Digital Technologies Animation Part 2 – 26th February 2019

Following on from last week, this week we are tasked to create an animation in groups that does one of the following:

  • 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
  • explains a mathematical principle

Having spent the past week discussing various ideas for this task and looking at different experiences and outcomes in the Curriculum for Excellence our group finally decided on creating an animation which represents a geographical process, namely a tsunami. We discussed the whole process at length, and we all had various ideas of different materials that we could use so we made a list of items to bring in to the class on task day. We all have children so have various toys around which we chose to utilise.

Everyone enjoyed the discussion process and expressing our ideas to the groups and I can imagine that children within the classroom would feel the same way, this could be a hugely engaging task for them. It would also be a huge learning experience outwith the specific topic of interest (in our case this would be the geographical process of a tsunami) in terms of learning transferrable skills such as collaboration, turn taking, co-operation and communication.

We decided that we would focus on three second level experiences and outcomes for this task. These were:

  • While working and learning with others, I improve my range of skills, demonstrate tactics and achieve identified goals. HWB 2-23a (Education Scotland, n.d. P.85)
  • I can describe the physical processes of a natural disaster and discuss its impact on people and the landscape. SOC 2-07b (Education Scotland, n.d. P.287)
  • By comparing my local area with a contrasting area outwith Britain, I can investigate the main features of weather and climate, discussing the impact on living things. SOC 2-12a (Education Scotland, n.d. P.291)

Beauchamp (2012) notes that ICT should not be viewed as a separate ‘subject’ but something that contributes to all areas of learning, this is echoed in the Scottish Government (2016) with “It is only when digital technology finds a place in all curriculum areas that our learners will be able to fully benefit from an education enhanced by digital technology” and I wholeheartedly agree with both of them. It is imperative to effective teaching and learning for ICT and digital technology to be seamlessly incorporated into the daily classroom and not simply “slotted in” once per week.

The list of experiences and outcomes that could be incorporated into this task is vast! There are many cross-curricular experiences and outcomes which can be incorporated into this task and it is a great idea for incorporating cross-curricular learning into the classroom.

If this task was posed to children within a classroom, I believe, it would have to be closely monitored by the educator. Effective group work, like this, takes a lot of scaffolding and children may need support to allocate work on their own, delegate responsibilities and break down the task given to them. The educator would need to have the lesson very well structured and constantly monitor the groups and group dynamics within the class.

My favourite “prop” that our group used was a green screen. My children frequently use StikBot for stop motion animation and they received a StikBot set which included a green screen at Christmas. Having never really looked at a green screen before and not really understanding it I “tinkered” with it at the beginning of the input whilst my group-mates set up the “toys” with a view of beginning to record our animation. We opted, after consultation with the lecturer, to use the StikBot app because I already had the app downloaded on my mobile phone and we found that using a phone was less cumbersome than using an iPad for recording. We used the green screen and found it extremely effective and were amazed at the results for the background of our animation. Below is a visual representation depicting some of the work that was put into this task.

I agree with Jarvis (2015) in that it is very time consuming to ask learners to create animation videos and how effective it is will depend on the circumstances of the learning. He states that “If you are looking for efficient transfer of information prior to an exam this probably isn’t the way to go, but if you are more concerned with your learners exploring a topic over time and acquiring a transferable skill into the bargain, this may be the way to go”.

We discovered, quite quickly, that creating an animation is a very lengthy process and we became a little bit bored when making ours. Moving items, a fraction at a time, seven times to create a one second shoot, became quite tedious and frustrating. If an item fell over or was moved too far or too much meant that the animation wasn’t as “fluid” as we would have liked. This is a problem that could be faced in the classroom. My solution to this would be to work on the task for a short amount of time each day, for example: set aside one hour each day to go over prior learning and spend some time on the animation, asking the children to only create short animations as I don’t think separate animations can be strung together to make one long animation. Within our group we overcame the problem by turn-taking. We simply took turns filming and moving objects to try to make the process less tedious. This worked well but meant that we were all working within a very small space. We didn’t mind working in a small space together because we all work well together and are aware, as adults, of general personal space rules. This could be a great teaching point within the classroom as children need to be taught social skills such as personal space.

Overall, I really enjoyed the animation inputs within this module. I have learned that animation can teach much more than just technology skills such as collaboration, listening and talking and turn-taking. It is definitely a resource that I will utilise as a teacher but will remain aware that children may find the process tedious and will strive to ensure that my lessons are structured well to minimise any of the issues that may arise.

The link below features our completed tsunami video.