In groups, we had to create an animation which either recreates a historical event, represents a geographical process (e.g. glaciation, volcanic eruption), recreates a real-life scenario (e.g. going to the dentist, shopping) or explains a mathematical principle. As a group, we decided to ‘explain a mathematical principle’ through our animation. As we had already made a clear, detailed plan and storyboard it allowed us to start creating or animation as soon as we got in to class.
To create our animation, we used the iStopmotion application, on the iPads, which helped us understand how to use movement, audio and adjust the characters whilst inserting it into a story. Initially, I found the application fairly easy to use and that it was going to create a good product overall, however, the more we used it the more frustrating it became as it was not an advanced app and therefore did not have a lot of features. This meant that, when it came to us wanting to add text that was being said by the character, we had to write it on a piece of paper and stick it to the background. The animations consisted of lots of images of individual movements, also known as, frames.
Our animation was based on the mathematical principle of using fractions which were represented by Lego bricks. We believe that this will be an effective way for fractions to be taught in the classroom as it is incorporating ICT as well as toys that are likely used by the children. As explained by Beauchamp (2012, p. 66) “ICT equipment is part of pupils’ everyday life, so should be part of their everyday play.” Overall, with the aim that ICT will help enhance a child’s learning and understanding of different curricular areas. For our fractions, we focused on the equivalent fractions in 12 which we broke down and showed how it could be represented in a fraction wall. Overall, we had the fractions: 1 whole, 1/3, 1/6 and 1/12, with different size Lego bricks representing different size fractions and explained how they can be equal even with different numbers. This would be a main aim of the teacher to focus on that the fractions shown are all equal.
When we went in at first, we began setting up our scene. Initially, we set up our main background which was a construction background, however, there was too much surrounding light and the camera was picking up parts of the classroom. Therefore, we began placing large sheets of black and white card around our set to allow us to make extensive use of the area and be able to film our animation efficiently. We also arranged our Lego blocks so that we were able to place them in shot when we needed instead of trying to find blocks whilst filming.
As I previously discussed, Animation is described as “Animation involves the stringing together a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move.” (Jarvis, 2015, p89). Animation is sub-section of ICT but still holds significant importance, as explained by Jarvis (2015, p. 92), Bertrancourt (2005) suggests three ways in which animation can be used to enhance learning:
- “To enhance learners’ visual representations.
- To illustrate processes.
- To provide an interactive element.”
However, animation is well-known to be a rather time-consuming and lengthy process for a minimal length outcome. Whilst working on our animation today I realised how true this fact is, as we were working on our animation for 3 hours with only 30 seconds worth of footage. However, I feel that it would still be effective in a lesson and help enhance a lesson to which the teacher can expand their lesson from the animation. I think it is debatable whether animation is worth the time or not, and to a certain extent I think it can be worth it if the end product is successful. But overall as a student teacher, I find it too time consuming, especially with the amount of other work that is involved with lesson planning, and in general.
Overall, I felt that our process was fairly successful. Due to our plan and prep week (last week) ensured that we were organised for today and were able to get our animation completed to a good standard with minimal issues. Additionally, we were successful in presenting a useful and effective lesson starter and ensured that our animation could be understood by the viewers. Therefore, our plan and prep week was very helpful and it allowed us, in our groups, to create a detailed plan to stick to but make changes as we went along, if we desired.
Our animation was based on a construction site, we had a worker drive in in a digger which held Lego bricks in the front and he went through a barrier, stopped and jumped down with a sign behind which read ‘Construction Beware’ with an inserted piece which read ‘Today we are going to be learning about equivalent fractions’. We then had the digger reverse out and a 12-piece Lego block move into shot with a ‘1’ on the background to show that this piece of Lego represented one whole, two six-piece Lego blocks then moved onto frame with a ½ shown on the background. This was continued with 1/3, 1/6 and 1/12 with the different sized blocks (as can be seen in the video at the end of this blog post). All the blocks are then placed on top of each other and create a fraction wall, which the worker then climbed and held up a sign which read ‘These are equal’ which the teacher would be able to expand upon. Another piece of paper moved into the background which showed each fraction again with a diagram of the different size blocks, as a form of recall. The worker then jumps off the wall and another worker drives the digger into the Lego block fraction wall causing it to all fall apart and the last few frames were of the camera getting closer to the Lego pile before it went to a blackout.
Our first level animation was well-suited with a number of the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes;
- Through taking part in practical activities including use of pictorial representations, I can demonstrate my understanding of simple fractions which are equivalent.
- Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts.
- I can use exploration and imagination to solve design problems related to real-life situations.
