Check out this amazing App that integrates creativity, arts and crafts, tech, and digital animation!
Puppet Master by Shmonster
This month, I had the pleasure of speaking with App Developer and Animator, Michal Finegold, Founder of Shmoster. She is an amazingly talented animator and mother, and was excited to speak with me about her new app, PuppetMaster, which is her flagship project through Shmoster.
Michal was motivated to create her app while creating her own projects. She wanted an app that would help her animate her arts and craft projects, and couldn't find anything that helped her accomplish her goal. She elected to make PuppetMaster so that she could help other creatives animate anything through a user-friendly application.
Her website, helps to illustrate the incredibly easy process that users go through as they create a craft project, photograph it with their tablet, and animate it using their own body movements.
For any teachers and administrators working to find out ways how they can integrate STEAM and interdisciplinary units into their elementary curriculum, this is it! Currently, this app is FREE on the iTunes App store, and many teachers are already integrating it into their lessons using classroom iPads. One excited teacher even recommended PuppetMaster for the Education Closet's BEST STEAM WEBSITES AND APPS IN 2018.
Why Spark is excited about PuppetMaster
We are excited to recommend this application not only because of the integration of hands-on creativity and digital tools, but also because of Michal herself. The reason she reached out to me, and continues to reach out to other educators and educational technologists is because she wants to make sure her app is right for schools, teachers, and students. She is going to continue to develop her application to support teachers to help students develop skills of creativity, animation, and technology literacy.
In our conversations, we have discussed her goal to illustrate how her application is useful in any subject area. She is working to develop lesson plans and a standards-based curriculum to support teachers at all grade levels in any subject area. To those skeptics who might question how PuppetMaster fits into Mathematics, she has quite a few ideas in the works! Something she has been adamant about is confronting users who think that they aren't "math people", and she feels strongly that everyone has the potential to be a math person, and that her app can be something to help teachers show those students how math can be seen in different lights.
One of her main concerns about Ed. Tech is technology-balance. Being a mother, she is understandably concerned about her child's exposure to and increasing reliance upon technology, and wanted to make sure her app wouldn't lead to technology overload for kids. Through her application she encourages teachers and students to be creative, make things, and use found objects to create their puppets and backdrops. Students then record themselves physically performing a skit. The app records their movements and they are able to see as their character replicates their movements and repeats whatever they have said. The kinesthetic and creative nature of this process lends itself to technology-balance, as students using this app are asked to do much more than use a tablet.
Michal is also working to implement UDL, and has created pre-made apps, backgrounds for students who might not have the time, resources, or inspiration to build their own puppets. Additionally, students can choose to manipulate their puppets on the screen in lieu of the motion capture animation. She continues to ask questions about her application can become more universal for all learners to use.
Her other questions surrounded the nature of the Education industry-- trying to figure out what schools look for in applications, and more importantly, what educators need right now.
She is continuously working with teachers and educational organizations to figure out ways to tie in the Common Core, ISTE, Digital Citizenship, and project-based interdisciplinary learning, so that she can make her application the best it can be for Educators and students.
We are so excited that there are developers out there like Michal, and recommend that everyone take a look at PuppetMaster to use with their own children and students!