Saturday, August 24, 2013

Learning Environment - The Graphic Nature Of Animation

Source: The Forest
Even though we don't teach science, we find ourselves returning again and again to motion graphics that tell stories about the natural world. Maybe it's because our students' curiosity unfailingly becomes piqued by issues of earth fairness.

Children are the first to recycle and the first to insist on preserving the environment. They feel close to the outdoors, the grass, and the innocence of animals. They haven't yet been converted to the germaphobic paranoia of Purell. For kids, taking care of the earth is not a progressive versus conservative debate. It's a natural reaction to seeing litter in the garden or oil on the pond.

We've collected below a few of the best educational videos about world studies and environmental science. These infographics attest to the power of animation and computer models, as well as the need for coding and design training in our schools. More than anything, they speak to the effectiveness of visual communication over aural or literal.

Earth science courses could obviously make great hay of these clips. But any homeroom or social studies class could show them as Monday morning waker-uppers. They highlight urgent current events and speak to the role of the United States in the global community.

These films also reinforce the tools of graphicacy. They combine statistical data with arresting visual facts. They employ geography, too, in their representations of oceans, continents, and countries.

"The Forest," by Sasha Milic, reveals the impact of deforestation in Indonesia. The clip is stunning in its beauty and its narrative quality. It's a captivating feat of animation and storytelling. On the surface, it highlights a critical issue in a specific country, but more deeply, it offers an invitation to use eye-catching motion graphics in sharing revelations about science and the environment.


The Forest from Sasha Milic on Vimeo.

If teachers want students to create their own animated movies, we like the Easy Studio iPad app for producing quick, cute videos. It's not free, but it offers a host of features and shapes to generate surprisingly fluid clips. Check out this video for a preview of its functions.

If you're skeptical about the nonverbal communication power of graphics, check out the Water Saving Campaign clip posted on YouTube and Video Infographics. The narration is entirely in Arabic, but a viewer of any language can easily understand its message.

Take a look at these other masterful animations about the environment, all available from YouTube, Vimeo, or Video Infographics. They are as much works of art as works of science:

Ending Overfishing


Ending Overfishing from OCEAN2012 on Vimeo.


Bill McKibben's Thought Bubble: The Fight Of Our Time


Bill McKibben's Thought Bubble: The Fight of Our Time from Thought Café on Vimeo.


Let's Talk About Soil


Let's Talk About Soil - English from IASS Vimeo Channel on Vimeo.

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