Zing Stikbot Studios by Zing Global Ltd is simply put – fun, but don’t let that fool you. This is one incredible learning tool packed full of opportunities. The app is paired with the Stikbot Studio Pro that encourages a hands-on approach to creating stills or stop motion video using green screen techniques via the Stikbot stage and figures. Adding backgrounds, music or voice-overs is a snap, and it is amazing to see the results. Not only does this open the door for creative storytelling, it also inspires kids to think in terms of temporal experiences. By editing past experiences, it also sets the ground for the future by projecting a sequence of actions or events waiting to happen.
Opening the box and discovering the figures and accessories is a surprise party in itself. Included in the package are two figures, a tripod, and the green/blue screen stage. They have also thoughtfully included prop boxes to place your figures at different heights depending on where you want the Stikbots in relation to the background image. Another use for the boxes is to place your Stickbot into photographs or videos in an item such as a car or partially behind something – maybe searching for tigers in the jungle? Through the use of these props such concepts as scale, proportion, and what may or may not be relevant in terms of telling your story is explored. The genius behind this is that it creates a non-threatening learning environment that promotes kid driven exploration through the use of imagination. AND that is the seed of making all things possible. Why not study Mars or the deep blue seas and portray them in a Stikbot movie or picture? What better way to assess comprehension than filming a report using the Stikbots as your guides? The Stickbot website has everything to get you started. It has tutorials and other tips to ensure an individual’s or a classroom’s success. Dr. Z explains what makes a green screen work in a zany mad scientist way that is purely infectious.
Start by choosing a background. You can use the premade photo screens or select one from your camera roll if using the green/blue screens. (You don’t have to use the green screen technology if you don’t want it.) For every second of video, you will need 10 pictures. The ratio makes it easy to remember. The app will stitch the scenes together. Arranging the Stickbots is half the fun. The little suction cups on their hands and feet will stick to most flat surfaces. Changing their positions too fast may make for a blurred video, but that is part of the learning process. Sound effects or music only work with a stop motion video because a still wouldn’t naturally have a soundtrack. Clip art is available to dress your Stikbot
up or add text bubbles. I would love to see more accessory packs of clip art themes available – so perhaps in future updates?
One of the things I love about the app is that it presents kids with options and decisions. Do you use the blue screen or the green screen? How sensitive does the color green or blue need to be to make a picture without fuzzy edges? What poses do I need to tell my story? What extras do I want to add? All these decisions promote sustained attention and learning to deal with the consequences of choices. In addition, the Stikbots promote fine motor skills and teaches a bit – about how the body moves. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a short playing Stikbot says?
Stikbots are fun for all and promote a wealth of discoveries about the inner workings of animation and film. Stikbots are certainly a Top Pick as they can be used to explore a variety of subjects, objects, and places in a creative way. We had no problems using the app, and it ran smoothly on both an iOS 6s phone and an iPad Air. The phone made for a better camera as the tripod held the camera steady. There are no IAPs, and sharing is done via the camera roll rather than being in-app.
Also available for Android phones and tablets.
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.