Animation in the Classroom

During the summer I completed the INTO Digital Bootcamp in King’s College, Dublin. From the moment we walked in the door on the first morning we were bombarded with ideas on digital learning in our own classrooms. One in particular that appealed to me as a great starting point was the animation workshop. Having only dabbled a little with animation using Photostory, I knew how laborious it was to take photos with a camera and organise them into a story. The workshop was facilitated by Cormac Cahill of Burnfort NS, Mallow, Co. Cork. Cormac completed the same course the year before and was now facilitating as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE). We discovered software called “I Can Animate” which cuts out all the messy business of connecting cameras and importing the photos onto Photostory, Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. The software costs £23 but a free five day trial version can be downloaded in advance of using up school funds.

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Basically through the use of an external webcam you can take photos through the software storyboard system. Each ‘still’ creates a shadow so the person behind the camera can have smooth transitions between stills and enables them to find the correct placing when the camera is moved out of place – a necessity when working with children!

clip_image008I subsequently discovered that Kudlian Soft, who make the I Can Animate software  have developed an app for I Can Animate which can be used with the iPhone, iPod (4th Generation) and iPad 2. This however is not compatible with iMovie and so if schools want to leave their projects with a more polished production the software for PC or Mac is the safer option. The app is brilliant to teach the basics of animation but some form of tripod is advisable such as the Breffo Spiderpod.

To all those who are interested there is a wealth of video tutorials available on this software. It is really very simple, even a child could do it – which I exactly what we want! The beauty of animation is that it can be as simple or elaborate as the creator wishes.

At the 90 minute workshop, working in pairs we each created our own animations having never used the software before. I have played our animation on the nursery rhyme Incy Wincy Spider for my class and they were very excited about the idea of creating their own animations using their own content. Down the line it would be great if we could enter a full length feature animation for the FÍS Film Festival!

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