Activity 2 – Animation

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Rationale

Animated films and the skills needed to produce them can provide a stimulus to learning across the curriculum – especially in Art and Design, History, ICT and Literacy.

When talking about animation in class, it is important to stress that ‘Animation’ is a performing art rather than a graphic art. The drawings and models replace actors and actresses, so when children are creating their own animation it is important to approach it through the creative skills they would use in drama rather than graphical skills.

Children will have their own preconceived ideas about what animation is from what they have seen at the cinema and watched on television. Try to alert them to the fact that animation is not just Dreamworks and Disney. Animation is image manipulation and it can be used on any object.

Visual media provides an engaging pathway for students to explore and understand academic content. It requires students to use many of the 21st century skills that will be needed for future career and college readiness. It is through active exploration, autonomous learning, creativity, communication and problem solving that students are able to acquire the technical skills and thinking strategies needed for career and college success.

Animation is a 21st century tool that makes learning accessible and exciting for all types of students. Teachers who use animation in their classrooms are able to increase intrinsic motivation and autonomy and help students regulate their attention and increase access to new learning. When students have the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and understand through the use of animation, they become more actualized autonomous learners.

We have decided to allow pupils to showcase an element of the curriculum that they are undertaking. They will be taught the necessary technical skills and then encouraged to plan and produce an animation that explains a concept linked to a subject they are studying. This will act as a vehicle for their own learning as well as provide a pedagogical resource for future pupils.

In order to maintain a common approach among different countries we decided to adopt the following steps but each country was encouraged to adapt them to their own institution’s teaching methods. This will allow us to share good practice as educators.

Introduction Phase

It is important to gain an understanding of the level pupils are at prior to the activity and so we have suggested the use of a KWHL grid (see resources) or similar method. This can be used to track the pupils’ skills with respect to the subject content and their digital competency. It provides a method of finding out what pupils currently know, what they want to know, how they will approach the problem and finally a way of evaluating their efforts.

Research

Depending on their age, pupils should be given the opportunity to research their subject matter themselves using the library and Internet as applicable. They should consider both the digital skills and the topic knowledge.

Development of technical skills

This phase is where the pupils are taught and practice digital competencies necessary to produce the film. Again, we anticipate that teacher input will vary with age and experience. Older pupils will benefit from being given time to experiment as this will strengthen the learning.

Planning

Pupils plan their animation and consider the images, equipment and approach. We have suggested that a story board is used as a common approach. This can be drawn on paper or developed online using a digital approach such as Storyboard that.com (see resources).

Creation

Pupils given time to realise their animations.

Reflection

Pupils showcase their animations and provide a reflection on their own efforts (complete KWHL grid). They should also be allowed to act as a critical friend and assess the efforts of their peers.

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