Animation as a teaching aid

Animator can offer the classroom teacher an invaluable resource for teaching both information technology and subject specific skills throughout the curriculum. Students enjoy using animator and find it intuitive to use. It appeals to a wide audience, independent of their age or skills. Animator can be used at varying levels of sophistication, from National Curriculum Key Stage 2 onwards. Animator can be used to develop and enhance information technology skills, allowing a student to communicate and present information. It also allows students to model aspects of their studies and apply new knowledge to their coursework.

Animation provides a new dimension for teaching resources. The combination of movement and sound creates an interesting, lively and effective method of learning. It is more appealing than text, photographs or diagrams and is therefore more likely to be remembered. Animated sequences can be stylised to keep them clear, simple and easy to understand. An example of this may be an erupting volcano together with the intrusion of dykes and sills.

Animation can be used to illustrate topics that can not be easily presented by any other visual means in the classroom. In science it is extremely effective, illustrating in seconds, rather than days or weeks, the growth of crystals or plants. Simulations of the complexities of moving molecules, or the convection currents in hot air circulating in a room are other possibilities. As a teaching aid animation can be used in multimedia presentations. Multimedia authoring at its simplest is one step on from desk top publishing. Anyone with the skills to produce worksheets on a computer with pictures and diagrams can extend this to developing coursework modules through multimedia. Animation can be used alongside other available resources such as text, artwork, scanned images, photographs, diagrams and clipart.

Animator can also combine video with animated overlays and titling providing the ideal tool for enhancing fieldwork and school trip videos, drama productions, sports events and media studies. Animations provide excellent tutorial sequences for teaching and illustrating important points where a clear understanding of a process is essential. Such an example may be the correct sequence in which to make toast or bake a cake. It may be more complex and critical such as the sequence in which to remove and discard a nuclear fuel rod from a reactor. Small tutorial sequences can also be used for instruction such as teaching young pupils how to cross the road or how to correctly make a three point turn for learner drivers. Around the school, where monitors are used to relay messages to students, animation can be used to attract pupils to particular events. Animations are eye catching and improve the presentation of any bulletin board, multimedia presentation or messaging service. It can be used to good effect in the school foyer, library or for after school events such as a parents evenings and drama productions.

Across the curriculum

English

In English animation can provide the trigger and visual stimulus for students to communicate through writing. In watching a short animated scene, such as a crying child who then starts to laugh, students have to write a script to explain why the child was upset, what made the child laugh, where did the scene take place and what was the conclusion to the scene. On an even simpler level animation can be used to help students to read as sounds for letters and words can be added to the animation making an ideal tool for very young and those with learning difficulties.

Maths

In mathematics animation can be used to challenge students to solve a problem or to simulate an event such as calculating the angle needed to hit a ball and make a passing shot in tennis. Animation can also be used to simulate a scenario that illustrates a mathematical principle such as a car travelling along slopes of different angles which can then also be used for calculating gradients and angles of slope through trigonometry. Animations can also be used for tutorial work in that simple animations can illustrate how to construct a particular type of graph e.g. a pie graph or a bar chart.

Science

Science offers a huge range of opportunities for animation whether it is a beating heart in Biology, the growth of crystals in Chemistry or the study of waves in Physics. One of the great advantages in the use of animation in science is that the time to set up apparatus or the time for an experiment to work is removed and students can experiment with a variety of animations illustrating important scientific principles. Students use the computer as the experimental apparatus and animations can be combined with a database and spreadsheet for further in depth investigations.

Art

Animation offers art students the ability to experiment with images and sound and to stimulate and develop their ideas beyond traditional teaching materials. With animation they have a new tool and can develop interesting new techniques applied in the real world by animators, designers and advertisers. Students can explore the rotation of objects, changing colours and moods, the animation of storyboards and the development of cartoons and the use of animation in advertisements and media studies.

Music

Animation can be effectively used in music. As sounds can be linked to an individual frame in an animation then the plotting of musical notes linked to the correct sound can test a pupils ability to sight read music and identify the correct sound to a particular musical note. Such an example is ideal for young musicians starting out with the simple scales.

Geography

Satellite images, particularly of the weather, can now be easily obtained from a number of sources such as Campus 2000, the Internet and the Meteorological Office. The images may be obtained electronically via E-Mail or they may be scanned digitally from a paper copy with a scanner. Once a sequence of weather images has been saved on disc they can be dropped into animator and the passage of fronts and weather systems immediately come to life. Alternatively animation can be used to illustrate the impact of geomorphological processes on the landscape. For example, a landslide, a river undercutting a bank and the formation of folds and faults. On a base map animation can also be used to explore the urbanisation of a town or city through time with different colours used to show pre 18th century developments, 19th century developments and so on.

History

History is a good subject to illustrate how animation can be used in multimedia presentations. Animation can bring alive the different techniques used to attack and defend castles e.g. catapults, rams, boiling oil, or to illustrate the defenders field of coverage for arrows fired from arrow slits in castle towers. Animations can be used to illustrate how the pyramids were built or how the first steam driven beam engines were used in Cornish tin mines.

Design Technology

In technology animations can be used to build a design and examine the effects of a working model. Animation is a useful tool for teaching construction. It also helps the student to develop and communicate design ideas by animating freehand drawings techniques which will allow the student to model their ideas in a new and exciting way. Animation increases the range of communication and presentation techniques available to the student. It allows them to use information technology to create their design. It allows the student to apply new graphic techniques. This assists the student in making a decision on aspects of a design that include colour, form, texture, tone, construction and layout. Animation offers the student the ideal method of rotating objects to illustrate 2D and 3D sections and plans.

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