Digital story-telling using animation tools is a fun way of developing literacy with pupils, whether as an activity by individual pupils on their own, or as collaborative projects in groups.
There are different kinds of animation tools, some which link together a series of photographs which, when played in sequence, create an animated image or film, while others use drawn characters and backgrounds.
All of these engage pupils in developing a story narrative or convey a message in a visual and engaging way, both for the creators and the audience of classroom peers or a wider audience. Which tool to choose depends on the purpose, time or resources available.
Powtoon is a free online tool which lets you create an animation (like an animated presentation) where you can add characters, objects, text and audio and have them move whichever way you choose.
For more about using a series of photographs taken with a simple webcam to create a stop-motion animation using free downloadable SAM Animation software click here https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/07/09/sam-animation-for-creating-stop-motion-animations-in-the-classroom/
Here’s a short tutorial on using SAM Animation free demo version:
Windows Live Movie Maker
Click on the following link to find out more about using a series of photographs with Windows Live Movie Maker for creating a stop-frame animation click here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/09/16/video-editing-with-windows-live-movie-maker/
Shared by @OmarKettlewell is Pencil which is free and open source downloadable animation/drawing software. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animations (cartoons) on screen, and from these export the animations in different formats.
The following tools are all online tools which are free to use and let users draw their own characters and backgrounds or choose from provided banks of characters and templates – all let you animate to create a story.
Kerpoof Make a Movie
http://www.kerpoof.com/ Kerpoof has a suite of creative tools, of which the Make a Movie tool lets users create a frame-by-frame animation. The Kerpoof suite of online tools is specifically geared to education, and younger users. There are lesson plans and teacher guides to help support teachers in using each tool.
The make a movie tool lets users choose from provided backgrounds,objects and characters. Each of these can be placed on a timeline and each object or character can have movements or gestures applied to them at specified points on the timeline. So a character can be set to move from one part of the screen to another, to look surprised, to move arm or kick, and much, much more.
Shawn Avery has created introductory videos to using this movie tool here: http://techtutorials.edublogs.org/2011/10/04/kerpoof/
Www.abcya.com/animate.htm ABCYa Animation to lets users create an animated gif animation, frame by frame, drawing and editing as you go, from 2-40 frame animations. Each frame is hand-drawn using a selection of tools, though you can also duplicate indvidual slides for re-use elsewhere in the animation, and you can also choose to display the contents of a previous slide in the slide being worked on so that it makes it easier to make smooth animated movements. The completed animation is saved as an animated gif, which means it behaves like saving a photograph to your PC and will appear animated when displayed on a website or blog.
Parapara is a free online drawn animation tool where you simply choose a pen colour and size and start drawing, adding frames as you wish. As you add a frame the image in the previous frame appears greyed-out so that you can easily make changes knowing the required movement. The completed animation is saved online without need for a registration – and you can then share the link with others. This may not work in all browsers but does work in mobiles. Richard Byrne has written a very useful description of the tool here, including a link to examples created by learners by Kevin Hodgson.
DoInk Animation http://www.doink.com lets you create individual images with a comprehensive drawing suite and incorporate inton a timeline of similar images to create animations. There is a help guide included with the tool along with a video tutorial showing how to create a frame by frame animation. Users need to register to save work and can also use animation items created by others within their animations.
Domo Animate is a school-friendly version of the popular Go!Animate animation tool. It lets users create animations with added text bubbles to retel a story. There are several features to ensure this is suitable for use in a school.
Automatoon is a free oline animation tool which is undergoing development and a new version is promised soon.
DigitalFilms is a similar tool to Domo Animate which lets users choose from backgrounds, characters and actions, and add on-screen text bubbles to characters to create an animation oline for free. Since there is a gallery of user-created animations teacher caution is advised to determine whether suitable for use in your classroom.
Muvizu (“Movie Zoo”) is free 3D animation software download for creating high-quality 3D animations with full range of character, object, background, sound effects, dialogue and multi-camera control. Click on the video below to see an example of an animation created using Muvizu with the text of the autobiography of “worst poet” William McGonagall
Fluxtime is an online animation creation tool. You can choose a background, add characters, then move, rotate, resize the characters, and record the animation for sharing. There is also a downloadable version of the software.
Resources to support Animation in the Classroom
“Lights, Camera, Engagement – three tools for creating classroom video” is a post by Ron Peck describing each of three processes which can help engage pupils in learning about their chosen topic through creating videos in different ways: one way is to use Animoto, another is to create a video in the style of Common Craft videos, and the third is to create a Choose-your-own-adventure style video. The process for each is clearly described, and there are helpful links to resources to support teachers.
Still looking for more? Then click on the following link for further animation tools
The Teaching Ideas site has a great collection of resources to support film-making and animation production in the classroom, including lesson plans, posters, display material and more.
Apps for Mobile Devices
Stikbot Studio – a free app for mobile devices specifically designed for creating stop-motion animations. Have a look at the video below for a Stikbot Studio app tutorial (aimed at young users) showing how to get started using the app (along with hand hints for creating stop-motion animations in general.
What apps have you used for creating animations in the classroom?