August 11th, 2017 by Sean

3 Reasons I Want My Learning To Be Animated

Rabbi Michael Cohen guest blog post
Michael Cohen, The Tech Rabbi is a designer and technologist turned educator. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Trainer who advocates, speaks, writes, and facilitates workshops on creativity and innovation. He works with schools on a local and national level to help them develop a creative mindset to influence and empower individuals in becoming confident and passionate problem solvers.

It all started with a mouse and a big dream. I am not referring to Walt Disney’s beginnings but rather, the first movie I saw growing up, An American Tale. The animated movie of a young mouse on a journey full of twists and turns, with no shortage of trouble has traveled with me on my own journey.

Today, animation and design are playing a larger role in that journey than ever before. I never thought I would become an educator by trade. My education experience was not the best, but one thing I learned to do well was art, design, and animation. I spent years in the world of design, branding, and communication before entering the world of education. First as a design instruction in high school and college, and then later as a Director of Education Technology. It wasn’t until my 5th year of teaching that I realized the level of impact and influence those years of designing had on my teaching practice.

When our school made the decision to adopt the iPad as their one to one device in 2013, I made it my mission to ensure that our approach and app selection, our “Golden Folder of Apps” promoted creative processing and visual communication. When I stumbled upon Explain Everything, I knew that I had stepped into a creative gold mine of an app. Years later, it is still my go-to app for screencasting and my all time favorite process of animation. The power of animation lies in the effort and thoughtfulness required to bring an idea to life. With all this in mind, I see 3 simple yet powerful ways in which animation can transform learning.

  1. It brings learning to life
  2. It creates a striking visual to communicate ideas
  3. It is an incredibly engaging medium to teach others

While traditional animation takes significant time and effort, Explain Everything is your tool to make learning animated without investing the long hours and sleepless nights into creating the product. I have seen students in the primaries use Explain Everything to complete a project in a session or two. There is no reason in 2017 that animation in the classroom should be a two week long process unless there is a reason.

It Brings Learning To Life

Multimedia and visual content are powerful ways to increase our ability to retain information. Dr. Richard Mayer, a professor at UCSB and expert in multimedia learning says that verbal communication supported by visuals results in significantly better memory retention. Through animation, students are able to take ownership over, and develop a personal connection and expression to the learning. By giving students the space to personalize their learning, it allows them to organize their thoughts better, and ensure their work is made to be memorable for them, and those that experience their videos. Whether it’s a chart, diagram, or object, students have the ability to create exciting animations which outshine the best slideshow presentations. When students use animation, they are able to build a storyline that can turn a linear story into a more multifaceted experience. In the end, what makes animation so powerful is that, movement is memorable.

It Creates A Striking Visual To Communicate Ideas

When looking at videos featured on YouTube and Kahn Academy, it’s clear animation has played a huge role in how we learn new things. The ability for an author to capture movement, present an idea, and share it with others is huge! Whether it’s learning about the voting process, brushing up on Algebra 2, or watching a film about growing up, animation plays a huge role in how media is shared and consumed. Explain Everything gives students the ability to create their own learning experience, and open up the opportunity for them to become experts in how to communicate their ideas and understanding of information. Consider the solar system, cell identification, or Paul Revere’s Ride. What is more engaging? A fully animated short, or an analog poster board? By using explain everything students from six to sixty can quickly and easily create animations that can share their story, their learning, and their passion. 

It Is An Incredibly Engaging Medium To Teach Others

In education, the best evidence of understanding is your ability to teach it to someone else. The rise of Kahn Academy, and RSA animations are evidence of much more than just creative and engaging animated resources. Rather, they should inspire a new generation of animators.

Technology has amplified the ability for us to teach one another, and animation has played a huge part of it. Explain Everything is a perfect platform for any student to become a teacher! Animation takes on so many shapes and forms. Teachers and students should know that being able to draw is not a prerequisite. What is a requirement for successful animation, including the use of Explain Everything, is good organizational skills and a great plan. Sounds like an education strategy right? From teaching peers in class to helping learners across the globe, animating learning through Explain Everything is a perfect way to empower that inner educator found in all of us. Explain Everything can be used across all subjects allowing learning to be animated, exported, and ready to share with the world.

Since 2013, I have seen my own school adopt animation on a massive scale. I have taught workshops around the country focusing on animation as a vehicle for learning and Explain Everything’s role as the perfect animation tool. I have spoken at national conferences on how vital it is for us to teach our students visual communication skills. So what are you waiting for? Download Explain Everything and test out the rush of excitement as your ideas come to life!

Want to see more from Rabbi Michael Cohen? Check out his website!