Animation helps SA educators fill Covid-19 learning gaps
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By the end of 2020, it was estimated that despite efforts made in both the private and public schools, “children lost a full six months of learning and even now they’ve gone back, it’s patchy because they can only go one or two days a week,” a statement made by education expert, Professor Nicky Roberts.
Furthermore, South Africa is not unique. According to the Unesco Monitoring Report, 192 countries had implemented nationwide closures, affecting more than 99% of the world’s student population, and a total of 1.75 billion learners.
Simultaneously, the pandemic forced disruption in ways of learning. Innovators accelerated blended learning, distance learning and open educational applications to reduce disruption to education, following a suggestion by Unesco, and in so doing, propelled e-learning by three to five years.
With the third wave of Covid-19 currently hitting Europe, open schools may once again be under threat with online education as the only real alternative. The challenge for parents and educators is sifting through the mountain of new digital education programmes on offer – from maths and science to coding and drone technology.
How does a parent or school discern the quality, credibility and differentiators of each education platform? It’s not easy. Meanwhile, education companies need to work harder to stand out in the tsunami of content in this evolving industry.
Steve McDonald, the co-founder at animation and video studio, 3rd floor, explains: “The industry is in total flux. Online education platforms are desperate to stand out. They want to catch the attention of learners and educators and hold it. Their websites and social media are their shop window, so that initial impression really matters. Google Analytics shows that the bounce rate – the percentage of people who land on your website and then leave without visiting another page – is almost 57%. In other words, you have to make it count.”
Animated videos help businesses and organisations simplify their message and show their target audience who they really are. A good video will draw on a number of tools from the animation toolbox – animated infographics, custom character design and a style that is made to catch the attention of the viewer you are speaking to.
3rdfloor is currently creating a series of animated videos for MySociaLife, the South African digital life skills programme which teaches online safety, media literacy and social media awareness in schools.
MySociaLife founder Dean McCoubrey says: “We educate students and parents, teachers and psychologists, and we teach eight different modules about the complexity of life online. It's a lot to explain: we didn’t believe that our story could be told in 90 seconds. The animated explainer encapsulates it all so concisely, and the animated characters make the program memorable. The feedback has been phenomenal.”
He also proposes some considerations for educators looking to produce animated videos:
- Focus on the story:
- Keep it short:
- Be brave. Be bold:
- You get what you pay for:
To stand out in the digital noise that is the media environment of today, you really have to be able to tell a story on multiple levels. It’s visual, informative and emotional, and if you can strike the right balance, your video will connect with people and be remembered.
- Dean McCoubrey is the founder of MySociaLife, a leading Digital Life Skills Programme in the country.