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Animated Learning Dr. Chris Abbott Reader in e-Inclusion

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1 Animated Learning Dr. Chris Abbott Reader in e-Inclusion
King’s College London Introduce self Mention “other life” interests in puppets and animation – both about creating worlds, and therefore linked to literacy.

2 More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott
Animation – a unique art form The Animated Learning project Reading animation – learning outcomes Activity: Genre knowledge Making animation – learning outcomes Some case studies Explain plan for session More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

3 Animation: a unique art form
The Saga of Biorn Bachelor Animation film from VIA 2011 – play first two minutes till trees all fall. Do you want to see the rest? A lot happens in 7 mins. And it is based on ancient literature sources and raises big issues in those 7 mins. We will return to Biorn later... Animation: a unique art form More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Animation is a seductive and accessible medium which has developed over more than one hundred years. In the last thirty years, the technologies of animation production have become democratised, making them available to much larger numbers of people, including students in schools. ...and as such, this work is part of the developing range of literacy practices available to learners Mention where seen on journey to conference – perhaps animated baggage sign etc. Link here to graphical symbols like Widgit, PCS More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Animation (even very simple animation) can help us to access complex texts... Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms Show first part of video to demonstrate how drawing and (minimal) animation helps understanding. More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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One froggy evening (1955) 7 minutes “the Citizen Kane of animated film” (Spielberg) Uses mythic/folk tale motifs Time-shift to the future Repeating plot device But animation can be much more complex... Discuss story and possibly show if available. More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

7 The animated learning project
Researchers developing an interest in this area. Introduce project – previously Animation and Science Learning The animated learning project More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

8 Animated Learning (EU project)
Led by the VIA University College, Denmark – an international centre for the education of animators Partners from other parts of Denmark (Danish Pedagogical University, Viborg Commune) as well as Estonia (Kinobuss) and UK (King’s College London). Project runs from to 2011 but may be extended Series of publications available from early 2012. Project details Hanne - animator and then moving to running workshops with children. 17 years. Particular affordances for children with dyslexia or other issues. However, schools having one way of thinking, and are worried about PISA scores etc. Hanne illustrated her points with animated sequences and children's films about The Creation. She warned against rules - animation is about joy. Explain about other partners and will return to them in case studies More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

9 Reading animation: learning outcomes
So = what can we learn from consuming animation? More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Reading animation Leads to enhanced understanding of narrative conventions and structure, as well as genre, characterisation, media and language This may be at the level of simple sequencing or it could be more complex and linked to higher order understandings.Where young children are concerned, their developed understanding of the conventions, for example, of the six minute classic short cartoon made by Warner Bros in the 1940s and 1950s is clear from their narrative predictions (Abbott, 1990). Abbott describes these Bugs Bunny and other cartoons as “complex narrative compressed into a short space of time” (Abbott, 1990:3). They shared their predictions in the form of storyboards and were then shown the whole cartoon and asked to comment on their predictions – which were usually correct – and the narrative as seen. Such understandings on the part of children become much clearer when they become the authors of animation rather than just viewing it. Marsh (2006) observed very young children but noticed they had difficulties with narrative structure when creating animation. In animated films, still images are sequenced to portray movement and this presents a challenge in terms of children’s understandings of time and space in multimodal texts. For some children, the three-dimensional sequencing of actions in a chronological narrative proved to be difficult. This could have been a result of difficulties in conceptual understanding of what was required, no doubt related to their particular stage of cognitive development. (Marsh, 2006: 498) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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And it has been suggested that, far from being an instigator of violence, cartoon aggression may be helpful in “building the capacity to discriminate” (Hodge & Tripp) Critical view: …viewing cartoon violence increases aggression in children, increases verbal hostility, reduces sharing behaviour, increases aggressive language, increases anger and intensity of violent responses, decreases enthusiasm for school, produces and increases anxiety, causes violence in the playground, maintains long-term aggression, produces false understandings of social realities, reduces charitable behaviour towards others, increases negative play interactions, and reduces imaginative play. (Frost, 1976) conference address, unpublished and not peer-reviewed; it is based on personal opinion: strongly held but apparently not based on empirical evidence. It is this lack of evidence that has both led to inaccurate assumptions about potential harms and inadequate understandings of the learning opportunities afforded by animation and related activities. Essentially, the speaker is suggesting that children are unable to differentiate between cartoon and real violence, and this is a common trope to the present day in popular journalism. In fact, as was suggested almost twenty years ago in an influential book on children and television, this reality/stylisation dichotomy may in fact be helpful to children. …The bete noire of lobby groups, the cartoon, which has been stubbornly supported by generation of children, turns out, when analysed by different methods, to be a healthy form, ideally adapted to children’s growing powers. For instance, far from the fantastic nature of cartoons causing confusion between fantasy and reality, the largeness of the gap is helpful to young children in building up precisely this capacity to discriminate. (Hodge & Tripp, 1986: 9) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

