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September 2019: Viral videos and education

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Last month, along with countless others, we were captivated by a video of salmon being sent upstream in a plastic tube and the deep fakery of comedian Bill Hader morphing into Tom Cruise. Each of these viral videos enjoyed a brief but intense moment of YouTube viewer attention before being replaced by the next big thing. However, what was different about each of these videos was that each was, in its own particular way, educational… The salmon video wasn’t even new (it had originally been posted in 2014) but in 2019 its positive message resonated – it is possible for humans to work with nature for better outcomes. It captured the collective imagination and generated some fascinating online responses. In turn, the Bill Hader video provided a simultaneously entertaining and sinister insight into a high stakes issue that is not going away.

The world of online videos is a notoriously difficult one for educators to navigate but there are plenty of highminded suggestions for legitimate classroom use. But what about outside the classroom? The panic around Momo earlier this year highlights the fear with which adults view the impact of young people’s online engagement, so maybe it’s time to do a bit of discreet research on what’s currently capturing your students’ attention. The word is that Tik Tok is the site du jour for pre-teens, while many of the young adults in your classrooms are wanting to connect with outsider voices such as Billie Eilish. Eilish’s most recent video clocked up nearly 40 million views in a few days, and is a powerful plea for climate action.

If all this global shareability is taking its toll, you’ll find the perfect antidote in the very quiet online world of Cat Man.

Perspectives rundown: August, 2019

In August we asked teachers about their thoughts on the photo-realism of the new The Lion King.

80% said they preferred the original to the 2019 remake, but there was definitely an appreciation shown for the leaps forward this latest version took in terms of animation technology.

When asked about your favourite styles of animation there was a lot of love for hand-drawn animation and claymation, although 3D animation and cel-animation were also mentioned as some teacher's favourites.

We were interested to hear about how you were using animation in the classroom with a number of teachers citing stop-motion animation (particularly claymation) as a great way introducing animation to both Primary and Secondary students. 

We also heard how you are using animated films in the classroom. We loved learning about one teacher's use of Shaun the Sheep for a foley activity. Thank you too to this teacher for introducing us to a wonderful resource from the UK in Into Film. Studio Ghibli films and Australia's very own Mary and Max were also mentioned as great animations for use in the classroom.