Stop Motion Animation at the Dodgeville Public Library
Carol Gleichauf, Children’s Librarian
I have collaborated with UW-Extension Iowa County staff Debra Ivey and Ruth Schriefer on various projects over the last few years. When the Makerspace grant rolled out, I invited them to attend the showcase at SWLS with me and we picked out some kits for use with children in our library.
Most recently, we used the Stop Motion Animation with two groups of students – 3 Iowa County 4-Hers and 6 Dodgeville elementary children. Our plans were grandiose and as we started our preparations, reality set in. Rather than a 3-part series with the same group of students, we figured out that one 90-minute session would be fine and that our original plan for each student to produce a 2-2 ½ minute video featuring a children’s book from the library would need to be replaced with a Stop Motion illustration of a page from a children’ book. It was important to us to tie the kit/technology with literacy. The results are quick videos with about 100-150 frames for each.
The 4-Hers and the other children LOVED the project. The 4-Hers each created their own videos while the other children worked in pairs. They were all familiar and comfortable with the Mini iPads (unlike Ruth and me) and a couple of them had tried Stop Motion before. They were diligent in creating their scenes and spent LOTS of time with Legos, Play-Doh, paper and markers. They learned about attention to detail and that small movements could help or hinder their project.
The equipment & directions provided in the kits helped stimulate our creativity and give us ideas for the participants. Be sure to practice with the Mini iPads, the Stop Motion app, the “stage”, etc. before you share it with a group and then you can continue to learn together.
Our movies will also be featured on YouTube. Also, remember to log off the Mini iPads before sending them on to the next library.
Boscobel Public Library staff and patrons had an amazing adventure with the 3-D Printer Kit! Several different elementary school classes got to see the machine working, and it was also a big hit at out Holiday Open House, helping us to deliver the message that today’s library is a place discover & create new ideas, information and cutting edge technology!
We recently held a Early Release Maker-space Day event using the stop motion animation kit. The attendance wasn’t great, but the participants LOVED it!
After looking briefly at all the apps loaded on the iPads, I decided to have all the kids use the Stop Motion Pro app, so I would only have to learn to use one. It took about an hour to set up the room and learn how to use the app. I set up four stations, supplementing the kit with the library’s iPad and stop motion software on a laptop used with a camera. Most kids used the iPads, but one was really excited about using the camera and (much clunkier) software.
I enticed the kids by telling them I would put the videos on Youtube. It was surprisingly easy to create a channel and upload the videos from the iPads. Check out my favorite!
We’ll have to do this again, because it was really cool and we all learned a lot!
Schreiner Memorial Library had the opportunity to use the 3D printers for the last 8 weeks, and we had a great time!! Throughout the duration of the project, we had the 3D printers set up in one of our larger study rooms. When we weren’t actively showing patrons how to use the printers, they were often printing projects so that patrons could see them in action through the glass (so we didn’t have to monitor them full-time).
We quickly learned that the staff training alone took up quite a bit of time. For libraries that are able to close for staff training days, this might not be a bad way to use that format. Lancaster doesn’t have that ability, so we had to do a LOT of one-on-one training with each staff member. Six weeks was a really tight turnaround time for this kit, so we suggest that at LEAST 8 weeks are given to libraries wishing to use them. By the time the staff felt comfortable using and talking about the printers, it was almost time to give them up!
The main focus of our time with the printers was a general introduction of the technology to our patrons. So we did daily “stop in and see what’s printing” type advertisements, and many people would stop in to watch the printers in action. We also led several demonstrations and allowed some homeschool families to try them out after they learned about them. The passive programming that much of our time was spent on allowed people to interact with the technology and -for many- see a 3D printer for the first time. We answered a lot of questions and tested the size limits of the MakerBot by printing an owl with a tophat- which took most of a day (6 or 7 hours I think).
Our biggest challenge was when the MakerBot software started acting up and refusing to start a loaded print. We couldn’t troubleshoot very effectively because there was little information online, and MakerBot doesn’t have very accessible technical support. We also heard that the MakerBots at the local high school were having the same problem, so we think that the issues were not due to user error.
A stop motion animation Makerspace was hosted at the Mineral Point Public Library on Wednesday, September 9. Twelve children grades 3 through 6 attended the program. I gave a brief introduction and showed a 16 second stop motion feature which I had created for a sample. Three children who had worked with stop motion animation previously were assigned as leaders. At one point, I moved some of the kids around so everyone was interested in the project. One group created a stop motion film with Play-Doh and two groups created films using LEGOS. One of the groups actually had each person create their own and then just played them in a continuous loop. It was a great activity and it was fun to watch the final creations. We also played them for the parents as they arrived. We will be using this Makerspace kit two more times this month and are hoping to have some more fun results.
It was good to see most of you these past few days at the Makerspace training. As you know our grant period ends December 31 and we will need to report on programs. Here is the list of kits. Please let me know what kit/s you are interested in using this fall and I will develop and share a schedule. It is anticipated that each library will have their requested kit for 6 weeks in order to familiarize staff with the kit and plan and present a program.
Please send me your kit requests and several possible dates by Friday, September 4.
The tentative schedule so far:
September 1-October 16 – Stop Motion Animation – Mineral Point
October 1 – November 13 – Circuits – Barneveld
November 1 – December 11 – Drawing/Calligraphy/Painting – Mineral Point
October 16 – December 11 – Stop Motion Animation – Barneveld
I request patience on your part as we work out this schedule. Don’t publicize any programs until you have confirmation of your dates and kits.
Please contact me with any questions. The calendar will be posted here on the SWLS Makerspace Blog. For those of you who haven’t signed up for the blog yet, please do so when you receive the invitation that will be sent out tomorrow morning. The blog will also be the place for discussion about what works and what didn’t work so well as the kits are being used for programs.
Please contact me with any questions. Stay tuned – more info to come!