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Toontastic 3D: New and free from Google Education
Check out Toontastic 3D, a wonderful, free, open-ended digital storytelling app just launched by Google Education for tablet, phone and Chromebook.
You may be familiar with Toontastic launched in 2011 or Toontastic Jr. Now, with the help of Google, the platform is impressively redesigned for Android, iPad and iPhone. The new app allows students to draw, animate, narrate and share 3D cartoons. Toontastic 3D is perfect across the elementary grades, and for middle school as well, but will be fun for all ages. It’s free, there are no ads or in-app purchases and no logins are required.
Storytellers begin by selecting one of three open-ended story formats: short story, classic story or science report, and are prompted to create stories around traditional arcs, which turn into the scenes of their digital stories.
- For Short Story: beginning, middle and end.
- For Classic Story: setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution
- For Science Report: question, hypothesis, experiment, results, conclusion
Writers are then prompted to select from a library of three dimensional settings, actually they’re more like full-blown sets or maybe worlds–city, space, explorers, pirates, spy, airpunk, Atlantis–or they may draw their own. Kiddos will find some lovely surprises built into each of these worlds
Human characters nicely represent multiple races and include a young man in a wheelchair. There’s also an assortment of critters and fanciful creatures. Characters are easily positioned and moved around their settings. Storytellers have the option of full character control or using a character as is. Some have rather special personalities and talents. Kids can custom characters, allowing for color choices and the ability to bring in images/photos from the camera roll.
After recording a story, users may choose to add a soundtrack. Set the mood with music that is either–proud, romantic, sad, bold, scared, confident, loving, gloomy, spunky, spooked, tense, stormy, hopeful, curious, victorious, passionate, hysterical or rebellious, and adjust the volume.
Saved movies may be edited or exported to the camera roll for later sharing on YouTube, etc. I kinda wish there was a way to pause mid-scene–so, it’s best to advise students to script out each scene and each character’s lines before they get going.
The Idea Lab offers examples of completed stories from both professionals and the community to inspire users and the app includes an inspiring introduction to storytelling featuring Pixar story artist, Austin Madison.
This one is a winner. Toontastic 3D will inspire kids to create story magic across the curriculum and at home too!
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
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