Students bringing lessons to life with stop-motion animation

SINGAPORE — More Bendemeer Secondary School students can now actively apply what they learn in their English and Social Studies lessons, after a successful pilot of a new learning method using animation earlier this year.
The students used stop-motion — an animation technique to make an object appear to move on its own.
During their Social Studies classes, lower secondary Normal Technical students were tasked, for instance, to craft a story based on a topic such as the significance of the Singapore River to the country’s economic growth.
The students were then divided into groups to create brickfilms — which are made using plastic construction toys, such as LEGO, and stop-motion animation — to animate the different scenes of the story. They subsequently narrate the stories by adding voice-overs to their animations.
Mr Winston Tham, a humanities teacher at the school, said the new learning method is “a very effective tool” for teaching writing and oral skills. Previously, students had to put up a skit, but brickfilms were adopted as they were more “efficient” in engaging the entire class of 40 students.
“With brickfilms, everyone can (be involved) in a scene, but for (a) skit, there are a lot of restrictions. For example, only a few people (from the class) can act in the skit,” said Mr Tham.
The use of infocommunications technology (ICT) in learning was highlighted by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat during the ministry’s workplan seminar two months ago as an important strategy to make learning engaging for students across all schools.
Mr Heng had urged teachers to continue exploring how ICT can transform their teaching, citing an example of how a maths teacher had asked his students to learn from online material before going to class.
At Bendemeer Secondary, ICT is also used in the teaching of mother tongue. A web-based integrated learning and assessment system tests students’ competency in comprehension and critical thinking skills in the Chinese language. They can also draw mind maps with the online platform.
“Students are more engaged … they are more independent in their learning as compared to the traditional method of learning,” said Chinese teacher Mavis Lee.
“For example, students do mind maps on the mahjong paper, but through the system, they use Google (to find out more information) and it enhance their learning.” Amanda Lee


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