A blog for students on the FDLT at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

December 18, 2015
by Jean
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FDLT animates!

Over the last few weeks the FDLT Y2 groups have been using animation, greenscreen and video editing apps to create short films.

2015-11-30 10.22.34This year we used the animation app ‘iMotion’ to make the animations. This is a relatively simple to use free app (there is a paid for version with a few extra features). This time when we used it some of the groups experienced a problem in that if they stopped animating and watched their films back when they continued the film did not always continue on from what they had previously done. We were able to correct this using iMovie but it was frustrating and sometimes demotivating.

2015-11-30 11.03.42Something else we tried this year for the first time was filming the animation against a green screen and then adding a background using the DoInk greenscreen app. This allowed them to set their story against one or more photographs that they had chosen. As we used it we also found that the animation could be moved around on the screen to a better position and the photo could be adjusted too. This app was very user friendly and a student recommended the DoInk animation app which is something we will investigate for next time (to help overcome the problems outlined above).

After the animations were made and the photographic background added we used iMovie to edit the films. For some this meant reordering their scenes and for all it meant adding sound. Some students chose some music from the limited range available on iMovie. Others added narration, dialogue and sound effects as well. Films can also be edited in YouTube, which has a much larger choice of music.

Along the way students also used the photosforclass.com website to find photos; Dropbox, to save films at different stages and YouTube to share and edit films. It was impressive to see the level of team work, creativity and perseverance from the groups of students as they worked together to create their animations. They can seen on this YouTube channel:

The students learn how to animate and use green screen so that they can explore how to use digital technology to support and enrich learning across the curriculum. Underpinning much of the activity was narration, imagination and storytelling – many of them told stories and designed story boards in order to develop their story before beginning to animate.

2015-11-24 10.20.49Some students set their animations in non-fiction contexts that involved some research about their area (global warming, animal homes). Throughout they listened, negotiated, described, speculated, evaluated and asked questions (English). In addition this some students explored aspects of the history, science or geography curriculum to set their animation in context. All the students were engaged in designing and making sets and props and some made their own characters. Some students researched to find and evaluate images to use for their backgrounds (art and design, design and technology). All the students were engaged with using digital technology to make and edit their films (computing).

2015-11-24 13.09.44We hope that students will go and use these skills in their support for learning in schools as teaching assistants, or in the future as they become teachers. the potential for learning in the classroom or in after school clubs is huge. As adults they experienced an immersive and intensive full day of activity that might be better broken down into a series of smaller activities with children. This would give the chance for greater reflection between each stage.

Furtehr reading:

There’s an interesting blog post here about the educational value of making stop motion animations with children and also these journal articles exploring research:

Fleer, M. and Hoban, G. (2012) Using ‘Slowmation’ for intentional teaching in early childhood centres: Possibilities and imaginings.
Australasian Journal of Early ChildhoodVol.37(3), p.61-70.

Hoban, G. and Neilsen, W. (2014) Creating a narrated stop-motion animation to explain science: The affordances of “Slowmation” for generating discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol.42, p.68-79.

Pugh, S. (2013) Stop motion animation as an innovative approach to engagement and collaboration in the classroom. The Student Researcher. Vol 2. No 2. pp109-120.

Reid, D., Reid, E. and Ostashewski, N. (2013) Combining iPads and slowmation: Developing digital storytellers in an early learning environment. World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. pp. 1539–1543

 

December 3, 2014
by Jean
0 comments

Film making with Into Film!

Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.

Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring digital technology with FDLT Y2 students. We were fortunate to have support from Rico Lowson and Sophie Burrows from the organisation Into Film.

In the first session Rico and Sophie introduced animation and shared some ideas to help children understand were the process had come from. This included exploring the illusion of movement created by the ‘persistence of vision’. this can be explored through looking at the work of Eadweard Muybridge, an artist working with photography at its earliest stages, or making flip books, zoetropes or thaumatropes.

if you haven't got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.

if you haven’t got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.

Using digital technology we can now make a range of simple types of animation in the classroom. Rico and Sophie introduced us to claymation (using plasticiene), paper cut-outs and silhouette animations. In the sessions students used the apps imotion, imotionR and imovie to film and edit  animations, and it is possible to use other equipment and software as well. It was very useful (for both students and tutors!) to have Rico and Sophie with us to show us examples and give us practical tips.

The MK group at work

The MK group at work

These included:

  • using imotionR with imotion (through the wireless network) so that one ipad could remotely control another, eliminating movement when the ipad is touched,
  • ensuring that hands were kept out of the picture by having a line to stand behind when images were being captured and some agreed signals for when items could be moved around,
  • taking 5 shots for the opening or for any reading (credits) and then taking 2 shots before moving the items,
  • using the ‘onion skin’ on the app so we could see where each had had been, and move a little, or readjust if necessary,
  • going through and deleting any shots of hands in the imotion app, before exporting to imovie.
UN group at work

UN group at work

Across our groups at Park Campus, Northampton; Beauchamp College, Oadby and Milton Keynes we continued to work on this in another session, exporting them to imovie to edit. We created eight short animations to and they can be seen on this YouTube playlist

Reflecting upon the experience (both as observer and film maker) I was interested in the possibilities for learning inherent in the activity of creating a stop go animation. Teamwork, co-operation and negotiation was vital throughout the process. Creativity, having ideas and making them real, was apparent from beginning to end and there was so much practical problem solving. It was essential to be organised in both planning and filming the animation and there were numerous roles to perform at each stage. As adults with limited time in a taught session we produced enough of a film to get a sense of the overall process but  I can imagine that going from the initial idea to the end product could be an absorbing and rewarding experience – and a film show on a big screen would be great occasion in school!

The Oadby group at work.

The Oadby group at work.

In Northamptonshire there is an organisation called filmnorthants who will screen films from children and adult film makers – this could be a great opportunity for class films. Another possibility is setting up a film or animation club after school or at lunchtime – many children are keen to learn how to do this and pursue it in their own time as well as at school.

The CPD session that Rico and Sophie led for us was a great springboard to having a go ourselves, first with their support and later on our own – you can contact them through Into Film. If you are a school who would like to book training for 15 or more staff, you can email CPD@intofilm.org or ask to speak to the CPD team on 020 7288 4520.

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