Kaimes School - A beneficial learning tool for Asperger Syndrome students
Mary Walters comes from a varied arts background and is the art teacher at Kaimes School for pupils on the autistic spectrum.
Animation forms part of their art curriculum as well as being a major opportunity for interdisciplinary learning. Her pupils enjoy the animation programme and it has proved to be an excellent teaching tool.
In 2013, Mary raised funding for a successful two year animation project to tell stories of migration to Scotland over the centuries, and to home in on some people known to the school population who had arrived in Scotland from different parts of the world.
Creating characters in the Dressing Room View
Mary used the money to hire the skills of local freelance animators who came into the school to work in stop motion animation of either cardboard puppets or Plasticine models. Some of the group also opted to learn some CGI software as they had previously completed several films in stop motion - they were a group of six 15 to 16 year old Aspergers pupils, with considerable digital ability, and they chose Moviestorm.
They told the story of a Chilean refugee from the Pinochet coup. They learned about Chile and its history, as well as interviewing the person involved - a famous Chilean musician living in Edinburgh. It provided a fascinating story for the use of the software.
The project was undertaken over a term with one double lesson (approx 95 mins) per week. It was well structured with the visiting animator and musician working with the group, as well as the Mary and the learning assistant.
The Kaimes School Moviestorm animation team
"The group loved the animation process and benefitted from the use of the CGI software ...a first time for the school."
They were critical of it too - it did not provide all the characters and props needed, e.g. aeroplane interiors, Chilean musical instruments, but they made things up and worked around the challenge. Successes included importing real footage of the Pinochet coup to a TV screen and placing clouds outside the plane window.
Read about importing new content into Moviestorm using the Modders Worshop
Filmmaking in the Moviestorm Director View
Mary plans to use this software again with a similar Aspergers group, beginning October 2015. It does not suit all the pupils, but is of great benefit to the smarter end of the spectrum. It also provides a great transition tool for going to college where many of them begin to learn Flash and other animation programmes.
Read about Moviestorm in tertiary education
Watch Galo's Story - Chile from mary walters on Vimeo.
One of a series of Unsung Stories - stories of people who were not born in Edinburgh, but who came there to live. Made at Kaimes School Animation Studios 2014