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Suresh Eriyat - Animation in Education | Creative Gaga

The future of animation will be far beyond entertainment. Suresh Eriyat, the Indian animation legend, tells us how animation will change the education landscape for the better.

E very aspect of the world is transforming rapidly, right from art and culture to technology. Animation is slowly finding its way into different fields, and the aspect of education is no exception. This engaging medium has tremendous scope and possibilities in the learning environment. And in a world so high on technology, it makes sense to foresee future where the lines between education and animation are blurred.

01 Animation as a Tool for Simplification

Animation will most definitely be an integral part of education in the future. One vital function is simplification of concepts. For example, in the field of medicine, animation helps make the learning more demonstrative.

 

Now with the possibilities of augmented reality and virtual reality, there are so many possibilities to look forward to. Even in schools animation serves as a tool to understand the primary STEM subjects with more clarity.


02 Making Education Engaging and Fun

There is a need for the process of learning to occur in a more interesting manner. Children can get bored, especially with the rigid text book system followed now. It is important to adapt the education methods to suit children.

 

And animation is a great way to engage children and help them learn concepts better. It is better that a child internalises the concepts than mugging them up just to pass an examination and forget that forever afterwards.


03 The Need for Constant Updating

Knowledge keeps getting updated and changing with new findings. Unfortunately with text books these updates reflect barely once in 10 years or 5 years at best. But interactive mediums and the information on the internet keeps updating constantly. In an age where things and facts are changing so quickly, it makes sense for animation and usage of graphics to come in as a useful explanatory tool.


04 The Changing Learning Landscape

The world of education is evolving. Thus the methods and approaches will need to organically change as well. Today there are so many learning platforms like Khan’s academy and Byju’s, where animation and graphics are extensively used. It’s only a matter of time before animation becomes integral to education systems.


05 Invoicing

Be prompt about sending in your invoices as soon as the job is done. Most of the bigger companies have fixed billing cycles so if you are late and don’t send your invoices in by a certain time, it might take up to the next cycle to get paid.


06 Passive Income

It’s always great to supplement your commissions with passive income. This means that you can generate revenue with minimal effort, based on the work that you have already done. Examples of this would be Print on Demand (POD) services for prints, licensing; selling content like tutorial videos, brushes, and so on.06


07 Plan Downtime

Plan for the downtime and try to save up at least 3-6 months of your basic living expenses. When you start out keep your overheads low, embrace the frugality till you know you have saved up enough to not panic if the work dries up for a while.

Published in Issue 46

This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

 

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Designing a relevant learning experience for children can be both challenging and rewarding. And one of the best ways to do it is by bringing in the play through educational games.

What crosses your mind when you think of the word ‘design’? Captivating colours? Fluid forms? Striking shapes? Trendy typefaces?

While all these elements and more are vital to design, it’s important to note that they all in conjunction serve the bigger purpose of design, and that is to solve a problem. This is exactly what makes designing so relevant, extending its use case to every discipline, one such discipline being the field of education.

From time immemorial efforts have been made to help children learn, especially mathematics. For example, in the 18th century Freidrich Froebel, the German educator, designed wooden toys to introduce play in mathematics. Since then, we have seen innumerable games, puzzles and fun activities to solve the problem of learning for the young.

In this article, Sonia Tiwari throws light on 4 novel ideas of how games and puzzles can be designed to make learning mathematics accessible and fun. Before jumping in let’s understand the two underpinning theories that the four projects are based on. Firstly, Constructionism (Papert, 1980), suggests that children learn by creating artefacts based on mental models. This visualization helps them understand how things work. Secondly, Spiral Curriculum (Briner, 1960) states that children can revisit complex topics as their understanding increases, or that any learning content can be made more accessible if structured and presented well, tailored to the child’s needs.

The other aspect to be taken into account is the type of material being used, the two types being, found material (paper/wood/cardboard/fabric) and fabricated material (3d printing, printing). The kind of material plays a vital role while designing games, especially for the purpose of education. The material needs to be perceived as an element that contributes to the learning experience, either through the various senses, or the ease of usage.

Puzzle 1 – Woodland Explorer, a Textile PlayBook

What can you do with leftover scraps of fabric? The answer is – you can make a wonderfully engaging Textile PlayBook for toddlers!

 

The cotton textile industry in India is quite large, which means, there is plenty of fabric waste being disposed of. And toddlers from the rural segment, with no access to formal schools, are equally widespread in India. Now imagine solving this problem by bringing the two together to create colourful fabric books of learning wonders.

