“Our children and young people already inhabit a digital world and their personal, social and educational lives are increasingly intertwined with technology in various, rapidly changing forms. Full participation in modern society and the workplace already demands increasingly high levels of digital competence and that process can only continue into a future that we cannot imagine.”
Professor Donaldson, Successful Futures
Animation is a brilliant and innovative way to encourage children to build digital skills, important for their future, as well as to communicate stories, ideas and concepts in a creative and original way. Here, Darren Latham of Blue Monkey, gives us three other reasons why animation can be a useful tool in the classroom.
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- Communication and inclusion
Animation can be particularly useful as a tool to encourage the creativity of learners who find spelling and grammar a challenge, because it liberates them from the anxiety of always worrying about technicalities and enables them just to concentrate on the story instead.
- Building bridges
Creating animations is by no means a solitary pursuit. There is opportunity for collaboration with learners to work together in different ability and peer groups and break down social and academic barriers. The process in making involves sharing learners’ creations with their peer group, whether within the classroom or by putting the final work online.
In my own experience as a Creative Schools Practitioner, animation has also given schools an opportunity to allow learners to work alongside artists and other professionals. Learners have been exposed to new ways of thinking and a broader set of aspirations.
For many learners, self-expression can be a huge challenge, and traditional methods of art such as drawing and painting, while hugely enjoyable for some, can feel difficult and worrying for those who don’t necessarily have a huge amount of natural artistic talent.
Animation can bring alive any standard of drawing and increase learners confidence and self-esteem when they see their characters walk and talk or even if its just their background being included in collaboration with other learners they feel more positive about their contribution.
- Presentation Skills
The other brilliant thing about animation is that it provides an exciting and dynamic platform to encourage learners to give interesting and engaging class presentations.
Animated stories are an efficient way to convey information, they can say a lot in a few minutes – just like a good song or a good poem – and all three have a lasting impact with learners. Animation is a great way to engage and motivate learners, making meaningful presentations, slide shows, visual explanations of concepts and really visually connecting with their audience.
Learners develop a useful skill for their future education in later key stages. With the increase of so many different apps such as Thing Link, Explain Everything and so many more, learners and teachers alike can move on from or at least enliven the now over-used and dated Power Point presentation.
Darren Latham has over 20 years’ experience as a secondary school art teacher and an advocate for the creative use of animation and digital media in education. Now teaching part-time, he shares his passion and skills in animation with schools across South Wales as an artist educator and offering training and mentoring to teachers. Darren is an Arts Champion for the Arts and Education Network, South East Wales, and Practitioner for the lead Creative School Scheme.
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