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Young children creating animated movies

A creative process with digital technology is a complex process consisting of traditional non-digital and new digital activities. It is important that educators use different pedagogical strategies when involving young children in the process. However, it is not enough to focus merely on the process – the finished product is also important to the children.

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Why is this important?

Growing up in the 21st century, technology is an integral part of children’s everyday life. In the Norwegian Framework Plan for Kindergarten, the educators’ creative and inventive use of digital technology together with the children is emphasised. However, according to several reports, children’s use of digital technology in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions is limited, especially creative activities.

This FILIORUM resource draws on the results from the article-based doctoral thesis: The Process Is Not Enough: Children and Teachers Creating Multimodal Digital Stories in Kindergarten by Marianne Undheim (2020a).

An animated movie is a multi-media production where many still photos are played back in quick succession to create an illusion of movement. The video demonstrates step by step how educators can create a stop-motion animated movie together with groups of young children.

En heks og et gresskar
Photographer: Steinar Figved, Skylight
Professional development

Aim: By using this resource, educators will learn how to create an animated movie, and how to involve the children in the process. Useful for: Early childhood educators, e.g. at a staff meeting. Recommended time use: 60-90 min. Tips for using this resource: 1. Watch the video. 2. Create a short animated movie to learn the process, e.g. in groups of 2-4 people. 3. Try some of the activities together with the children. 4. Share your experiences with each other at the next staff meeting. Reflect and discuss how you can use animation as a method together with the children in your group.

Learning to create an animated movie

In the video, Marie Louise Heigre and three children from a Norwegian kindergarten demonstrate how they create an animated movie. These are not the same children and teacher who participated in Marianne's research, but concepts from the research are used to describe what happens in the movie.

Young children creating animated movies - a video by Marianne Undheim at the Department of Early Childhood Education at the University of Stavanger, Norway
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Activity 1: Creating an animated movie

  • Create a short animated movie, e.g. in groups of 2-4 people.
  • Edit the movie and add sound. Try different effects.
  • Share the movies with each other. Explain briefly how it is done and what effects have been used. In that way you can learn from each other.

Download

Printable version of the resource

Step-by-step description of the process

Equipment

- Duplo-blocks, clay, toys etc. to animate with

- Tablet

- An animation app, e.g. StopMotionStudio (Apple and Android) or iStopMotion (Apple)

- Possible also a movie editing app, e.g. iMovie (Apple)

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Activity 2: Animating together with the children

  • Create a short animated movie together with a few children.
  • Reflect on how you can acknowledge the children’s ideas throughout the creation process.
  • Remember to give the children an opportunity to share the movie with their peers and parents.

Questions for reflection

How can you use animation as a method with the children in your group?

They don't talk!

We need sound too!

Young children creating an animated movie (Undheim , 2020b)

Early childhood research from FILIORUM

This FILIORUM resource draws on the results from the following article-based doctoral thesis:

Undheim, M. (2020b). The Process Is Not Enough: Children and Teachers Creating Multimodal Digital Stories in Kindergarten (PhD-avhandling). Universitetet i Stavanger.

Click here for a full reference list.

Aim

To contribute with research-based knowledge of digital technology used in a creation process with young children.

Research question

  • What emerges when early childhood teachers involve groups of young children (age 4-5 years) in technology-mediated story creation processes?

Method

A qualitative case study in which groups of young children and a teacher create multimodal digital stories together: an e-book and an animated movie.

Data material

Video observations of the processes, interviews with the participants and the final products.

Central findings

The process of creating an animated movie consists of several activities which might be spread over several days: traditional non-digital activities, such as creating a story and making props and new digital activities such as animating, editing and recording sound. It is most important for the children to record sound and to share the finished product.

The strategies mostly used by the teachers to involve the children in the creative process are: inviting to dialogue, explaining the practical and instructing for results. During the process, the children are encouraged to contribute with their own thoughts and ideas. The teachers explain what to do and why.

The study emphasises the importance of focusing on both the process and the final product in creative activities with digital technology together with young children. Both the process and the product are important to provide a full picture.

The study also highlights the importance of having an open mind to the magic in young children’s creative processes, such as the narrative devices of tension and humour which played an important role for the children during the entire process.

Relevant links

Digital creativity in ECEC - focusing on the use of digital technology and digital media in a creative way together with young children - with several posts in English.

More resources for early childhood education

References

Undheim, M. (2020a). The Process Is Not Enough: Children and Teachers Creating Multimodal Digital Stories in Kindergarten (Doctoral Thesis). University of Stavanger.

Undheim, M. (2020a). «We need sound too!» Children and teachers creating multimodal digital stories together. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 15(3), 165-177.

Undheim, M. & Jernes, M. (2020). Teachers’ pedagogical strategies when creating digital stories with young children. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 28(2), 256-271.

Corresponding author

Førsteamanuensis
51832906
Faculty of Arts and Education

Department of Early Childhood Education