The Textile PlayBook is designed as an educational playbook, allowing children to interact and engage with various cloth objects within the pages. And through the exploration and discovery, the children learn basic concepts and delve deeper in their imagination. The PlayBook is designed to facilitate versatile learning approaches, thus letting children learn and explore exactly how they please.

Learning Play
Pages exploring time and counting

Let’s look at the book, Woodland Explorer. Each page has a different story. For example, the “inside view” of the Hedgehog’s home, spread over two pages. The pages have an interesting mix of elements like cheese slices, tomatoes and mushrooms pinned on, letting children create their own story or explore basic mathematic concepts like sorting, grouping and counting.

A Fox and its world are spread over the next two pages. These pages allow the child to ‘pluck’ fruits and collect them in the basket, in the process sorting, arranging and building patterns. Children can unleash their imagination with the Fox character, by even introducing the Hedgehog from the previous page.

The next spread helps children learn to read time from an analogue clock. With materials like Velcro and magnets, the page comes alive with possibilities of interaction.

 

Apart from basic learning concepts and exploration, children also learn with the sense of touch, or sensory-tactile activities, thus heightening children’s overall learning experience.

Puzzle 2 – Cookie Cutter

This project was designed for a Kindergarten classroom in South Central Pennsylvania, USA, specifically as a teaching aid for a module on fractions. What makes it interesting is the story around it. Since the module was scheduled around Christmas, the emerging puzzle was a hungry Gingerbread man, who wanted to eat cookies – but must be fed only one piece at a time.

Learning Play
Cookie Eater, A fractions puzzle

The primary learning goal of this puzzle is to help children understand how simple shapes combine to form complex shapes. This also allows children to visualize fractions like halves, one-fourth and wholes, thus crystallizing the concept in their young minds.

The secondary goal is to allow children the freedom to play with the puzzle pieces by combining, stacking or building structures. This practice encourages discovery through exploration.

A. Simple Shape formations: Constructing and Deconstructing Shapes
a. Diamond = 2 triangles
b. Square = 4 smaller squares
c. Square = 2 rectangles
d. Square = 4 triangles
e. Circle = 4 pies
f. Circle = 2 semi circles
g. Rectanglecould be = 2 Squares
h. Rectangle = 4 rectangles

B. Complex Shape formations: Constructing and Deconstructing Shapes
a. Heart = 2 semi-circles + 2 triangles
b. Hexagon = 6 triangles (available separately to fit in the same socket)
c. Hexagon = 2 squares + 4 triangles

C. Fractions
a. ¼ + ¼ = ½
b. ¼ + ½ = ¾
c. ¼ + ¼ + ¼ = ¾
d. ½ + ½ = 1
e. ¼ + ¾ = 1
f. ¼ + ¼ + ¼ + ¼ = 1

D. Tangrams – Children can choose to combine puzzle pieces to make their own shapes
E. Structure Building – Children can stack the puzzle pieces to build structures
F. Counting – Children can count the puzzle pieces (up to 45)
G. Sorting – can sort by shape and size, possible to sort by colour if 3d printed in different colours
H. Comparisons – large vs small, wide vs narrow, tall vs short, sharp vs smooth etc
I. Free Play – building stories with the Gingerbread man and cookies, stacking, sorting etc.

Learning Play
Cookie Eater, A fractions puzzle

Puzzle 3 – Bricksters

When a game is designed around the immediate environment of children, it becomes relevant, and thus accessible. The Bricksters game was designed again for a Kindergarten classroom in South Central Pennsylvania, USA. But this time the game was based on Halloween, the eminent season. The objective of the game is to aid children in understanding the concept of constructing and deconstructing single digit numbers, through the idea of ‘trick and treats’. With the help of the board game, children get familiarized to single-digit addition and subtraction, depending on the trick and treat tiles of the board game. As the game proceeds, the children’s stack of blocks also raise, thus allowing them to visualize the added values.

Learning Play
Bricksters, A Board Game for practicing addition and subtraction
Learning Play
Learning Play
Learning Play

Puzzle 4- Turtle Pom Pom

This project was designed for toddlers. As the name suggests, children play with glittery turtle-shaped coasters and little colourful pom poms. The idea is to add the pom poms to the coasters to practice concepts like counting, sorting and grouping. The colours and containers provide many opportunities to explore the basics of mathematics.

Learning Play
Turtle Pom, A sorting and Grouping game

Bibliography

Clements, Douglas H., and Julie Sarama. 2004. Building Blocks for early childhood mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 19:181–89.

Clements, Douglas H., and Julie Sarama. 2005. Math play: How young children approach math. Early Childhood Today 19:50–57.

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