|"Student Working on a Project" / Copyright 2013 by Alice Chen|
In the classroom, student engagement is essential to learning. Without this component, students are merely going through the motions. When I discovered GoAnimate, I realized immediately that it was a great product that my students and I would love. In just under 10 minutes, I was able to quickly create a professional-looking video to jumpstart one of the many professional development trainings I provide to other teachers at my site. Soon, I was also using it to teach new concepts in my classroom. Naturally, the next step was to introduce it to my students.
In my classroom, we not only read stories, but we also analyze them and make connections between the world of literature and the world in which my students live. For example, bullying is unfortunately a reality in schools today, and to address this issue, I challenged my students to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on what it means to take a stand against bullying. They were to choose an upstander (someone who speaks up against bullying) from literature, history, or modern times. It could be a literary character from many of the stories they analyzed throughout the semester, a political leader they studied during our speech unit, or even an acquaintance they knew.
For their PSA, my students first had to write a script that included the emotions, actions, and dialogue of their characters. Then they had to bring their script alive through the use of multimedia. At this point, I gave them a choice of creating a podcast, an iMovie, or a GoAnimate video. Though my students had never tried GoAnimate before, many were immediately drawn to using it and the majority of them chose this as their vehicle of expression.
As my students worked, I can hear the excitement in their voices as they argued (in a friendly fashion) which characters and settings to use. In the past, when my students use a new technology tool for an assignment, I have to front-load the activity by creating my own tutorial, which is obviously very time-consuming. Luckily, GoAnimate provided a quick and easy tutorial on their website that modeled how to create animation videos. However, most students didn’t even have to watch the tutorial, and they went right to work, easily maneuvering GoAnimate’s site without any need for guidance.
After my students finished their GoAnimate PSA’s, they couldn’t wait for me to show them to the rest of the class. Also, they were truly interested in viewing each other’s work as well. In the end, I was pleased with the quality of work my students created, and they had so much fun using GoAnimate that they didn’t even realized that they were also learning along the way.