Friday, July 22, 2011

Animation the online way

Claymation is a tool that has been used in primary schools for some time. So many skills can be applied to one task and students benefit in so many ways. Animation group work tasks promote collaboration, sharing, technical skills, patience, creativity, design, writing, time management, storyboarding, character development, plot and scene development, problem solving and organisational skills. It is a valuable way to present information or tell a story.

Claymation however is time consuming and has organisational and logistical issues that may or may not be convenient in the classroom environment. There are a number of online options to get those animation ideas and creativity going that are suitable for primary aged children. Here are a few.

Zimmer Twins This site is a fun, safe place where kids can use their imagination and create their very own movies. The site is moderated daily and uses text filters to make sure all posted content is appropriate for viewers of all ages. You must make an account on to save movies.
Dvolver . In this tool you can make a short animation with no need to sign up – no passwords required. Choose from a range of backgrounds and characters. It’s quick and easy and the results are very effective.
Kerpoof is a suite of online tools that includes animated movie making. Teachers can access lesson plans and register for teacher accounts
DoInk is an easy to use tool for animation which has a very child friendly interface.
The Go animate suite is expanding and is a very popular animation site with students. The parent site, the original go animate, should be used in the classroom under supervision as some of the content (eg the characters) needs some vetting for younger children. Go animate for schools, allows teachers to create 100 accounts to use with their class which might be a better option.
Domo Animate is powered by Go animate so uses the same format. The scenes, characters, and the props are all from the popular Japanese Domo animation series. Unique animations are made by adding characters, backgrounds and lines of dialogue.
Aniboom allows students can create frame by frame animations using geometric shapes. Each fortnight a new tutorial is uploaded to the forum.

Gaining Inspiration
Inspiring young animators is easy. There's plenty of amazing Youtube videos that showcase the very best of animation to give students ideas and something to aspire to and presents are variety of animating techniques. Try viewing Kiwi, Lego Raiders of the lost ark Goyte’s “Hearts a mess” music video The making of Wallace and Gromit and a remix animation of The Wizard of Oz called Mellow Brick Road
What's for certain is that just a small introduction to animation as a tool for story telling is often enough to get your students working as mini Nick Parks, who knows one of us might just unearth the next animating genius!

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