I realized yesterday that I’ve never written about Kerpoof before, which is a huge shame because it’s a wonderful tool that allows students to get a handle on the basics of movie making, storytelling, and has a fantastic teacher management tool for allowing students to share work in a moderated environment.
But what is Kerpoof you ask? Simply put, it’s an online social network for kids, built around art. Accounts are free, although there is a paid membership that gives you access to premium features. All users can create drawings, stories, movies, and then share their artwork with the greater Kerpoof community. Once shared, artwork can be awarded stars (much the same way YouTube videos have ratings) by other users, which earns coins for both the artist and the person awarding the stars. The coins then allow users to purchase items for their avatar, better paintbrushes, extra characters for movies, or new props and stickers for their drawings. It’s all very extrinsically motivated, but the kids love that “gold star effect” when they see their artistic creations earning stars and coins.
So what’s the big deal you may be asking, you can do the same sort of artistic sharing on other sites. Yes, you can, but the teacher controls, group message boards, kid-friendly backgrounds and themes (far-away land, fairy tales, hangin’ at school), and the most recent update make Kerpoof the perfect tool for the classroom. But I digress. Enough talking about what Kerpoof is, and more about the new tool; Spell a Picture!
To write about the tool would do it an injustice, so I’ve done a short screencast and used VoiceThread to share. Why VoiceThread? I’m far from being the gateway to good ideas, so I thought it might be fun for others to add their ideas and thoughts on how Kerpoof’s Spell a Picture feature could be useful in the classroom. That’s right, if you watch the video below, you have an assignment; leave a short comment using VoiceThread to tell us how you might use Spell a Picture in a classroom.