12 Activity: genre knowledge
Time for you to think about animation Show first part (or remind about Danish Biorn film) Ask delegates to work on storyboards to finish story Then explain to person nearest, compare and discuss Show rest of animation (if time) Activity: genre knowledge More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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What happened to Biorn? He got to Valhalla He ended up in Hallheim He didn’t die. He ended up somewhere else. Use Keepad for collecting answers then show rest of film More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

14 Making animation: learning outcomes
Word steps (Denmark) What can we learn from creating animation? Making animation: learning outcomes More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Enables those for whom text is challenging to present complex stories using metaphor, genre knowledge and allusion. In animated films, still images are sequenced to portray movement and this presents a challenge in terms of children’s understandings of time and space in multimodal texts. For some children, the three-dimensional sequencing of actions in a chronological narrative proved to be difficult. This could have been a result of difficulties in conceptual understanding of what was required, no doubt related to their particular stage of cognitive development. (Marsh, 2006: 498) Abbott 15 year old student with learning difficulties, unable to write a narrative but skilled at planning and making animated stories. Under psychiatric therapy since he was five, he suffered from very low self-esteen and rarely wrote more than two lines of writing… He could be articulate and entertaining, and he enjoyed drawing. …he was one of a group of [students] discussing why film of an iceberg was meant to warn of the arrival of a new sexually-transmitted disease. Several members of the group understood that the idea was that only the tip of an iceberg can be seen and that it stood for the [HIV] virus itself…They were asked to write the storyboard for a …public information fillm [about HIV] and Dean chose a cartoon format… His most successful [animated] film at that time was a twenty-second epic about nuclear warfare and the end of the world, but this time he settled on something a little less apocalyptic. He set his film in the Arizonan desert, with backgrounds of towering cliffs and empty landscapes. The first frame of the storyboard showed a car being driven through the desert from a camera position high above and to one side. In the foreground sat an evil-looking vulture. In succeeding frames, the car continued to drive through the desert, always seen from odd angles and from the vulture’s viewpoint. Finally, with explicit instructions as to the kind of dramatic music necessary, the vulture would sweep down on the car, the viewpoint becoming that of the passengers, and the vulture would carry off one of them. All would once more be quiet in the desert… Each frame of the story was carefully timed with the exact duration on screen in seconds. Dean’s storyboard may seem simplistic, but it shows a very real understanding of the nature of visual metaphor [if not of the behaviour of vultures]. …He was able to talk about this understanding and see, to a limited extent, the way that such analogies could be found in written texts. He would not have been able to write about his ideas in any other written form than a storyboard. (Abbott, 1990: ) Making animations seemed to increase the motivation to ‘find out,’ and subsequently, I would argue, affected the quality of their learning. The activity of sequencing, which is necessary to produce animations, ensured that pupils got to know the activity extremely well. The animation brought these activities to life and made them understandable. The class teachers suggested that the quality of science learned went beyond the usual. (Lachs, 1999: 21) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Contributes to moving image literacy and a model of moving image grammar (Burn & Parker)  [Previous researchers] assert that children can benefit from considering the ways in which the same narrative concepts, such as characterisation, setting, pace and so on, are expressed differently in the moving image and the written word, and that children’s acquisition of literacy concepts can be scaffolded by translating the techniques of one medium into another… (Madden et al, 2008: ) The investigating team, from a Computer Science department, then explain that they intend to show how the exercise of animating a narrative might lead to an ability to reproduce that narrative in traditional form. set out to create a tool which would be neither a simplistic set of clip art and scenarios from which to select nor a completely free drawing tool. A complex set of quantitative measures was used to assess how much the writing improved …some of the positive response stems from the opportunity the software offered participants to take ownership of the digital resources at hand; this was evidenced most obviously by the extent to which they made different expressive poses, but also by the way in which they were observed to create their own backgrounds by layering and scaling images, and to change the colour of characters’ clothes and occasionally hair. Finally, therefore, it is greatly desired to increase the ownership which users may take of their visuals, particularly by enabling them to make their own posable characters. (Madden et al, 2008: 925) The work on which Madden et al based their activities was pioneered by, among others, Burn and Parker (2001) who write about their use of animation as a multimodal literacy activity with 11 yr old children. They state their aim in their paper is to begin the task of constructing a grammar of moving image, very much rooted in the work of Kress (1996) and his construction of a grammar of the still image. They also locate their ideas and proposals firmly within the traditions of film grammars, and this is what sets their work apart from the computer scientists who have sometimes seemed to research the tool rather more than its application. The medium might indeed be the message here, but it is also clearly subservient to it. The third theoretical framework in which they locate their work is that of cultural studies. They then propose a model of moving image grammar. This tool has potential for others to use and can be seen as a possible theoretical framework in which to locate a wide range of data related to animation practices in classrooms, especially classrooms where language and literacy is being enacted. They also go on to describe