Review by Megan Leppla, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2014
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Stop Motion Studio

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Simple, straightforward approach to quickly creating basic animation

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity

Subjects
  • Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (3 Reviews)

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4 images

Pros: Easy-to-use tools demystify the stop-motion process.

Cons: Featured-video community feels a bit disconnected from the app; it would be helpful to make the connection clearer.

Bottom Line: Simple tools and helpful tips allow kids to quickly start creating stop-motion videos.

Introduce students to basic photo and video concepts by exploring the app's various tools. Once they've mastered the tools, this could be an effective way to engage kids in content creation. You might encourage them to use it to share school projects such as making a stop-motion animation about seed germination, writing a book report, or recording an historical reenactment. The design focuses on the creation tools, so some kids may require prompts to get started. Featured videos provide great inspiration for those who need it, and may even encourage some kids to create work to share with a broader audience.

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Photo and video tool makes creating animations easy. Kids can select photos from their own library or record new images within the app. A basic set of tools, including overlay, grid, frame-by-frame preview, frame positioning, and fade, are included in the free version. Requires an in-app purchase to utilize the green screen, remote camera, and other movie effects. Getting started is easy, and helpful tips are provided throughout the app. A welcome animation provides some inspiration for kids, and a library of featured videos offers more great ideas. Option to share animations on a variety of platforms is available, but it’s unclear how featured videos are curated.

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As kids explore the tools, they can experiment with various editing techniques: tap highly visible buttons to add audio, cut frames, add new images, change speed, and more. These creation tools help kids become deeply engaged with the content. The ability to animate images makes the experience fun and provides insight into the animation process. Kids can record what’s around them or construct an entirely new environment to capture through stop-motion animation.

The overall experience is a lighter version of more serious animation software, but the simplicity provides a comprehensible introduction for most kids. Those wanting to dig deeper can take their understanding of frame-by-frame capture to more advanced tools.

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Overall Rating

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

Fun, easy-to-use creation tools engage kids. Welcome animation and library of featured videos offer inspiration.

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

Data is stored in the project library, allowing kids to create a portfolio to display and assess their work.

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

Kids can easily create a project and share their work on a variety of platforms. Help is accessible throughout.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Michele B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
Washington, DC
Stop Motion Studio can help your students demonstrate their understanding of science processes

As a Chemistry teacher, I really like the ability that this tool provides to have my students create their own low tech animations. One of the hardest things to convey in my subject is that all particles of matter are always moving except at absolute zero. That just does not convey well in 2D representations, but with this tool, students can show that movement very easily. As a Science Department, we envision continuing to use Stop Motion Studio to have students create short videos that demonstrate their understanding of a process or concept. I think this could be a powerful tool to use for review as each group in a class could be tasked to create a video on one of the concepts covered, and then share them with each other. As the videos include some text but are not text dependent, they could be especially useful for ELL students and students with differing abilities. The students could even be tasked with writing out the vocabulary used in the video in multiple languages to further assist in academic language acquisition.

While greater functionality is available in the paid version or for smaller incremental purchases, we did not find them necessary to create a quality product for our purposes. Some schools and districts might discourage the use of student devices and requiring them to download the app on a personal device for classroom use, but our school only has a limited number of laptops available for classroom usage and no tablets so the personal student device option was the best for us. In the future, I think we might create a dedicated Drive or Dropbox Folder for student projects, but the students would need to have that Drive or Dropbox account already set up before submission. It would make it easier however, to store and share the videos for review purposes. Overall, I am excited to think about more ways that my class can use this tool.

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