Low-tech animations enhance online editorials

Many of you have probably seen the animated illustration of Sir Ken Robinson’s speech on “Changing Education Paradigms” that made the rounds on the internet about a year ago. The speech was inspiring in and of itself, but the animation really brought it to life, making sense of a discussion filled with abstractions.

After sharing that video with my students, they were inspired to try something similar, and they’ve found a way to do that simply with online editorials. One staff member writes the script, then he or she works with an illustrator to plan a storyboard. They film the illustrator doing his or her thing on the whiteboard and — bam! — an animation.

Okay, it also involves importing and speeding up the video in iMovie, and when they try it again they’re going to increase the brightness and contrast. But hey, it’s a great way to make an online editorial more visual.

Here’s the first one they did last year:

ANIMATION: Gun Control Solutions from El Estoque on Vimeo.

And this is the one they created more recently:

For those of you introducing this to your students and wondering how you might provide them more guidance, take a look at this step-by-step lesson plan from education blogger Paul Bogush who did something similar with his social studies students.

Have your kids already tried this? If so, please link up in the comments.


Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind newsmagazine and online news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. She's done some print stuff, some video stuff, and some web stuff over the past 16 years as a student media adviser.

Michelle Balmeo has 66 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Balmeo

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