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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fun Animation Project with Chromebooks

This simple animation project from our middle school Computers class proved to be the most engaging one we've done so far. I'll post all the videos, the directions and some tips below so you can easily adapt it for your class.

We used the Stop Motion Animator app on Chromebooks. (They finally released an update for the app after a bug had made the previous version unusable for several months.)

Students had a ton of fun with this project! They watched my simple tutorial (below) and were making animated videos in no time. A few groups didn't want to stop at the end of class!

You can see in the photo that our students used Lenovo Chromebooks with the reversible camera. It allows them to easily capture images on the table in front of the device. If you have Chromebooks with cameras that only face the user, it's a little more challenging to get pictures of objects on the table and see the screen at the same time. (Here's a blog I came across that shows how one teacher addressed this problem.)

Here are the simple example videos that I created for the project:

And here is the short tutorial that shows how to use the app:


This document contains all the directions and links to the above video files.

And here are a few tips and things to consider:
  • I didn't mention in the video that the spacebar is the shortcut key for capturing a frame and that the Undo button will delete the last frame of the animation.
  • In my tutorial I neglected to emphasize the importance of slight movements of the object from frame to frame. I also didn't state that it looks best if the camera stays in the same place. Consequently, some students made a very choppy series of images. It sort of hinted at action, but I wouldn't call it an animation.
  • We had a little trouble with the app when we tried to load a previously saved video or when we were recording audio. Usually restarting the app or the Chromebook solved it.
  • You'll notice the directions refer to a contest for the best animation. I selected five videos from those submitted and posted them on our school's homepage. Students could vote (using a Google Form) for their favorite. Here's the winning video, created by one student who won a snack and soft drink for his efforts.
I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as ours did! If they create videos you'd like to share, I'd love to see them and show them to our class.

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