This week I have been making rounds to my 5th grade classes getting them ready for their reading olympics (RO). Part of the RO is that kids are given tons of options on how to report out on their books. That alone is a big selling point for me-giving students options on how they reflect on their reading. The second benefit is the multitude of technology reich options they have within the RO structure. In years past these have included making comic strips using comic life, reenacting parts of the book and making a short film, making a newspaper front page for the story, the list goes on and on.
One of the tools i show kids beside the normal iLife/iWork suite is the site, Kerpoof.com. There are a few reasons I like this site.
- First, it allows me to set up student accounts under a teacher accounts (teacher accounts take 24-48 hours for validation from Kerpoof) cutting and pasting from a .CSV form making it quick an easy. Being that they validate teachers identities and emails keeps the site pretty safe although we still stress with our kids good online etiquette and keeping their identity hidden (usernames at our school follow a naming convention that wouldn’t mean much to anyone outside of school).
- Second, Kerpoof is a one stop shop for kids where they can make a picture, a drawing, a movie, and ,ore all within one site. I really like the movie part of the site because the kids are also picking up basic computer programming skills when they make their movies. Users have to direct all the speech, motion, and effects of the characters in their movies by dragging these attributes on to a timeline. This is a great introduction to very simple, user friendly, computer programming and is a great lead in tool for other programming sites like Scratch
- 3rd there is a gaming and social networking aspect to the site that is really easy to use, keeps students motivated to create more works and allows them to share with other members of the class or the general Kerpoof public with a click of the mouse. As student s create in Kerpoof they are awarded coins and they can use these to buy more functionality within Kerpoof (tweaking your avatar, buying more scenes and backdrops, etc.). The social Networking aspect is an easy safe way to get kids started in this kind of connected environment. Kids can chat and email right within Kerpoof and better yet they can send all their work directly to their teachers from right within Kerpoof-no exporting necessary.
If your classes are doing Reading Olympics, I would love to hear from you about the structure of your program and what the students are reading and producing.