New Technologies:The Possibilities and Pitfalls

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Animation: Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages-both from personal experience and from readings

  • Its very fun to do!
  • If you know what you are doing, know what you want to achieve and are organized, you can get though the process quickly.
  • You can go at your own pace and not have to keep up with everyone else.
  • It’s a form of group work, so you can bounce of ideas and knowledge off each other.
  • If you can relate to a concept or content in your topic, you can expand your knowledge as you go through the process knowing all the theoretical content steps, and you produce something visual so you can deepen your overall understanding.
  • Engages students in active learning, cooperative learning and uses a range of multiple intelligences (Tech4learning, 2004).
  • Animation can be used to visualize a dynamic phenomenon or process which cannot be readily seen by the eye or science setting (e.g. meiosis), so they produce a visual product which shows the content (Tech4learning, 2004). Has the potential to deepen their understanding of topics through visualization of content.

The process of doing a claymation is very fun, motivating and interesting. I can see some benefits it can have in explaining certain processes in science. Students can sometimes become bored or dis-interested if you continuously show videos, projections and pictures (staple resources in science department) to them explaining process or systems. Experiments don’t always help either, as some difficult processes to visualize can only be seen in a real laboratory setting. This is where claymation can come in handy especially if you want students to get hands on with the content. You can select a difficult process to visualize (e.g. meiosis) and ask students to produce a movie that explains the process and final product. This can deepen their understanding as well as make them have fun.

Disadvantages-Both from personal experience and from readings.

  • Audio problems encountered during the editing process may frustrate students.
  • Final editing process may be a problem as can only be done by 1-2 students. If working in large groups there’s nothing for the others to do, so they may become bored or passive.
  • It’s a time consuming process. Task involves preparation time, actual photo-taking time and them editing time all of which may need to be under teacher supervision.
  • Role determination as certain people will inevitably do more work than others, which is unfair to them and their group members.
  • Familiarity with software. Many might not know how to use it or how to edit, so they may become frustrated or lose complete interest in the task. Also time consumed in explaining to all students how to use the software.
  • Research shows that stop-motion animation rarely furthers students knowledge and rarely has any benefits to student knowledge when compared to static/textbook graphics or diagrams (Betrancourt, M. 2005).
  • The final product sometimes does not relate to the content at all. Students may lose track somewhere and produce a movie that neither fills your criteria nor expands their knowledge, thereby being a waste of time.
  • Level of knowledge with this technology in students is highly varied. Although some students may be interested in taking on the challenge, some may become disinterested or intimidated by the technology, and not produce a good final product (Betrancourt, M. 2005).

Having done a task requiring us to produce a claymation, I found the process fun but the final editing process was very frustrating. The music didn’t want to edit properly, only 1 person could do the editing, leaving the rest of us to do nothing and the slides began to move too fast, so some fine detail was lost. I’d imagine that if I encountered this, many students would encounter this problem and they would lose interest far quicker than I did. Also, it is hard to find content in science to actually allow students to produce a stop-motion animation video, with students becoming easily confused with concepts so adding more confusion about using the software would frustrate them. This is where normal resources in science can come in handy. Videos can be used to show processes which cant be seen, and clear projector slides can be used to explain step-by step processes like mitosis or DNA replication. Diagrams and pictures are also helpful, as the students can look at them constantly, whereas with a video produced, the odds of them watching again can be low.

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