TEC Teacher Takeaway: Puppet Pals, Sock Puppet, Feltboard, and Avatars

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Image courtesy of Ms. Eboni Morris

Image courtesy of Ms. Eboni Morris

TEC Center and Fred Rogers Center’s Early Career Research Fellow, Dr. Katie Paciga recently published a blog post, Plugging in with Puppets On-Screen connecting her deep dive into scanning the research on technology and early childhood development. Feltboard, Puppet Pals, Sock Puppets, Club Penguin, and WebKinz are some of the apps highlighted. (Links to the apps can be found in Dr. Paciga’s blog post on the Fred Rogers Center website).

The studies collectively tell of how and why young children use on-screen puppets and avatars to engage in their work and play, and the impact of those experiences on their development.

Image courtesy of Tech for the Early Years

Image courtesy of Tech for the Early Years

At the TEC Center at Erikson Institute, we believe teachers need playtime with tech during your lesson planning.

Here are Dr. Paciga’s tips for teachers getting started using puppet-themed apps with young children:

  • Download one of the puppet apps mentioned in this blog post. Allow yourself 15 minutes explore the functions of the app. Identify some of the most useful functions within the application.  
    • How do you add a character to a scene?
    • How can you insert a new background [scenery]?
    • How can you resize an object or character in a scene?
    • Can you create your own character? Will it allow you to draw a new character? Will the app allow you to import a photo from your camera roll?
    • How do you add voiced narration and/or musical accompaniment to your puppet show?
    • How can your characters move and interact with one another during your show?
    • How do you record your show?
    • How do you save your show?
  • Try to retell your favorite scene from a familiar story. One of my favorites is Caps for Sale (Slobodkina, 1940) because it has only a few characters and one setting per scene, but you’ll have to ‘pretend’ because there may not be a ‘monkey’ or a ‘peddler’ character available to use. Save your show.
  • Log out of the application. Open it again. Explore the sharing options.
    • How can you access your saved show?
    • Are there any other ways to share your show you created (e.g., can you export it out to a Youtube movie? Can you save it as a video to your camera roll?)?
    • How might you share the video with parents, teachers, peers, etc.?
    • If you can share your show, would you want to restrict/limit those options in any way? Why?

Need the TEC Center at Erikson institute to help your teaching team connect their early childhood development knowledge to using technology meaningfully with young children and families?Email us!


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