Let’s Get InspirEd!

It’s time to get inspired. At InspirEd Workshops, located in the UK, students get their inspiration from a number of workshops run by artist Dawn Feather and her freelance colleagues. With workshops like film making, journalism and animation, it’s no wonder that Dawn’s students are making some of the best art we’ve seen. As for iStopMotion, it seems that we could sure use a lesson or two from them!

Dawn has been using iStopMotion since 2008 when she bought it to start InspirEd. She did her research and found that it fit her needs perfectly – it was easy to use, had great camera compatibility and worked well with Apple’s iLife software. Most importantly, it was great to use in the classroom and children responded well to it.

“Personally, I love iStopMotion,” Dawn says. “Sometimes I won’t have access to a projector to demo the software, but I’ve found that by giving pupils verbal instructions they can work it out themselves. The space bar takes a photo, the undo feature deletes the last frame and the triangle plays the animation. Those three things are all you need to know to get started.”

Dawn’s projects are fun and plentiful. Recently, she worked with Bic Pens to run a national drawing competition. Children were asked to write a poem and draw a picture of an imaginary dragon, and Dawn thought iStopMotion would be the perfect way to take a unique approach. She worked with children in grades three and five during two two-hour workshops. In the first hour, the children drew their dragon and decided on its traits – was it nice? Did it breathe fire? Ice? – and then they worked in small groups to make their dragon out of clay. They added three pieces of dragon breath from art supplies, each piece larger than the one before so it went from small to large. In the second hour, they created an iStopMotion animation where their dragon walked across a table and breathed fire. Check out the blog post and pictures here!

In Animate Maths, another one of Dawn’s iStopMotion animation workshops, she works with children during two two-hour workshops to get them excited about math class. Before the workshop, she asks the teachers to prep the children and encourage them to think of a mathematical word problem. The goal of Dawn’s workshop is to show how the students have worked out the answer through props and characters. Like the Bic workshop, she helps students to plan out and storyboard during the first hour of the workshop, and during the second, the students use classroom supplies like dice and coins to make their animation. To see how it all goes down, check out the images here.

“I get the best reaction when I work with families,” Dawn says. “Parents are always surprised at how easy animation is. I really want children and their parents to be able to animate their own movies at home. It’s nice to see people so ‘InspirEd’ by animation and wanting to know more about it. The great thing about iStopMotion is that you don’t need a computer to be able to use it. I often recommend the app to anyone who has a tablet or a smartphone at home.”

Dawn has a lot of great recommendations for the iStopMotion learner. Check out her 10 InspirEd Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking at Home and her Etsy shop, where she sells a range of products (including the awesome Animation Starter Kits) for those looking to explore stop motion at home.

“Learning something new can be quite daunting, regardless of age,” Dawn says. “When someone takes part in one of my workshops, it’s important that they don’t feel overwhelmed by technology. It needs to be a comfortable, confident environment – otherwise, you’re not likely to retain what you’ve learned. iStopMotion is a friendly program that allows the user to learn at their own pace.”

To get InspirEd, please visit Dawn over at http://inspiredworkshops.co.uk/.