These are my notes from Yang Huansong’s presentation, “The Research on Teaching Animation Design Art” at the 21st Century Learning @ the West Lake Expo held Oct 31 – Nov 3, 2009 at Xi Hu, China, also known as West Lake. West Lake is in the center of Hangzhou, China, which is about an hour by bus southwest of Shanghai. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. Dr Huansong is presenting in Mandarin Chinese and a translator is sharing his thoughts in English. I will do my best to summarize his thoughts here.

Dr Huansong is a professor at Hangzhou Normal University.

Can we adopt animation procedures and activities, like we see in mainstream media, to support learning for our students?

In teaching practice, it is important to use effective methods to help students understand and master difficult contcepts
– TA is an abbreviation we will use for “teaching animation”
– this is conducive to active learning by students

The art in teaching design animation
– teaching animation should be based on common experience and regulations
– 3D objects can be shown in a 2D plane
– designers and students should have experiences about properties of objects, and ways for representing these in 3D environments

Now showing a flash animation of a traditional Chinese poem, with rippling water, and Chinese characters displaying on the screen as a reader shares the story with a lot of expression
– visual and audio media help in the understanding of the poem
– abstract visualization can be utilized well with TA methods
– this can provide a “golden key” for students to demonstrate the different levels of thinking from Bloom’s taxonomy

Now showing a Flash player example of a story about a cat, using a series of guns and finally a bomb to open a device/room

I AM WONDERING WHAT PROGRAM WAS USED TO CREATE THIS ANIMATION? THE MOOD OF THAT LAST VIDEO REMINDED ME A BIT OF “THE PINK PANTHER!” IT IS SO INTERESTING IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS CONFERENCE TO SEE HOW VISUAL IMAGERY AND ANIMATIONS, IN CASES LIKE THIS, TRANSCEND LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATE MEANING. THIS IS A POWERFUL PART OF THIS MESSAGE, I THINK.

Teaching animation is well targeted but flexible
– TA can be applied in different disciplines and at different school levels: elementary, secondary, university

Now showing an example of a complex formula being graphed dynamically, providing a better visualization of what is happening with the variables in the formula than could be achieved by a simple, static representation / graph

Now the art in making TA
– the art of artistry
– the interface design should be artistic
– colors: foreground and background, should generally contrast
– contrast should not be too sharp, or it could be too much for the audience to bear

White and yellow characters need to be shown/displayed on dark backgrounds

Now showing an example of an interactive alphabet animation in English, showing an initial animation followed by an option for a user to click on the desired letter and see a word (with a corresponding visual animation) which starts with that letter.

Students have multiple decisions to make from a design standpoint when creating an effective and compelling animation

Now looking at another example about numbers

Now showing an example of a map of China, with different provinces that can be clicked and dragged onto their corresponding locations in China. The user receives feedback as correct or incorrect solutions are made by the user.

Adjustment and revision process
– compiles the teaching material to divide lens manuscript
– definite animation image graph / structure / color/ movement / spot / gauge / more…..

The creativity of TA and its realization art
– the establishment of the basic animation image

Motion paths can be created for graphical objects once they are created in the animation software

Now showing an example of a coloring application

The realization of creativity
– the creativity of TA starts with the possibility to create content. Manual animation is much more complex when compared to computer-based animation. Smooth movements that are more complex are possible, adjustments are easier to make and provide authors with more expressive possibilities compared to manual animation. The movement effects of frame-by-frame animation programs are not as powerful and flexible as real-time animation programs, but greater computing capabilities are required for these programs. Edited results can be smooth and more natural looking than frame animation programs.

DR HUANSONG IS SO RIGHT! IT IS CRITICAL WE GIVE STUDENTS OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES WITH DIGITAL MEDIA, INCLUDING ANIMATIONS, TO REALIZE THE GOAL OF ENCOURAGING CREATIVITY IN OUR SCHOOLS.

Now showing an example of Angelina the mouse, being able to make different ballet movements

If students can learn more actively, we will have better results in our schools

I ASKED DR HUANSONG WHAT PROGRAM WAS USED TO CREATE THE SAMPLE ANIMATIONS HE SHOWED, AND HE RESPONDED IT WAS THE PROGRAM FLASH.

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