The final project for course 5 has been a difficult one to get through. Trying anything new in the first year of a new one to one iPad program was going bring up some unforeseen problems. I should have known better, but instead of just dove head first into the deep end. However, I was excited by the possibilities that the iPads offered to my art program and I wanted to take advantage of them
The first problem I encountered was that it was very difficult to do an animation project if you do not have iPads. Despite the tech departments best efforts, the classroom teachers in grade 4 did not get their class sets of iPads until the late in the first week of October. The problem seemed to be that Apple would not allow our school to bulk buy all the apps that they wanted to put on each grade levels iPads. It took weeks to work this out and more time to install all the apps.
The second problem that I ran into was how would the students send me their work. Our school has a policy where students in grade 4 or lower are not allowed to have a separate school based email account. First they gave each student in a class the same email address. However, this resulted in Gmail viewing these emails as spam and they were not sent to me. Next, the school divided each classes into 2 groups and then gave each group an email address. Again this did not work as Gmail read these as spam. Yesterday, they tried sending the attached images from the same email addresses, but to an address in the same domain (I think I understood this correctly) Anyways, it worked and I can now get all of my students work off the iPads and sent to me.
The last problem was that we had to use art time to try and work out the emailing issues. This led to the kids missing art studio time and as a result we have run out of time to finish everything I wanted to do on this project. I am going to have to leave out the sharing of their animations using Voice Thread and having the students posting their animations on to the school YouTube account. I may do that by myself.
However, overall the project has been very well received by the students and they have been fully engaged during class time when they are working on their animations. I fully plan on doing this again next year and hopefully, now that I have some of the bugs worked out things should go smoother.
Lastly, if anyone out there has tried this project as well please let me know how it went.
*The American in School In Japan utilizes Curriculum Mapping with Rubicon ATLAS. The following unit is written in the ATLAS form.
* The Art program at ASIJ has limited contact with the elementary school students. Due to this limited contact, Art only gives an effort grade.
Well, fourth grade finally got their iPads last week. After weeks of waiting and a little wondering if they would ever get here, the iPads made it and I got through an abbreviated first lesson with each class. I had to take some things out of the lesson because I just felt that I am too far behind and I would’t be able to catch up in time to get my final project done for my course.
For the most part the first lesson went off without a hitch. All the things that I planned worked with the only a small hiccup coming from the kids getting really excited about the project. The students were able to figure out the Drawing Pad app in groups quickly as planned and then they were able to draw the stick figure poses without any difficulty.
During one of the classes the admissions office brought by some parents to look at the ES program and they dropped by my room. When I explained the project of how we were going to create movement through the use of digital animation they seemed genuinely amazed. I think what was even more impressive to them was how engaged the kids were in their learning. The kids were focused, on task, excited about what they were doing and ultimately, they were having fun. That was kind of nice to see.
Next class we will start the next lesson in this project. The students are to choose an action that they can break down into 3 anchor poses as I call them. Anchor poses are the major poses that hold a movement together. The students will then pose in their 3 anchor poses while a neighbor uses their iPad to photograph them. The students will then use the Drawing Pad app to upload the photographs. They will then draw stick figures over top of their photograph of themselves. The idea is to get the right positioning and proportion of each pose. They may have to take more than 3 photographs to get their overlying drawing absolutely correct. Once the have got the drawings for the 3 anchor poses done, they will then start out drawing all the incremental poses in between the anchor poses.
Once they have got these done, they will have got all the reference material they need ready to create their animation. Stay tuned for the next update to see how things went.
Moving forward can be a very good thing. Often we can get stuck with what we are comfortable in doing. It can take a concerted effort to move forward, modify or totally change a unit of instruction. The images above are examples of how my Stick Figures in Motion project used to look like before I moved that unit forward to have more of a tech emphasis to it.
Parts of the unit has remain unchanged and other parts have moved forward in the hopes of improving this project. What has stayed the same is the focus on the human figure, its proportions, the use of line and drawing from different points of view. What has changed is the use of technology to allow a clearer idea of how the body works in motion through digital animation and the ability to share one’s work with a wider audience.
By using the digital animation, the students can fill in all of the little movements between their 3 major poses without having to do a myriad of drawings. That in itself could be very interesting, but that takes time and space; both of which I do not have a lot of right now. Also, the simple fact that the students can share their work beyond the walls of their classroom is huge. Sharing, getting new ideas, and seeing different perspectives allows for a lot of new learning opportunities. With new learning comes growth and new opportunities.
My hope is that by taking an existing unit I can move it forward so that the learning that happens has a better impact on the students and that they have a clearer understanding of how line, figures, proportion and movement can be expressed art. It will be very interesting to get their feedback on this when we are all finished this project.
Lastly, don’t forget if you would like to contribute in anyway to making this project even better, just send me your ideas. Remember two heads are better than one.