George Lucas once said, “We live in a visually sophisticated world, so we must be sophisticated in using all the forms of communication, not just the written word.” This statement captures the magic and power of GoAnimate for the classroom. GoAnimate for Schools has been a very powerful tool for students to develop meaningful projects that are aligned with the national standards. Recently I adopted GoAnimate as part of my regular 5th grade classroom curriculum. The interface is simple, yet intuitive which allowed my students to quickly understand the fundamentals of the program. Rather than having to spend numerous class periods having to learn how the program works, within 20 minutes my students were able to create real cartoons.
The simplicity of the interface allowed me to spend more time on having students develop a cartoon that demonstrated specific concepts. This included students creating cartoons that focused on evidence based arguments. Students were required to develop cartoons that attempted to convince adults how to improve our schools. As students wrote scripts, they learned to conceptualize how words and images must work together to create a powerful message. Students utilized the writing process throughout the entire experience; the classroom was full of students writing, editing, peer reviewing, and re-writing.
Additionally, GoAnimate for Schools gives students a variety of options to bring his/her imagination to life. Many other digital tools require a user to have prior experience with creating digital environments or characters. However, GoAnimate for Schools gives students the ability to create dynamic sets and unique characters with minimal artistic ability. It was amazing to watch students use a variety of predesigned templates to create an entirely new project. The seemingly small ability to manipulate the size or color of an object offered students a universe of possibilities.
Another amazing feature of GoAnimate for Schools is the limited amount of resources required to use the program. Since GoAnimate for Schools utilizes the cloud, it is extremely helpful for allowing students to share a computer. Like many other schools, our district has encountered major funding problems. Equipping each classroom with newer computers is impossible. Sharing a singular computer lab with twelve other classrooms presents a large issue with scheduling. Instead, students were able to use our five classroom computers to develop individual his/her cartoon. More importantly, students could also work on the cartoons from home or any other place outside of school with internet access. I greatly appreciated how students took the initiative to go home each night and work-on his/her project, even though it was not required.
Although students quickly embraced GoAnimate for Schools and produced amazing cartoons, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. As I watched students interact with the program, I constantly saw new opportunities for GoAnimate to be used for interdisciplinary purposes. Rather than having students utilize simple paper and pencil assessments, GoAnimate will enable students to enthusiastically express what he/she has learned. Moreover, students can become the teacher by creating cartoons to teach others about new science or mathematical concepts. As an educator, I am constantly struggling with how to encourage students to take more ownership of his/her education. GoAnimate will continue to have a permanent place in my classroom.
-Jason Siwek, 5th Grade Teacher, OH
To learn more about GoAnimate for Schools visit http://goanimate4schools.com.
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