Educational animations are on the rise. The industry is growing as developers are being asked to use technology to create relevant materials for children.
More and more educators are researching different ways they can make learning exciting and engaging for children in this Digital Age. To many it’s no surprise that technology keeps topping the list. But more importantly it’s the way in which technology is used for one Indiana elementary school.
Iggys Adventures, a series of short animations depicting specific scientific concepts, was developed in collaboration with the elementary school’s teachers. The topics included slow erosion, quick erosion, and kinetic and potential motion.
The movie was produced by Albert William, M.S. and Zeb Wood, M.S., both lecturers of the 3D and Animation classes in the Media Arts and Science (MAS) program, as well as MAS graduate and undergraduate students, in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI.
“We wanted to create something that doesn’t look like typical low-budget animation. So we came up with the toon outline. It worked well with most of the scenes, but mostly we wanted it to look different and give it a unique style,” said William.
The videos feature a loveable, but ambiguous, character who experiences first hand the scientific concepts at work. The art style, envisioned by one of the MAS undergraduate students, flaunts a comic book style look in almost every scene.
“The movie will be an invaluable tool to use when teaching the different Science topics. The animated visual representations really illustrate science concepts, which are difficult for children to grasp by reading textbooks alone,” said Kristie Satterfield, 4th grade teacher at Brandywine Elementary in Greenfield, Indiana.
The video was a surprise for the 4th grade students. “We played the video and then we showed them how it was made. They began asking questions, and they started to get more open. So when we showed it again after the presentation, they were cheering. I think they understood what they were looking at and how much work and love went into it,” said Wood.
The project was accomplished through the MAS 3D production course. There were 7 undergraduate students and one graduate student involved in the project. “While there were challenges, it went very smoothly and we were very appreciative of the professionalism of our students,” said Wood.
Wood and William had their own surprise at the end of the presentation. “All the kids wanted our autographs. We handed out some swag and were being asked to sign them by the kids,” said William. “It was amazing seeing their reactions and how much they enjoyed it.”
“It was definitely unexpected, and it makes you feel really good when you can do something for that age group especially,” said Wood.