Procreate has teamed up with a neighboring high school in the Australian city of Hobart, Tasmania to help introduce digital art and animation into their curriculum and the results have been transformative, not just for the students, but for their teacher as well. While Procreate is a perfect fit for art based learning, a bigger benefit is perhaps some of the other valuable lessons everyone learned along the way.
Based on one of the lesson ideas found on Procreate's education website, Learn with Procreate, Head of Expressive Arts at St Michael’s Collegiate School Louise Bloomfield adapted ‘How I Move’ for her combined year 9 and 10 animation students. ‘They had to create a moving sequence of a character that needed to be looping. It had to have that sense of design where it was actually continuous… They had to film a moving sequence on the iPad, then build a character around what the movement or the activity was. And then, drop in backgrounds and things at the end, to give it a sense of containment or context.’
With a finished animation as their end goal, the students also had to integrate video production, performance skills and even basic anatomy to gain a solid understanding of how the human body moves before they could continue to the animation part of the process. ‘I called it Back to the Bones,’ Louise explains, ‘because I wanted the students to go back to the bones and the joints to build a moving figure that was fairly blank and anonymous. From that, and the decisions that they made around the sequence, they could then start to build a story or a character.’
While the benefits of applying creativity to learning are many and quite well recognized, it is perhaps the unforeseen advantages that had the biggest impact on the St Michael’s Collegiate students. ‘There was a nice sense of collaboration, as well as that ownership of, “This is my story, these are my movements,” … it took the “too hard” out of it.’
Engagement was a key factor in allowing the students to push themselves, but at their own pace all while sharing their new found Procreate knowledge. ‘They come, they work, they're so keen to be there. They get their iPads, their concept, and the brief for the day and they sit there and they just become absorbed in this world. Yet, they're open to conversation, they're open to sharing, they're open to learning and they just become so seduced, I think, by the offerings of what Procreate can actually do.’
Animation is known for being a labor of love, but once the students at St Michael’s Collegiate started, they found that the work required came with its own rewards. As year 10 student Lucy discovered, ‘I didn't think I'd ever be an animator. I never thought of it, but to be honest, when I started the class and started using Procreate, it was so easy to do that I guess it just happened… I learned how to use something completely new that I had never used before, and I also learned how to look at things differently and just to give it a go.’ It wasn’t just the students who developed new skills while they worked, as their teacher discovered. ‘I very quickly came to see what the students were really getting from it, and I've learned so much. I'm actually participating along with them in that learning journey.’
From initial research to ideation and development, all the way through to creating a finished animation — the students at St Michael’s Collegiate and their teacher shared an educational journey that was both rewarding and fun. Academic, creative and soft skills combined to leave a lasting impression, and open up a new world of creative possibilities the school and its students looking forward to continuing. ‘I'm so proud of them, they're amazing. And seeing them come out of themselves and to actually create these quirky little animations, is really quite exciting… I think giving them any skills to see how a great program like that can be used in a wider context, on a global scale, opens so many options for them. And gives them the opportunities to learn.’
Check out all of the Learn with Procreate resources, across a wide range of subjects for all ages at the Procreate Education page.