are minimal and leave out important information. A collection of tutorials can be found on the Lego YouTube page. These videos explain the basics of stop-motion animation and help students understand how to best use the app's many features.
It's empowering and engaging that LEGO Movie Maker arms students with tools to start animating instantly. Students should probably check out the videos on Lego's YouTube page. Though they're not linked from within the app, those videos offer detailed, explicit instructions on how to make the most of the app's features. As it is, the instructions section is pretty bare-bones, and, though the app is easy to use, students may not level up their understanding without a more in-depth tutorial. Also, some of the features fall short: The frames-per-second (FPS) should have a range greater than 10 FPS, and the sound-effect options should appear along the main navigation bar with other features such as music, effects, and speed.
At its best, though, LEGO Movie Maker introduces students to a suite of tools that professional stop-motion animators use, and, with the right context and guidance, it might inspire them to think creatively about how they tell stories and present information in this distinctive medium.