Fourth- and fifth-graders at Hillside Elementary School are pairing artistic creativity with high-tech tools to produce claymation and storytelling videos in an after school class. Wayne Osborn, Hillside’s librarian and resident technology guru, and Nancy Bennett, second grade teacher, started the program to get students interested in educational technology.
“In our digital storytelling and claymation programs, we are finding that students are showing increased motivation and self-esteem via the use of technology,” said Osborn. “Students are energized and enthusiastic to tackle these projects, which carries over to their school work and classroom behaviors.”
Eight students meet twice a week‚Äîon Tuesdays they work on storytelling using Photostory and PowerPoint, on Thursdays they create claymation using digital cameras and Windows Movie Maker.
For the claymation activities, students designed their stories on a storyboard, and then created the figures for their movie using clay. They build the “sets” and then each student films their movie. Students work together collaboratively on the filming process, with one student moving the clay pieces while another student films. After the still frames are shot, students import their photos into Microsoft Movie Maker and then add special effects, voiceover narration and titles to their movie projects.
“Students are assuming an active role in their own education by discovering different features available in the software programs and then teaching other students how to replicate what they’ve done,” said Osborn. “This is in contrast to a being a passive receiver of information generated by a teacher or a textbook, as is often the case. We are finding that students are making active choices about how to display, obtain and generate information.”
Bennett lends her classroom and technology expertise in the after school classes along with Brian Flinger, a recent graduate of Evergreen State College and member of the Washington Reading Corps, who tutors students in math and reading during the school day.
Each class ends with a “gallery walk,” where students celebrate their achievements and explain their latest discoveries and creations.