SAM Animation is software that teachers and students (grades K-12) can use to create stop-motion animations. It was developed purposely for teachers and students by researchers at Tufts University with support from a grant from the National Science Foundation. A simplified version is available for free; a full-featured version is sold by Boston-based iCreate To Educate.
The goal of iCreate To Educate is to put students at the center of learning by encouraging them to construct and represent knowledge both in physical pictures and models (through crafts) and then through stop-motion video. As a result, iCreate To Educate pairs the SAM Animation software with activity guides and rubrics for teaching units in science, math and language arts to English language learners.
The activity guides (which are available for free) are not comprehensive but intended to "seed ideas" for hands-on projects, says iCreate To Educate CEO, Melissa Pickering.
A free version of the SAM Animation software allows students to compile 50 pictures and an audio file to create a movie that can be shared on YouTube. A full feature version (unlimited pictures and two audio tracks) costs $30. (School-wide licenses are $495). iCreate to Educate also sells additional materials such as cameras and prop kits, although Pickering emphasizes that teachers can use materials they already have in their classrooms to build the projects.
Home and school users have downloaded 50,000 copies of SAM Animation; two-thirds of those users are in the U.S. Although the product is designed for students of all ages, it is particularly popular with 4th and 5th grade teachers and students.
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