One of the main aims with our animation was to identify and establish what skills would be learned or developed for both the children and the teacher. A skill is generally, something which is learned and practiced over and over again to be able to use it in different contexts and have the ability to do it well. Some of the skills my group identified was;
- ICT ability
- Time management
- Problem solving
For the children, these skills will be important lifelong qualities to pick up which will be useful to them in the future in life, learning and eventually work. Additionally, animation involves use of ‘play’ to a certain extent which would be useful to them and help the complete their animation whilst having fun, as discussed; “ICT equipment is part of pupils’ everyday life, so should be part of their everyday play.”(Beauchamp, 2012, p.66). With the children’s disposition and capability to develop skills old and new whilst working in their small groups. These skills listed above, along with others are definitely skills that I would want to flourish in the children in my class and will be developed through being taught how these skills will be effective with this task and also be developed naturally as they grow older. For the teacher, these skills are important recaps and can help them in their work life as these skills are all important for a teacher, especially, patience and teamwork.
For teachers, there can be the knock of confidence when carrying out a task, like this, when working in groups as it could lead to many issues which can be worrying for the teacher, as explained by Beauchamp (2012, p.66) “Although teachers may be worried by new technologies… we need to be sure that this is not transmitted to young children, or that other obstacles are not put in the way of their natural curiosity and willingness to explore new technologies.” This is where the skills take effect.
To improve our animation, I suggest that we include more examples of different fractions. The reason we only broke down the one fractions into the equivalent fractions was due to the time as we felt that it would be too rushed and would not make a difference to the outcome of our animation and would not be necessary to the lesson. Our animation was an introductory tool to a lesson that the teacher can use to further a lesson. Additionally, it would give the children an initial idea of how to break down fractions, identify equivalent fractions and make fraction walls. Another improvement could be for us to focus on our text for a long period of time to allow the viewer(s) to read it easily. Another issue we had (which was easily resolvable) was lack of certain Lego blocks, however, the ones that we did have access to were useful and allowed us to adapt our fractions to the blocks. In hindsight, we should have ensured we had the exact blocks we needed as it meant that we were only one short of what we needed.
We also decided to add audio to our end product to help make it more intriguing and interesting to watch. This was one change which we made to our initial plan as we did not plan to do this, however, we feel that it was beneficial for our end product. We added an upbeat song which was royalty free.
Last week, I posed some questions that we thought of whilst planning our animation;
- What skills will our animation help the children develop? A number of skills have been developed or discovered (as listed above), such as: patience, teamworking, leadership, etc.
- Will our end product be effective? Personally, I would say that yes, our end product was effective as it is an interesting lesson starter that holds a lot of useful information and can be easily understood.
- Does our animation enhance the learning in the class? Again, I think that it would be an effective tool in the classroom that would help enhance the learning as it is a fun, interesting way to make a lesson come to life.
- Is animation worth it even though it is time consuming? Personally, I am 50/50 with this question as I feel that although animation can have a really effective outcome and can be a very useful tool, I do not feel that it would be an effective use of time in a classroom, mainly due to the large amount of work that has to be done. However, I feel that I would use it as a fun lesson finisher task.
- Will animation be useful and lead to an effective lesson that will help the children learn? I think that the animation is very useful as it teaches the lesson as well as helps the children learn the topic in a fun, interactive way.
- Will it make the lesson more enjoyable? I feel that use of our animation or any animation wold help make a lesson more enjoyable for both the children and the teacher as it is a creative way for a topic to be taught, explained and developed upon.
Whilst working on our animation I thought of another question; ‘will children nowadays find making an animation easier as they are ‘digital natives’?’. ‘Digital Natives’ as explained; “Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.” (Prensky, 2001, p. 1). Ultimately, I think that children being ‘digital natives’ would definitely be of benefit for them when working with animation or ICT in general as they have to ability to grasp topics and gain a good understanding of them with minimal issues.
In conclusion, I rather enjoyed this task and felt that we carried it out well and created an animation successfully which would be beneficial for the children to enhance their understanding. I feel that I would possibly use this in school. I feel that it would be a task that I would more so do towards the end of a topic to allow the children to create their own animation on what they had learned and also help use their skills. This end task would help include animation as a finalisation to a topic to help secure the children’s learning and understanding whilst using ICT. This would be with use of ICT throughout the topic also. Once our end product was complete, we were really proud of it and were glad that we were able to do the task successfully and have a useful and effective lesson add-on, to help enhance a lesson. For children, this feeling is important to them when completing a task like this as children will always remember how you made them feel as a teacher and how that helped them learn well.
Unfortunately, our complete animation was rather large in size and therefore I have inserted a link to our video, to allow you to watch the end product. If you click on the link, a small image will appear, if you click on that the video will expand to full size and should allow you to press play and be able to view the animation. Enjoy! A4AF456F-9A11-4F07-951A-198BBEB197EC
Beginning of our animation
Corresponding fraction cards
Making our animation
Making our animation
End of our animation
- Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.
- Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers.
- Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives Digital Immigrants