The above animation is by Richard, a student in Jason Jaffe's sixth grade class at Mill Creek Elementary School in Warrington, Pennsylvania. Richard used NoviiAnimator to create his amazing cartoon. Novii sponsored a Christmas Drawing contest, and Richard's was picked as the winner. Mr. Jaffe's class is starting to dabble in podcasting so you can listen to a minute-long interview with Richard, recorded on a Palm Zire 72. View or download all of the animations entered into the contest from NoviiAnimator's Gallery page.
NoviiAnimator is a great alternative to GoKnow's Sketchy. It is packed with features and you can try it for free. Right now it's on sale for $13.95 per handheld. I'd suggest contacting Novii and asking for a classroom quote. There's a Windows program that will convert the animation into GIFs that can be used on web sites and slide shows. To get an idea of how NoviiAnimator works, check out the tutorial. Sorry Windows Mobile users, NoviiAnimator is only for the Palm OS 3.5 and above (and, unfortunately, cannot be installed with a Macintosh computer).
For Pocket PC users, there's a Windows Mobile version of Sketchy. There's also Pocket FlipBook ($19.95) and Flip It! ($4.99). I could not find any free animation programs for Pocket PC, but you can demo each of these programs at no cost.
For Palm users, there are free alternatives to NoviiAnimator and Sketchy. Schools are using AnimateMe! and Animator. However, these free applications do not have nearly as many features as the commercial programs (and tend to crash on newer handhelds).
Whichever software you choose to use, animation applications allow students to express themselves and the curriculum in fun and creative ways!