SMARTBoard Lessons and Using Animation

I love adding animation to the Notebook lessons I create. Animation is a great way to excite your students and get their attention. To state it more succinctly, animation is fun!

Animation can be used to convey an idea, concept, or thought in a way that words, still pictures, and audio cannot. Animation also has advantages over a movie when trying to teach certain concepts or skills and it requires a lot fewer computer resources.

Given all of the benefits of animation, you must also make sure that your animation relates to the subject matter and grade level and is the most appropriate media to use in conveying information. Your animation may be fun to look at but it can also distract your students from the key message if you're not careful.

Below is an animation of a volcano. This may be appropriate to use depending on your objective. If your objective is to bring the students' attention to the SMART Board so you can introduce the subject of volcanos, then it might be appropriate. If your objective is to describe how a volcano works, then it would be inappropriate for that page.

Here are some key points to remember when incorporting animation into your lesson:

  • Animation can draw a student's attention to the SMARTBoard but it can also draw it away from the inportant information.
  • Animating words is less effective that using static words since they require more effort for the students to read.
  • Animations are great to use when highlighting a change from one state to another and when explaining processes like volcano eruptions, weather patterns, body systems, or circuit diagrams.
  • When using animation to explain a complex process, do not use written words at the same time. This may overload a student's visual processing. Instead, try using a non-visual media type like audio to convey information at the same time the animation is displayed.
  • Animations should be age-appropriate and have meaning to the audience. Would you use the same animation to explain the process of a volcano to a 2nd grader as you would an 8th grader?
  • Using too many animations throughout a lesson can diminish their effectiveness and you should almost never use multiple animations on the same page.

Displaying animations on a SMART Board effectively will not only help engage your students but it can also have a dramatic impact on learning.

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