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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources

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Curriculum Details for
SAM Animation

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Resource Description
Staff, Planning,
and Costs
Standards, Research, and Evaluation

SAM Animation

SAM Animation software enables young people to easily create stop-action movies that express their ideas and understanding of the world around them. Designed at Tufts University, SAM Animation is freeware that's both PC and Mac (with Windows XP or OSX) compatible. The technology is accessible and engaging, and has multiple applications for both in school and afterschool. The developers offer support in the form of podcast tutorials on key features of the software. They also share tips, tricks, and activities in the Community section of the Web site. Users need only register with SAM Animation to download the software; plus, they will need a webcam to begin their work.

Content Focus:
Multimedia/Digital Literacy

Linkages to:
Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Grades/Ages: Grades K–12

Costs: Free
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.

Publication Date: 2006

Developer Contact Information
Center for Engineering Educational Outreach at Tufts University
474 Boston Ave. Tufts University Curtis Hall – Basement
Medford, MA 02155

Design Overview

The developers at the Center for Engineering Education Outreach (CEEO) at Tufts University intended to create an environment that would provide a new and alternative way to demonstrate learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The process of creating stop-animation is hands-on, and promotes problem-solving and a high level of creativity across multiple content areas and learning styles. For example, a young person might want to document how a seed becomes a tree by capturing the changes over time in a stop-action movie. Using SAM Animation, they can manipulate props—such as construction paper cut-outs, LEGO bricks, or figures—in front of the web cam, or use white boards with markers. The software enables users to capture images and animate physical material via stop-motion photography, accomplished through simple clicks of a mouse. Changes can be made immediately by deleting frames and allowing the user to rework a sequence. Young people can add audio and even blue-screen scenes using SAM Animation.
  • Activity Types: Media arts production, hands-on learning, exhibition
  • Materials/technology required: Computer, an external USB webcam, software
  • Program Length/Duration: Variable from one session to multiple sessions over several weeks depending on the length of project

Instructional Approach

The process and the environment created through using the software teach about change over time, causality, and a number of other academic concepts. The emphasis is on the process rather than the final product and on discovery through experimentation. For users who would like to see examples of stop-action movies created with SAM, or if they'd like to post their own works, the Web site hosts a gallery.

Consideration of Special Student Populations

This software was specifically designed to appeal to different learning styles, and to provide learners with alternative ways of expressing their understanding of academic concepts.

Online Training for Afterschool Staff
The Afterschool Training Toolkit is available online free of charge.

The following resources can be used with the online Afterschool Training Toolkit to give you the resources you need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching afterschool activities.