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Review by Amanda Finkelberg, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2012

Kerpoof

Media-making tools help young kids with digital skills

Common Sense says
Teachers say (15 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
Grades
K-8 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Good teacher resources make Kerpoof a nice option for integrating digital technology.

Cons: The tools aren’t that groundbreaking, and kids may feel their creativity is limited by premade clip art.

Bottom Line: This neatly packaged bundle of creative tools is best used alongside offline classroom activities.

Teachers will appreciate the ability to create a safe place for kids to make media, collaborate, and comment on each other's work. However, the high point is the teacher toolkit, which includes a class-management dashboard and great lesson plans for integrating Kerpoof. Kerpoof's free, standards-aligned lesson plans are thoughtful and offer great ideas for bringing digital tools into the classroom. You should get comfortable using the site before introducing it to kids, though. Some features are complicated, although video tutorials are available.

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Editor's Note: As of April, 2014 the Kerpoof website has closed.

Young creative brains make online media such as storybooks, short movies, and images with Kerpoof. The site provides tools for the very beginner, and kids will likely have no problem getting started. Kids from kindergarten through the eighth grade will like making and sharing digital creations.

Teacher accounts are available with an educational email address and site approval. You can create classrooms and add students to utilize the message board, chat, and "buddy draw" features, which let kids collaborate on projects. The basic user account is free, but kids need to log in to share or comment. A membership is available for $4.39 per month, which gives access to exclusive content and features, and by playing and using the site, kids can earn Koins, which they use to "buy" additional characters and objects.

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Kerpoof may be a little overwhelming for beginners, but once they get the hang of it, kids should have fun making stories come to life. A standout tool is Spell a Picture, which lets them pick a background image such as a night sky or an interior scene and then spell the things they'd like to put in the scene. Images appear as kids enter letters, and if they spell a word correctly, they can drag and drop the image into the scene. They can share pictures in an online gallery or a classroom restricted to members.

Another site winner is Make a Movie, which gives kids the tools to make short animated films using drag-and-drop characters and actions. Kids can learn how to use a timeline to tell their story. Backgrounds are limited to several themes (spooky, princess, and fable, for example), but kids can choose clip art or create their own using the drawing tools. Most of the tools on the site will be straightforward for tech-savvy kids, but teachers should be prepared to support the movie maker and help kids create their own custom assets.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Creating images and movies is fun once kids get the hang of it. Site design is a little busy and dated, but nice, large icons make it easy for young kids to navigate.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Solid tools to use alongside classroom materials abound. Kids are encouraged to create stories and collaborate, making this an empowering option for a digital tool in an elementary school curriculum.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

The lesson plans are great extensions for teachers. Unfortunately, some of the tools are complicated and the only help is roll-over pop-ups that may pose a challenge for pre-readers.


Teacher Reviews

4
(See all 15 reviews) (15 reviews)
Featured review by
Jeffery F. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Mirman School
Los Angeles, CA
3
This website no longer operates. I was sad to see it go...It had some great content.

N/A It is no longer an active website

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