When dealing with media production, preparation is 75% of the workload. Getting all your ducks in a row means that when it comes time to use equipment or software, your students know exactly what to do. This is especially important when you have limited access to equipment, or limited resources. Here are some ideas for preparation activities.
Begin with inspiration
Show students sample productions from the type on which you will be working. You can build this step into the beginning of every time you work on the production, so students keep seeing samples along the way.
See our Animation Inspiration pages with links to interesting animations - Go to page
Make a real paper flip book
Younger students will especially benefit from making a real tactile flip book using paper (yellow sticky notes make it easy) and a dark marker. It will teach them better than any explanation the idea behind animation and how you can get your ideas across using the animation medium. You can make one to show them, or you can make a short one while they watch you. Each student can work on a very simple flip book of a bouncing ball, a flying butterfly, a buzzing bee, etc. Their books will allow you to see whether your students understand the concept of animation before adding the layer of technology. Although especially recommended for younger students, we think that all students should go through this step.
For more, read Wired's article on flipbooks as an alternative to business cards. Go to site
Introduce equipment and software
Not all students have to be involved in equipment or software tutorials. Avoid being the bottleneck! We suggest using two key students at first and giving them a crash course during a lunch period or while other students are busy with their work. These students can then show smaller groups of students later on or be available to troubleshoot and answer questions along the way. If you do not know how to use the software yourself, consider taking a workshop or using a tutorial. There are many video tutorials for Flip Boom! Here is a list:
Flip Boom Classic Intro (français) - Go to site
Bouncing Ball Flip Boom Classic - Go to site
Flip Boom All-Star Introduction - Go to site
Make a storyboard, write a script, have a plan
We cannot repeat this enough - do not skip this part! Your students MUST make a storyboard before beginning their animation on the computer. The storyboarding process will ensure that they have thought through their story or message and that they have identified all the things that will go into making the final animation. You can use a plain 9 panel storyboard, or one that is more scaffolded. You can also choose to use sticky notes which will allow your students to change their minds and move panels around if they need to.