5 Free iPad Apps for Making Videos in Elementary School

In the next weeks I’ll be spending quite a bit of time working in elementary school classrooms that are equipped with iPads. One of the things that I’ll be doing is helping teachers help their students make short videos. These are some of the apps that we’ll be using. Teachers will try them with me and then decide which one they want to have their students. (The criteria for selection will be discussed in a future blog post here on Free Technology for Teachers).

Draw and Tell is a free iPad app that students can use to draw scenes on blank pages or to color coloring pages provided in the app. After creating their drawings or coloring a page, students can then record themselves talking about the drawings. That’s an easy way for kids to tell a short story and save it in video form.

ChatterPix Kids comes from the same developers as Draw and Tell. ChatterPix Kids is a free iPad app that students can use to turn pictures into talking pictures. To create a talking picture just snap a picture with your iPad or import a picture from your iPad’s camera roll. After taking the picture just draw in a face and tap the record button to make your picture talk. Your recording can be up to thirty seconds in length. Before publishing your talking picture you can add fun stickers, text, and frames to your picture. Using ChatterPix Kids can be a great way to get students to bring simple stories to life.

Shadow Puppet Edu has been one of my go-to apps since its launch nearly five years ago. The free iPad app can be used by students to create audio slideshow videos. The app offers an integrated search tool for finding pictures from the Library of Congress, to search for images from NASA, and to find Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr. You can also import pictures and videos from the camera roll on your iPad. After selecting a set of images students you can arrange them into any sequence by simply dragging and dropping them into order. Then to create a story press the record button and talk while flipping through your images. Like the previous two apps listed in this post, Shadow Puppet Edu does not require students to create accounts or have a log-in ID.

Toontastic 3D is an app for making animated videos. The app provides students with three basic templates to follow and then customize each scene within their chosen templates. Their options are “short story” (a three part story), “classic” (a five part story), or “science report.” Once they have selected a story type they will be prompted to craft each part of their stories in order. A short description of what each part of the story should do is included before students start each section. Students can pick from a variety of story setting templates or they can create their own within Toontastic 3D. Once they have established a background setting students then select cartoon characters to use in their stories. Students can choose from a wide array of customizable cartoon characters or they can create their own from scratch. After the characters are placed into the story scenes students can begin recording themselves talking while moving the characters around in each scene. Students can swap characters between scenes, change the appearance of characters between scenes, and move characters from one scene to the next.

Adobe Spark Edu is a relatively new version of Adobe Spark. The education version enables school districts to create accounts and grant students access to Adobe Spark’s tools. It is because of the education version that I can recommend Adobe Spark Video for some elementary school classes. Adobe Spark Video is a good app for making audio slideshow style videos. Students assemble a series of pictures then record themselves talking about each slide. The pictures that students use can imported from their iPads or selected from the integrated image search results within the app. Students can also write on each slide. When writing on a slide, the font is automatically adjusted to fit in the space available. This is the app that I often recommend for making things like short history videos or a “highlights” video.


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