Advice for high school animation teachers

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Old 11 November 2012   #16
I completely agree that our classes should be taught like high school art classes as well. That's been my approach from the beginning and it's good to hear I'm on the right track. My assignments are all project-based and they get more complex and provide more opportunities for creative freedom as the students progress through the program. This means that the first two semesters are very software heavy but the third and fourth are almost completely driven by projects that the students design themselves. I've attached a copy of my syllabus if anyone wants to take a look.

The trick now is to keep doing that while still satisfying the state's requirement for certification in all CTE (career and technical education) programs. We do also offer dual enrollment credit at a nearby community college. We should probably get their input as well if we write our own exam.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Syllabus 1213.pdf (27.6 KB, 9 views)
Old 11 November 2012   #17
I am curious to see some results now.
Is there something online? So you are saying you want to teach art and have to make it look technical?
What percentage of your students ends up with an animation career?
Realflow forum:

Last edited by katisss : 11 November 2012 at 04:34 PM.
Old 11 November 2012   #18
With the amount of complex material covered in that syllabus, I think it's safe to say that you will not be able to train them for the AD exam AND teach from the syllabus at the same time. There is too much to do to be able to cover both in an effective way with the time you have (imo).
Old 11 November 2012   #19
I would just write your own exam. I don't think your going to find an industry test that covers everything from drawing to particle animation.

You class sounds almost exactly like the program I went through in high school, and that used an instructor written exam.

Last edited by AJ1 : 11 November 2012 at 05:17 PM.
Old 11 November 2012   #20
Originally Posted by AJ1:
Out of curiosity, what's the floor plan of your classroom? Do you have tables, or individual, boxed off workstations?


The room is about twice as long as it is wide and the computers are all along the walls. Then there's a long table in the middle for people to sit during sketch sessions and animation history presentations and any other time they just need a table. My desk is at the back end of the room from which I plug into a projector located at the front end.
Old 11 November 2012   #21

I remember we had these walled off individual stations that faced the wall, and It wasn't a great setup for what was in some ways an art class.

Some of the best work environments I've been in since have had everyone sitting in the middle of the room on tables, with as few people facing the wall as possible. Getting rid of the fluorescent lights helps too.

But I understand its high school, and its important to be able to see everyone's monitors to make sure their working. I know you weren't looking for advice on classroom layout, but I just thought I would share my experience.

Old 11 November 2012   #22
Originally Posted by katisss: I am curious to see some results now.
Is there something online?

Here's a link to the current reel for my class. Most of the dancing characters are models that I gave the student and they rigged and animated them and created the environments. Everything else was done by students in my class last year.

If you search EVIT animation on YouTube, there are a couple more videos about our department as well.
Old 11 November 2012   #23
Originally Posted by katisss: What percentage of your students ends up with an animation career?

I think it’s about 90% of our graduates that go to college. We focus more on getting them into college than getting them jobs so alot of times we lose track of what former students are doing before they get out into their careers. I do know of a few that have kept in touch who’ve gotten jobs in local advertising companies. We did have one student get hired as a previz artist on a film, another who has worked for a few game companies and one who actually started his own game company. Quite a lot of our former graduates are in college studying vfx and game design right now.

Some students take the class and realize they're not cut out for it at all, which is good in a way because it saves them from paying tens of thousands of dollars or getting bogged down in student loan debt only to find out they don't want to be animators. Unfortunately we do always have a few students who sign up for the program for the wrong reasons or they have little artistic interest or aptitude but think they can make video games because they play them all the time. They obviously don't do as well.
Old 11 November 2012   #24
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