what they call three processes of inscription that are associated with animation acts. inscriptions of the synchronic (creating individual images which will be combined to make the moving image sequence); inscriptions of the diachronic (creating the temporal aspects of the moving image by combining individual images: making duration, speed, movement); inscriptions of display (realising the finished text on different surfaces: e.g. monitor, television screen, cinema screen). (Burn & Parker, 2001: 160) They then go on to consider what the notion of this mode means for young animators and their teachers, looking particularly at storyboarding, where they see two modes, writing and still visual design, as being employed at the same time. They end their chapter with a discussion of the concept of originality, and a discussion of whether creativity is synonymous with free expression, or whether it can also result from a context with constraints. …the semiotic resources for this cycle [of producing animation through play and creativity] come from two places: from the wider media cultures the children inhabit, and also from the classroom. The ability to make new media texts depends on imaginative transformations of images and narratives; but also on increasingly explicit attention to new structures. (Burn & Durran, 2007: 62) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Illuminates and reveals power discourses (Mills, Australia) and builds process language through animation as a group task (Mills, 2007) focused on a group of learners aged 11 to 12 years, and making stop-frame animationsseen as a lens through which power discourses in the classroom become more evident. Couching her argument within a multiliteracies framework, Mills describes the complex methodology chosen. Stage One involved 18 days of observational data collection over the course of 10 weeks in the classroom. Data collection tools involved continuous audio-visual recording using a digital camcorder and two Dictaphones. Field notes and a self-reflexive research journal were kept, and cultural artifacts such as school policy documents, CD-ROMs of the Claymation movies, and photographs were collected. Stage Two involved the analysis of classroom data, including verbatim transcribing of lessons from the video- and tape-recorded data, and low and high inference coding. A list of raw codes and their reference details was compiled and later reorganized multiple times into progressively tighter hierarchical schemes. … In Stage Three, semistructured interviews (45 min) were conducted with the principal, teacher, and four Sudanese, Anglo-Australian, Aboriginal, and Tongan students. In Stages Four and Five, the results of microlevel data analysis were compared using sociological theory and extant literature about access to multiliteracies. (Mills, 2007: 225) Mills’ evocative descriptions of the conflicts and tensions in the classrooms observed repays the evident care which was taken to design appropriate methodology for data collection. Complex relationships are described and analysed, with the animation activity central to the learning aspect of the classrooms but secondary to the power discourse which most interested Mills. The rise of theories of socially constructed learning has led to a renewed interest in the group as the nexus of learning, especially if its function is to enable appropriate understandings to be developed through talk. Crook (1994) has written of the role of computer technology as a tool for such group constructions of learning, but his words could equally apply to animation, itself a technology-based activity. Computers offer considerable promise in this respect. They can furnish flexible representations that may become the objects of joint reference for learners. This capability reflects their interactivity and their sophistication as a general symbol manipulating technology. (Crook, 1990: 228) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Can be seen as part of a process of semiotic production: discourse, design, production, distribution (Kress & van Leeuwen) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Storyboarding as a combination of writing and visual design Skabelsesberetningenbauneskole (Denmark) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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The central role of editing (as with text) More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Some case studies More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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Animation and autism Can animation pedagogy support or even develop social interaction? Can it help teachers understand students with ASD Can students with ASD communicate more effectively through animation? Special school, Skive, Denmark. two students in severe autism-spectrum disorders are offered instruction in animation of two hours per week throughout an entire school year. We follow the pupils through direct work with them and partly through the two teachers, who teach them, and who know the students and have followed them throughout their school careers. By having two pupils in autism disorders work with animation allows us to illustrate two important questions:  Is it possible, in this particular developmental experiment, to observe signs that the animation pedagogy can support and encourage social interaction, ability to form ideas, and linguistic and communicative meaning formation in two children with autism?  Through this work we get the opportunity to identify observable signs that work with animation can support children's development. But the work also offers an opportunity to observe whether the teachers are able to extend / change their understanding of the two children of autism disorders, since it is known that the available observation media is important in determining which skills it is possible to observe at a human. Eg.  reduced linguistic expression skills often hamper a true observation of a child's cognitive function.  The second question can be formulated as follows:  Is it possible to observe signs that indicates, that the animation medium expands the opportunities of children in autism - spectrum disorders to express themselves in communication with other people?  Getting these two issues highlighted we see as contributing to a more secure understanding of what animation brings to an educational context, and thus to a more secure identification of whether the animation is primarily a media-, an aesthetic-, or a language professional activity. Project continues. More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

