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Animated Learning
By Jennifer Wu, Roncalli Central High, Port Saunders, NL

- Smoking just delays the inevitable
- Game Over

"Life's little lessons" are taught in many different ways…at times, some ways are more effective than others. Roncalli's Communications Technology 2104 class has taken a new approach to learning these lessons, and it's proving to be pretty powerful.

‘Earlier in the year when you entered a Communications Technology 2104 class, you would see the students bent over their notebooks, seemingly doodling. These students spent day after day doing this, sometimes hand doodling and sometimes working away in computer programs such as Microsoft Paint. The end result? Thirty second animation pieces, some complete with sound, all which promote a highly powerful message.

Some students in the class, such as Gwen Rumbolt, Sheri O'Keefe and Melanie Plowman, decided to promote their anti-smoking message through their animation. Set in a party scene, an animated smoker reaches for his lighter which is later cleverly morphed into a gun.

Gwen Rumbolt says "We did our animation with the knowledge that smoking usually results with an early death, like how suicide results in a death. We compared the two and decided to bring it out to show to everyone else." By comparing suicide and smoking, their animation made use of the catch phrase: "Suicide by gun or cigarette… They're both the same when you think about it… Smoking just delays the inevitable."

Another group of students, Greg Wheeler and Aaron House, tackled the issue of drinking versus mortality. Greg Wheeler comments "Basically, our message is saying that some people may do things like drink and not think about the consequences. And then something might happen where they don't get a second chance. Our message promotes that idea."

Done in "game style", Greg and Aaron's animation follows ‘Player 1' as he crashes and burns numerous times, all while under the influence of alcohol. When ‘Player 1' approaches his last life, Greg and Aaron admonishes the fact that "in real life, you don't get another life."

So, what makes these projects so effective? Gwen Rumbolt and Greg Wheeler both agree that it has to do with the catchiness of animation. "Animation is more eye-catching because there are moving pictures. It is especially great for kids—they enjoy watching cartoons, and will therefore be more tuned into watching animations. Kids, when they watch the animation, end up getting the message." Greg Wheeler adds, "Animation gets your attention—you don't miss seeing it. It contains movement and sound, things which posters are lacking. I got a lot of good feedback from other people about how my message was presented. They complimented me on my original message and the effective way I got my message across."

Animated messages also benefit the animator. "Making my animation in class was not only a fun experience; it was a good experience for learning." When making their animations, students in the communications technology 2104 class learned how to use programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, GIF Construction Set, and Bryce; as well as learning how to make use of the scanners and art palettes.

Both the smoking animation and drinking animation were submitted to a National competition earlier this month. Gwen Rubmolt says, "I am proud of this accomplishment. I think it's great that animations such as the ones we do for class are good enough to compete at a national caliber. It's great to know that we have a great message and that it's a quality message that's good enough to get recognition."


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