I’m not a young teacher. So, when faced with the prospect of standing in front of a group of people and talking for a while, I’m rarely flustered. Yet just a few weeks ago there I stood, palms sweating, voice wavering, and more than a trace of terror in my eyes. I was at TCEA and I was presenting an overview of engaging alternatives to PowerPoint. It wasn’t that I was unprepared or unexcited about the presentation. It’s that I walked into a room expecting an audience of perhaps 75 people and found myself face to face with a crowd of 400 or more! I started the presentation at nearly a run, and stumbled through the first few minutes barely breathing. Then, suddenly, miraculously, the room was full of laughter. The mood lightened. I breathed deeply and slowed down. I’m pretty sure that GoAnimate for Schools resuscitated my respiratory system.
What happened to help turn it all around? As I transitioned from an overview of movie-making software to the topic of animation, I showed the video OMAM1 (an overview of Chapter 1 in the novel Of Mice and Men). Lennie fell in the water. That’s really it. A moment of levity in the midst of serious learning is often a real game-changer since our mood affects our motivation and our motivation is essential to learning. That moment of emotional refreshment really rejuvenated the lesson.
OMAM1 by Mr. Moore. Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate for Schools.
Honestly, I wasn’t surprised that an animation was just the cure that my lecture needed. In class for the past two years I’ve used animation to introduce new units, and I’ve had students use it to show vocabulary in context and to summarize their learning. I’ve encouraged my own children to use it and their teachers and classmates have been genuinely awed by the capabilities of this software. It has been a real hit. I have trained my coworkers in the use of the software, and in so doing have passed along some opportunities for serious play. I hope that my presentations at TCEA and in my own district have encouraged greater use of animation tools as a means of sharing content knowledge in schools.
If you feel like there are just too many outlets for creativity and humor in students’ educations, this probably isn’t the software for you. Otherwise, give it a try. It might just save your life ;).
– Steve Moore, 9th Grade English Teacher, IL
For more from Steve, follow him on Twitter: @TchMoorenglish.
To learn more about GoAnimate for Schools visit http://goanimate4schools.com.
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