23 Animation and dyslexia
Ordblind (Denmark) Gentofte close to Copenhagen, one of the most affluent areas of Denmark, and an area that has had school development as an area of high priority. The school is open to pedagogical innovation and is looking for new ways to include learners with special needs in the classroom. Aim of the study: how animation can be used as a tool for teaching and inclusion in a classroom that includes children with dyslexia, aspergers syndrome and general learning challenges. Digital Animation was introduced into the grade 6 classroom in a two-day workshop with guest teachers and some of the regular teachers of literacy, English and music. Two different types of software and cameras were introduced: After this introductory period the software and cameras were left in the classroom, so that the learners could use them on their own as a means of expression if they wanted to. One of the challenged students helped introduce the technique to students in grade 4, who made animations to music, as part of their music lessons. This implementation worked very well according to the teacher. The students in grade 6 were not using the animation on their own, but it was introduced in the remedial English class in this grade, where a group of special needs learners were working with it during a four week period, making a story about a Zoo, developing a story-board and vocabulary in English, and using it as a frame for English conversation. The teacher commented on how working with animation provided a framework for creativity and collaboration, that was much more engaging to the learners than just rote learning of vocabulary, and that he saw great potentials for further work using animation More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

24 Animation and language diversity
Adding sound to an animated film as a literacy event Adding sound to an animation film as a literacy event Aarhus, Denmark. Year 2 class in suburban primary school. School district characterized by low socioeconomic status (labeled “ghetto” in governmental and public discourse): low incomes, low employment rates, high number of persons with ethnic minority background, large percentage of children and young people. All children in class are multilingual and have Danish as their second language. A part from Danish and English, the children in class use Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, French, Hungarian, Kurdish, Pashto, Somali, Swahili, and Urdu in their everyday lives (= superdiversity). Context: Animation was integrated in teaching cycle in Danish/Danish as a second language focusing on idiomatic expressions. Class was divided into two halves; each half of the class did four hours of animation on separate days. The children were divided into groups of 3-4 children. The animation was directed by animators Hanne and Anker from The Animation Workshop. Teachers assisted as they best could and observed children’s behavior during the animation. Neither children nor teachers had any previous experience with animation After a short introduction by Hanne and Anker, each group of children was given the task to animate an idiomatic expression which was chosen by the teachers and familiar to the children Description of theme of case study: This case study focuses on one specific part of the animation process, namely adding sound to an animation film. In the case study, adding sound to an animation is analyzed as a literacy event (Street 2001, Prinsloo & Baynham 2008). Adding sound requires a range of language and literacy skills: Being able to handle the programme software to record and play sound represented as waw-files; on-screen reading and navigating; decoding, understanding and interpreting a specific multimodal text genre: the waw-file; linking the graphic representation of sound of the waw-file to the plot of the animation; critically assessing the recorded sound’s interplay with the animation; formulating these insights orally to peers. Through analysis of interactions of children working in pairs or groups to add sound to an animation, the case study attempts to highlight the meaning-making resources which children draw on in a salient part of the animation process. More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

