A Strong Curriculum Includes iStopMotion

When Mount Ousey Public School teacher, Felicity Fitzpatrick, discovered that her 7- and 8-year-old students were gifted writers, she felt dissatisfied that no one would get the chance to see their work. To address this, she implemented iStopMotion into the classroom to give her students’ writing real purpose and a more refined audience.

The intent of the project was to create an engaging and purposeful writing experience, allowing students to have almost complete creative control. Students were partnered with one another to plan and write a narrative, which was then peer edited. After the narrative was refined, a storyboard was created to use as a guide when they were animating. Finally, students used clay to shape their characters on paper backgrounds with their stories recorded aloud over the animation.

It comes as no surprise that students absolutely loved using iStopMotion! Felicity says, “A lot of them have been saying it's their favorite thing they have done this year. It was a lot of work and took quite a bit of time, but the level of engagement in the task made it totally worth it.”

Students were so eager to return to their movies that when an administrative faculty member dropped by to observe a reading lesson, they asked if she could come back later!

“My kids were so excited and so happy to be at school and learning,” Felicity says. “They wanted to be working on their movies all the time. They were so proud when they were finished, and now they are on YouTube. It's been pretty amazing.”

Part of what makes iStopMotion so enjoyable for younger students in particular is its accessibility. In most cases, students were able to master the program after just a few demonstrations, making it possible for them to take charge of their own learning.

As an added bonus, the project has helped Felicity’s students develop their writing skills in ways that even she didn’t foresee. She explains, “During our reflection, a lot of them talked about how through doing the animations they saw the gaps in their writing that they hadn't realized before. They have a better understanding now of explaining things for the audience’s benefit.”

In addition to keeping iStopMotion as a part of the English and writing curriculum, Felicity has plans for the coming year to incorporate it into her science lessons. Given the success she and her students have had, we’re expecting great things! Check out Felicity’s students’ work here.

Our applications are ready for OS X El Capitan

After 4 weeks of tweaking, bug fixing and developing workarounds, all our applications, including

  • iStopMotion 3
  • BoinxTV
  • FotoMagico 4

are ready for OS X El Capitan.

The latest updates are available on our website and trough integrated application update. Of course they will hit the Mac AppStore within the next few days, so that also our AppStore customers can profit of the enhancements that come with OS X El Capitan.

We would like to use the chance and thank you for your support and patience.

Every major update is a huge challenge for us and our developers and sometimes, last time changes, make it hard to be prepared for every issue. This time it took a little bit longer to get most bugs under control but today with the release of BoinxTV 1.9.13 the last application succeeded its transition.

But as you might know, after the update is just right before the next one. We found a few bugs which we couldn't fix with this update, so please stay tuned for further updates.

If you would like be informed right in time about updates or other company related things, just follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Stop by the Library for iStopMotion Education

At St. Joseph County Library in South Bend, Indiana, patrons are able to experience much more than just traditional book rentals when they stop by for a visit. Studio 304, a digital media lab located within the library, comes fully equipped with the necessary tools and technology to produce print, audio and video projects, and is accessible to all library cardholders age 14 years and older.

Among the many programs and applications available at Studio 304 is iStopMotion for iPad, used during the library’s Animation Bootcamp in March 2015 and twice over the summer during Super Animation Workshops held in July and August. These classes allow imaginative animators to bring their ideas to life without being bogged down by complicated, abstract technology.

These sessions at the library typically last for two hours, including a half hour introduction and instruction at the beginning and a half hour wrap up at the end. For the hour that participants have to accomplish the majority of their work, they operate independently (or alongside friends) with minimal assistance from the library staff.

Studio 304 staff member, Mel, comments, “Participants are content to experiment and learn on their own – a testament to iStopMotion’s intuitive and user-friendly design, I would say!”

Participants’ videos produced in the Super Animation Workshop are put on YouTube and the video with the most likes wins the class contest. Check out winner Lauren’s video from the August session above!

We love how St. Joseph County Library has adapted to the changing needs of their patrons, creating an efficient, inspiring community space for the growth and sharing of ideas. For more information on the classes and facility you can visit their website, here.

Show Off Your Work with FotoMagico!

When you’re a gifted visual artist, the biggest challenge isn’t always creating visually compelling pieces – it’s finding the best way to showcase your talents. Robert Young, owner of Robert George Young Photography, uses FotoMagico to show his photography and retouching talents.

The software gives Bob a dynamic and captivating way to show off his retouching skills. “FotoMagico has all the features I need with a very intuitive graphic interface,” says Bob.

Additionally, FotoMagico gives Bob the flexibility to create videos of still photos for friends and family, which he calls, “This is Your Life.” “The ‘This is Your Life’ videos have generally been made for friends and family celebrating birthdays and other types of anniversaries,” Bob explains. “I use FotoMagico to create a video of still photos, video clips and music that documents the life or lives of the person or people being honored.”

Check out Bob’s fantastic retouching work above!

Next Stop, iStopMotion at Imagination Station!

Imagine a place with an unlimited number of LEGOs. How would your kids (or you!) react? Imagination Station brings this dream to life for fans of the small brick toy: they have created a free LEGO play center where you are only limited by your imagination. In addition, Imagination Station offers classes designed to help students express themselves creatively with LEGO while engaging with iStopMotion to produce their own short movies.

Imagination Station opened in January 2015 as a means of bringing fun and education to the children of Christchurch, New Zealand, after a catastrophic earthquake damaged much of the city’s central business district in 2011. After the earthquake, many buildings were left with visible damage, discouraging people from traveling into the city.

Fortunately, things are looking up for Christchurch. Imagination Station’s operational manager, Jaz Burke, says, “We are successfully having lots of people back to town now. Reactions from parents and kids are great, and they are so pleased to come back to town. Some of them say they came to town because of us!”

One of Imagination Station’s most popular programs is their stop motion animation class, which relies on iStopMotion. The class is held weekly on Sunday afternoons but is increased to three classes a day during school vacations because of how quickly the classes reach capacity.

For individual classes, students are given two hours to create a 20-30 second film. During this time, students are given a webcam, a LEGO base plate and plenty of LEGO pieces to craft a creative story, which usually shows LEGO figures doing stunts or even car chases. For classes that take place over the course of several sessions, storytelling becomes more detailed.

“Technology can offer huge assistance in the learning process, particularly when it is easy and intuitive to use,” Jaz says, explaining how technology fosters engagement among students in the classes. “It’s great when it is relatively unobtrusive too – our students are focused on creating something rather than simply playing on the computer. The program is so simple that there are no boundaries for the students and whatever they imagine they can try.”

If Imagination Station’s stop motion animation classes pique your interest, stay tuned! They plan to incorporate an all adults workshop into their program in the near future – we can’t wait to see how the adults use creativity and imagination to craft their stories.

Check out some samples of the students work here, here and here. Pretty impressive for only two hours worth of work!