What it's all about
Few schoolchildren do not love the films made by Pixar Animation Studios. So why not embrace this passion by getting pupils to create their own online animations about what they are learning, asks Dan Roberts.
Two great animation tools are completely free - all the children need is access to the internet and some creative ideas. They are DoInk (www.doink.com) and Dvolver Moviemaker (www.dvolver.commoviemaker).
DoInk is an online animation creator where you can open a free class account or children can set up their own individual accounts. They can draw, add text and then animate their own work. It looks very similar to Microsoft's Paint software. After 15 minutes or so, most children have made their own animation that can be shown to the rest of the class, emailed to their teachers or parents or embedded on their social networking profile.
Dvolver is a simple tool that enables children to create their own animated cartoons by selecting from a range of characters, backgrounds and scenarios, then adding their own text bubbles and a music backing track. The animations can be emailed or embedded into blogs or websites for others to enjoy. The great thing about Dvolver is that you do not need to set up your own account; you can just click on the website and start creating instantly. I have used this with children in Years 4-13, all of whom seem to love it.
DoInk and Dvolver can challenge the more able and be excellent for pupils who have special educational needs.
Help pupils to plan their own animations with Nicki Maddams' project resources. Try AMEit's step-by-step guide to DoInk software.