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The Use of Animation as a Teaching and Learning Tool to Engage Students’ Interest in the Classroom

From simply being seen on television and movies in the past, animation has recently become a common tool in classroom teaching and learning. The book, Learning with Animation (2007), notes that it can actually increase interest and motivation in learning. A module brochure of VIA University College in Denmark, entitled “Animation as a Learning Tool”, further promotes the use of animation as a fun and effective tool to encourage learning among children.  It says that by using animation, “children develop skills and competences in storytelling, visual communication, cognition, emotional ethic and aesthetic aspects, observation and sensitive aspects, concentration, and problem-solving and innovative aspects.”

 

The development of more Web 2.0 tools has allowed animation to be produced much more easily and inexpensive than in the past years (Educational Animation, 2010). The technology that used to be so specialized has now become accessible and possible for teachers and students, even without intensive technical training, to create their own animations. Two of these free tools include Go!Animate and FluxTime Studio.

 

In the Box of Tricks website, the writer describes how he made use of Go!Animate as an assessment tool for his German language class, an alternative he used instead of asking his students to write a dialogue on paper or exercise book. A sample output by his12-year old pupil is showcased on the web page. On the other hand, FluxTime, which has an online and standalone version, promotes the use of animation in education in children through projects such as the Liverpool History Animation initiative, European Animation Project, and their latest animation competition called Mission to Titan, which was participated by 4 to 14-year old students.

 

“Young people are fascinated by animation and they enjoy the opportunity to create their own” (FluxTime Studio, 2010). Moreover, the animation module brochure of VIA University College, claims that “children in particular, are said to learn best and most when they enjoy what they are doing”. With these, the use of animation in teaching and learning appears to be more appropriate and effective in young students, though not to be labeled superior to static graphics, as mentioned in the article of  Lowe (2001). He further explains that animation, as compared to static graphics, can be more informative, closer to the characteristics of the subject matter, more explicit, more explanatory and clearer.

 

Animation, certainly, provides a sure means to capture and maintain students’ interest in the classroom, given that many people grew up watching animations on television and in movies. However, the effectiveness of using animation, and other Web 2.0 tools in classroom teaching and learning, will always depend on the type of learning experience that the teacher designs for a class. Knowing the students’ context and interests will help provide a learning environment where a particular instructional and learning tool, like animation, can be used, and eventually meet the learning objectives set for a class.

 

REFERENCES:

Animate Your Homework! (2008). Technology and Education Box of Tricks . Retrieved September 21, 2010, from http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=489

Animation as a learning tool. (2010). VIA University College (module brochure). Retrieved September 21, 2010, from http://www.viauc.com/exchange/tools/Pages/tools.aspx

Educational animation. (2010). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved September 21, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_animation

FluxTime Studio. (2010). Animation for kids – Create animation online with FluxTime Studio. Retrieved September 21, 2010, from http://www.fluxtime.com/

Learning with Animation: Research Implications for Design. (2007). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ruffini, M. F. (2009). Creating Animations in PowerPoint to Support Student Learning and Engagement. EDUCAUSE Quarterly 32(4). Retrieved September 21, 2010, from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/CreatingAnimationsinPowerPoint/192966

Lowe, Richard. (2001) Beyond ‘Eye-Candy’: Improving Learning with Animations. Apple University Consortium.

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