Go ahead! Go Animate!

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

goanim1Did you know: “Trainers and educators have long known that the use of video increases levels of engagement and retention.”  This the second line of Gary Lipkowitz’s article about Goanimate in Learning Solutions Magazine.  He is writing for the business education market… but really, aren’t we all still kids?  For the under 17 classroom, engagement is the key, and if students are creating something using their language skills to make each other laugh…. they are still learning english!

I discovered this tool through a great blog recommended by Mark Miller called:  teachamazing.com.  Goanimate4schools.com is a digital storytelling tool, a spin-off from the Goanimate site. It is a cloud-based digital storytelling tool so there is no software download required.  You choose a basic scene and then add frames to the reel to create a story.  You can change the scene, add charaters that move.  You can get even more creative with movments, gestures and emotions.  Voices can either be added through a mic recording or a digital voice that will read your text.   The school-version of Goanimate solves the problem that this education website points out – that regular Goanimate characters can drink beer, fight and kiss.  I could not find beer drinking in the Goanimate4schools site.

I was able use a demo teacher account to try out the tool.  There are basic settings that are geared towards classroom use.  The teacher can create an account and add their students to their class. Then students can create videos to put into the class account.  In this way the teacher can monitor the content and progess of the videos.  It looks to me like the teacher can have quite a bit of control over content and they can even comment on them directly to the creator.  Classmates can also easily view each other’s videos.

Here is what I was able to make in less than 20 min of playing around:

Marne’s go animate video

$$$???
Looks like it is about $350 for a school of 200 students… so not cheap! But the good news is that the free account includes 1 teacher with up to 100 students.  There seem to limitions to the free accounts such as character choices and video length (2min).  These limitations do not seem to be a problem most blogger/teachers I read.

There are several format options such as Anime, where you basically write dialogue in a fixed scene, or magna style where your characters resemble Wii charactors (magically floating on unattached appendages!).

What I really love about this tool is it requires students create dialogue that is in context.  They can add gestures and emotion to the characters which can help students make sentences to actual language meaning or the teacher can create a setting and students would have to  create dialogue to match the gestures.  For example, if your character is asking a question, you can have the character do a thinking gesture.

go anim 2What are they doing with it?
The blogger, Oldschoolteach, uses Goanimate4schools to create unit introductions and grab the attention of her elementry students.  She creates animated math problems and she finds that students pay closer attention to content presented in an animation.  I found another blogger, Mary Cooch, Moodlefairy, who thoroughly explains her experience with Goanimate4school.  She finds it quick and pratical for kids to learn to use.  She has them use Goanimate4schools to present content they have learned.  Because they are all students in the same class/account, they can share their animations easily with each other.  Teacher/Blogger Kelley Tenkely of ilearntechnology finds that Goanimate  offers students and teachers creative altnernatives to book reports, diaoramas, reports or oral presentations.  She offers  some great ideas for language projects and oral practice too.  It seems to me that Goanimate would work well for developing and evaluating the English Second Language Competences in the Quebec Education Program.

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