May 23, 2007

Animation in the classroom: it's not five years per film

Firefoxscreensnapz001 The first time I saw Oscar Stringer do one of his lecture type workshops with teachers was in Brussels in February, so I was keen to see if there were any more animation tricks and secrets to learn to add to the already extensive list, and if the teachers' reactions would match the pure joy of this girl while animating in Ross High the other day.

Inanimate objects become animated
You can animate anything and it's maybe easiest to start with an inanimate object, rather than diving straight into clay. Why not animate the contents of a pencil case and give the objects 'personality' (this would work so well in languages as a way to learn classroom objects and personal descriptions). Toys provide more opportunities:

  • Speaking - retelling a story
  • Listening and responding - listen to video and express views
  • Group discussion and interaction on what they are going to do, auditioning the teddy bears or pencil case contents for their parts
  • Drama - discussing why they like certain performances
  • Interpreting texts - identifying main elements of plot, shaping texts.

60% of animation is sound. Oscar's introduced me to FreeSounds.com, a great place where you just search for the sound effect you're looking for. Brill!

Collaboration
Kids need to collaborate to make an animation, discussing what they want to do, trying to make sense visually of what they may not yet have really understood fully in the written text.

Sharing
It's hard to find anyone in the UK that's not blown away by the bringing to life of a text through animation, with its visuals, sound effects and music. Sharing is so easy, so remember not just to bang it onto a hard disk somewhere but also share it on Google Video or YouTube, just like the kids from Ross High have done. You might think of sharing it on DVD, by maybe selling it to parents and the community in order to make some money to pay for more plasticine.

A question
A question from Oscar and me:
why do Polish, Slovenian and UK students get so excited about creating claymations, while American students really not get it, don't get excited? A genuine question based on Oscar's experiences to which we really don't know the answer.

Read up on more of Oscar's animation tricks and tips on my February post and, if you want some more step-by-step guidance on animation and/or filmmaking then feel free to get or give some advice on the eduBuzz support wiki.

Update: Here's Oscar's Animation_Pack.pdf

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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