Archive for the ‘Discovering Puppet Pals!’

Discovering Puppet Pals!

Curriculum applications

This was our second ICT session,  and after our first session of exploring the many different types of apps that could be used with young children in the classroom. I was excited to make another resource surrounding our book choice. The objective of the lesson was to work in groups to produce a resource, curriculum plan or a set of materials for using media in the classroom, and to think about how to add  interactivity to our presentation and to use images effectively.

Firstly Helen shared with us some of the many Webtools, iPad apps and Software which can be used to tell a story using digital media:

Webtools                                      iPad apps                             Software

Purple Mash                                       I can animate                               2Create

Storybird                                            Explain Everything                      2Create a story

StoryJumper                                      iMovie Trailers                             Powerpoint

Movie Maker                                  Collins Big Cat Books                     SmartNotebook

Bookr                                                 Videoscribe                                  Clicker6

VoiceThread                                       Morfo Booth

Little Bird                                           Puppet Pals

Haiku Deck                                          StoryPatch

There are many amazing ways that stories can be created, I particularly liked the ‘Morfo Booth’ app as the example shown was a character of a fox reading  the story which really bought it to life, I would use this app in my practice as I think children in early years would really enjoy using it. The Morfo app allows you to take any picture of yourself and automatically turn it into an interactive animation! I came across this interesting article  by a reception class teacher titled ‘Using Apps to Bring Story Language to Life’. In the article they talk about their work with ‘apps based learning’ on iPad and how effective Puppet Pals and Morpho Booth are in bringing stories to life. For an example of Morfo Booth based on the Gruffalo click on the link

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We decided to use Puppet Pals to create another resource linked to our book choice of ‘The Gingerbread Man’. This app is great fun to use and allows you to make your own animated presentation.

We began by exploring the app and we found that you can pick your own characters or use the ones which come with the app and even choose your own background settings.  By using the camera on the iPad we were able to take pictures of the scenes and the characters from various sources in the library. We decided to change a few of the characters from the traditional story, you can simply take your character picture, trace around it and add the character in, we found this app to be quite user friendly and something which children could easily get to grips with.

I recorded the character voices whilst my colleague Amisha tried to control herself! You can also move the characters around by dragging them and you can make them rotate, flip, shrink etc. I could see the benefits of using Puppet Pals app in the classroom, it would be great to use for speaking and listening, for making a storyboard with children in creating their own characters and it can also be used as a really form of  assessment, as well as  being lots of fun.

I found a useful  link for  a tutorial on getting started with Puppet Pals.

This is our first version of ‘The Gingerbread Man’, we really enjoyed making it!

Taking a look at Purple Mash


I thought I would take a look at Purple Mash, I discovered that it is a fantastic ‘award winning’ Webtool packed with lots of great resources, creative tools, apps, educational games, activities etc. which can help enhance and support children’s learning. On the main screen is the toolbar to help you navigate around the site, it includes one for teachers which shows you the benefits of using Purple Mash. I looked into the sites ‘Themes’ section, it covers many of the subject areas of the curriculum. In the Theme/History there are many topic areas to choose from such as:

  • Ancient Egypt
  • Tudors
  • Mandela
  • Florence Nightingale
  • etc.

This is followed by Paint Projects, Postcards, Purple Mash Cams and Creative Tools. There is so much to choose from, I had a look at 2Animate in creative tools, this feature allows children to create their own images using a felt pen and is a great way  for them to create a simple animated storyboard particularly for younger children in the early years. See my example below

Gingy animate


Another particular feature I liked on Purple Mash is ‘Mashcams’, this is where children are able to put their faces onto the role of a person, a historical character from the past such as Florence Nightingale, a wizard or even a fairy princess!! The children are able to write about their character in the speech bubble or they can record the event. Mashcams would be great to use for creative writing in literacy, or in history when learning about a famous person from the past or even in topic work, I would definitely use this in my practice. See the MashCams screen below




This session has highlighted the potential of using ICT to enhance storytelling in the classroom. On my previous placements I have used traditional story books or have encouraged the children to retell the story through role play. In today’s classrooms even very young children are technology savvy and have access to various forms of technology at school/home which they are able to explore and experiment on.

I feel more confident after these sessions and have developed my own subject knowledge on the different types of Webtools, apps and software that is available like some of the ones I have mentioned in my blog, that can really change the way a story can be told and I can see the potential of them being integrated across other curriculum areas. By using media to create a story children are actively engaged and can enrich their learning , I can see how children would really enjoy using them and would make the session really enjoyable. In my up coming placement and in my future practice I will endeavour to incorporate and plan to use some of them to enhance my lessons.

Further reading

I came across an interesting article titled ‘Technology in the Classroom: The Benefits of Blended Learning’ by Timothy Huneycutt. The article talks about how technology is becoming increasingly integrated into our society, and how ‘technological innovations’ such as smartphones, Tablets, and access to social media at our fingertips have changed the way we conduct our lives on a daily basis, ‘including how knowledge is digested and taught in our classrooms’ (Huneycutt, 2013). The article discusses further how these innovations can benefit students and helps prepare students as they go forward, it highlights four specific points of using technology in the classroom:

 1. It can keep students focused for longer periods of time by helping them develop better learning through exploration and research.

2. It makes students more excited to learn when technology is integrated into school lessons, learners are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about the subjects they are studying.

3. It enables students to learn at their own pace and also gives the teacher more time to help the students who might be struggling.

4. It prepares students for the future and by learning to use technology in the classroom, both teachers and students will develop skills essential for the 21st century. Education today is no longer just about learning and memorizing facts and figures, it’s about collaborating with others, solving complex problems and developing different forms of communication.

I think that all of these points are important and relevant across the EYFS and the primary/secondary curriculum, ICT has a definite place in all areas of the curriculum. With anything there are some negatives with using technology in the classroom, such as internet safety, correct balance of using ICT and proper use of resources however, I feel that the pros out number the cons. When used in the correct manner technology can support both teachers in their teaching and aid students in achieving success in their learning.

Click on the article for further information

Further Reading

preschool_classroomTechnology  in Early Childhood: Advice for parents and teachers from a trusted source.

Are young  children being exposed to digital technology too soon and is it beneficial for them? This is something that I often think about, this article by Sarah Jackson highlights some interesting points, one of them being the ratification of the use of technology for young learners. But it’s not that simple!

Whilst technology is developing constantly, for young learners to truly develop, the technology has to be interactive, purposeful and appropriate. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) believe that ‘when used appropriately, technology and interactive media have tremendous potential to nurture early learning and development’. Therefore, children passively watching the screen (or the like) will do more harm than good. The recommendation is  that in the early childhood years, when children use technology it should be ‘active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering’.

The article does not provide a conclusive argument but much research does indicate that technology has a place, but comes with a warning label. Read on to find out more

And finally…

I’ll leave you to ponder over this prezi I found online by Zaveeni Buksh (2013) on the benefits of using ICT in Early Childhood Education.  It is well worth a look and thought provoking. It highlights some important factors about the benefits and potential of using technology in early years education and how ICT can enhance children’s learning and development in todays rapidly changing world.