Format: Application for Apple devices
Suggested age: 5 +
Cost: Free or $2.99 full version.
I’m always on the hunt for apps that can engage my daughter (2 years old) and ones that can be useful in the classroom and library. I came across Puppet Pals HD while trolling professional development workshops for the latest British Columbia Teacher Librarians Association (BCTLA) conference. I didn’t end up attending that particular workshop (there were so many excellent ones to choose from!) but I did end up installing the recommended apps from that workshop.
Puppet Pals HD is a free app which allows the user to create a two dimensional puppet show while recording a voice over. The interface is attractive and user friendly, I began using this app without any instruction. The user is able to choose from seven characters and three backgrounds. Online tutorials show the app including characters from the “Wild Western” theme but my version came with fairy tale characters. You can move, flip, and resize the characters and upload your recorded puppet shows to a personal computer. I found that I grew tired with the limited choices and would suggest purchasing the optional $2.99 Director’s Cut to unlock the ability to puppetize yourself or loved ones from your photos, add personal backdrops as well as gain access to dozens more characters and more flexibility with backdrops. All in all, I was impressed with the quality of the free version of the app and would feel comfortable recommending users to purchase the extended “Director’s Cut”.
I see many curricular connections with this app including retelling stories, creating alternate endings, presentations, and dramatic learning. I know that many of my students from previous years would be too shy to present orally in class or participate in drama classes and this gives a viable option for those students to meet those learning outcomes but not have to get up in front of the entire class.