A tool for using the control of character animation to help teach children communication skills

Ying, Liangzhong (2012) A tool for using the control of character animation to help teach children communication skills. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Effective Communication is an integral part of everyday life but recent studies show that in the UK many children fail to obtain this essential skill. The traditional approach to teaching communication skills is still important in school but new developments and the increasing availability of technology in the classroom, offer the potential for new ways to approach this teaching. A number of research institutions in the UK, for example the British Film Institute, are investigating how to use media such as films and television, in the classroom, in order to enhance children’s learning. Making cartoon films is a potentially valuable teaching approach but the lack of a suitable software tool to support this aspiration limits its viability. Existing software tools do reference the learning of communication skills as one of their features but they do not see this as a major learning objective.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate three hypotheses based around the concept of using cartoon animation as a tool to enhance learning of communication. The first of these is that film production software which gives children control of character animation design may significantly stimulate their interest in exploring how to express their feelings. The second is that a correctly designed tool will integrate well into classroom teaching to produce effective learning and finally that the same tool can be used to extend learning of these skills outside the classroom. As a result a software tool has been developed to help children engage with the features of character animation, while learning how to express their feelings through storytelling in films. By using the tool, children experience the major steps of character animation design in filmmaking and in this process, each step is specially designed to fulfil their needs and stimulate them to use emotions. Experiments were carried out both in the classroom and out of school. The result indicated that older primary children had significant engagement in exploring emotional usage on the virtual characters and further analysis revealed children’s engagement was associated with age, social adjustment and computer experience. Moreover, using tool-assisted teaching in the classroom could bring some positive effects which do not exist with conventional teaching. In the out of school testing, around half of the children had positive reactions to accepting parental guidance and some of them (including their parents) had significant engagement in exploring emotional usage.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Blanchfield, P.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1024 Teaching
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 12692
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2013 11:17
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 14:34
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12692

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