25 Animation and disaffection/disadvantage
Nicholas Kallincos, Australia Melbourne - working with Aboriginal communities in the centre of Australia. Working with people with various kinds of disaffection and disadvantage. Incredibly remote place 400k from nearest airstrip. Strong element of social care in the school, which is deliberately sited in a remote area not in the town, to avoid distractions. School attendance is voluntary and can vary from 5 to 50 on one day. Some families may be nomadic and there is some substance abuse but not as much as in some other areas. Low levels of health, hygiene and literacy. Animation engages with different literacies and with indigenous cultures of art and story-telling. Ran a short-term workshop in school with much language/cultural support from a particular learning support teacher. That was for one week; the next year it was followed by a two-week workshop. Tried to build on narrative and art cultures. More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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...there is a need to identify the nature of the scaffolding and adult support children need as they create multimodal, digital texts... The creation of appropriate pedagogical and curricular approaches can only occur through detailed analyses of classroom projects which trace the skills, knowledge and understanding developed in media production. There is a large body of work which outlines what is known about young children’s print-based literacy skills... There is now an urgent need to begin to map out similar terrain in relation to multimodal communicative practices... (Marsh) The roles identified by Lankshear and Knobel, those of ‘designer’ and ‘bricoleur’, require new understandings of educators. … teaching and learning approaches to the time–space elements of traditional texts need to be rethought. … what is known about young children’s print-based literacy skills (Hall et al., 2003; Neuman & Dickinson, 2001). (Marsh, 2006: 503) As Marsh has cogently reminded us, there is much that is powerful about animation creation by learners, but also much that we do not understand about the process. It is only through projects such as Animated Learning that we can begin to understand – and share – this awareness. More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott

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References Abbott, C. (1990). Children, animated film and language learning. Unpublished MA, Institute of Education, London. Burn, A., & Parker, D. (2001). Making your mark: digital inscription, animation and a new visual semiotic. Education, Communication & Information, 1(2), Burn, A., & Parker, D. (2003a). Analysing Media Texts. London: Continuum. Burn, A., & Parker, D. (2003b). Tiger's Big Plan: Multimodality and the moving image. In G. Kress & C. Jewitt (Eds.), Multimodal Literacies. New York: Peter Lang. Burn, A., & Durran, J. (2007). Media Literacy in Schools: Practice, Production and Progression. London: Paul Chapman Publishing. Crook, C. (1994). Computers and the collaborative experience of learning. London: Routledge. Frost, J. (1976). Conference paper, International Association for the Child's Right to Play. Birmingham. Hodge, B., & Tripp, D. (1986). Children and Television. Cambridge: Polity Press. Kress, G., & Leeuwen, T. v. (1996). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. London: Routledge. Kress, G. & Leeuwen, T. v. (2001). Multimodal Discourses. London: Arnold. Lachs, V. (1999). The Moving Picture Science Show: working with multimedia in the classroom. In J. Sefton-Green (Ed.), Young People, Creativity and New Technologies: The Challenge of Digital Arts (pp ). London: Routledge. Loveless, A., & Ellis, V. (Eds.). (2001). ICT, Pedagogy and the Curriculum: Subject to Change. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Madden, M., Chung, P. W. H., & Dawson, C. W. (2008). The effect of a computer-based cartooning tool on children’s cartoons and written stories. Computers & Education, 51(2), Marsh, J. (2006). Emergent Media Literacy: Digital Animation in Early Childhood. Language and Education, 20(6), Mills, K. (2007). "Have you seen Lord of the Rings?" Power, Pedagogy, and Discourses in a Multiliteracies Classroom. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 6(3), Thomas F., & Johnston, O. (1981) Disney Animation – the Illusion of Life. New York: Abbeville Press Sefton-Green, J., & Buckingham, D. (1998). Digital Visions: Children's 'Creative' Uses of Multimedia Technologies. In J. Sefton-Green (Ed.), Digital Diversions: Youth Culture in the Age of Multimedia (pp ). London: UCL Press. Yandell, J. (2004). Sermons in stones, or how many kick-ups can you do? Changing English, 11(2), More than Gadgets 2011 Chris Abbott


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