Early spring 2012 a new project was launched into the Norwegian school system. It was called “Ny Giv” (in English it could be translated into something like “A fresh start”) The project is meant to give pupils in the last year of secondary school a boost to help them continue their education, and prevent drop-outs in the following years. I was assigned to be the teacher in Norwegian for these 15-year olds, and issued a focus on improving their reading and writing skills.
As this challenge was brought upon me, and shortly after the first assessments of the students’ basic reading and writing, I realized that the ordinary ways of teaching just wouldn’t get them where I wanted them to be. I had to figure out ways of letting them express their knowledge through other channels rather than the traditional ones.
I first heard of GoAnimate at a congress held for the teachers participating in the project, and decided to try it out. Unfortunately, it took us quite a while to get going with GoAnimate, so we only just managed to start in the “Ny Giv”-group. As our written exams were closing in, we had to move the work into their ordinary classes, and work in smaller examination-groups. Some of the “Ny Giv”-pupils took on a leading role (as opposed to other tasks where they are often passive and tend to be subordinate to others).
The first task I gave them was to pick out the monologues and dialogues of some Norwegian short stories and use narrative techniques to make their own stories, based on the given texts. They were supposed to write a paper-based movie script first (using a form to fill in), then make an animated movie in GoAnimate. As we were working on the scripts, the groups for exams were drawn, and the pupils found that they were to have written exams in English. We then switched focus and started translating and writing the texts in English. When switching focus to English, rather than Norwegian, the pupils seemed to experience an awakening, as the task grew more challenging.
We are, of course, still experimenting with the GoAnimate platform, and our posted films are very sketch-like. The obvious conclusion so far is that one should not underestimate the pupils’ abilities to work with complex assignments, and we have seen that GoAnimate is a modern teaching instrument, seemingly designed to fit the multilearning ways of the multitasking pupil.
-Olav K. H. Rimstad, 10th Grade, Sten-Tarud school, Norway.
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