Head Down the Road to Knowledge – MakoEducation’s Driving!

Ian Pye and Sean O’Hare know how important technology is in a student’s life. They founded MakoEducation, located in the North West of England, in the hopes of engaging youth by delivering innovative lessons and workshops in the modern age of media. They quickly achieved their goal and have since grown to deliver workshops to teachers, youth workers and trainers as well so they can gain a better understanding of the changing world of digital media.

One of the workshops they offer is a course on iStopMotion. It has been a huge hit with the students and teachers alike. “iStopMotion does a fantastic job of illustrating just how simple the process of animation can be,” Ian says. “The concept of snap, move, snap, move is so obvious, and after just 30 seconds of using the app you can practically hear the cogs turning in the students’ minds as they frantically think, ‘Okay, I can use this to create this.’"

He personally thinks the onion-skinning feature of iStopMotion is a fantastic tool not just for practicality, but also as a learning tool to help explain what animation is. They appreciate simplicity, and it is the key to their approach to teaching stop motion animation.

A a whip-fast tour of the animation fundamentals combined with, what Ian calls, “the very intuitive iStopMotion app” is a surefire way to get MakoEducation participants up and animating in no time. Ian continues, “We find that this way, the animators spend less time watching us and more time doing what they really want to do – create. Obviously, we’re always on hand to provide creative suggestions and technical support, but we think that learning via your own mistakes and having the ability to visualize your imagination are the best ways to learn and create.”

MakoEducation certainly has great ideas for learning. Ian and Sean recently worked with primary school students to help them create animations on the topic of road safety. Each team took a rule or safety procedure and made a short advert to help promote road safety throughout the school and beyond. They also regularly help children between the ages of 10 and 16 to create animations of their choice; they’re only limited by their imaginations. Ian says these types of sessions are great because it allows the students to flex their creativity; they come up with some truly fantastic ideas!

Another new idea MakoEducation recently put into action is their film club. Students between the ages of 10 and 19 are invited to join in the fun, where they learn processes like video production, animation, music recording and you guessed it … stop motion!

We decided to include a small taster of stop motion animation in this series of workshops, as animation plays such a massive role in modern movie making,” says Ian. “It was this inclusion that gave us the indication that participants would love to focus purely on animation, hence our most recent Animation Creation workshop series.

During the film club, the team utilizes technology like iPads, video cameras, audio recorders and lots of other media devices. Ian notes that using technology lessens the gap between teaching and actually doing.

We always say the time in our workshops can be divided into 10% teaching and 90% doing,” he says. “Technology like the iPad and iStopMotion is so intuitive to young people, meaning that instead of us spending most of the lesson time saying, ‘Now if you can just press this button … okay, now go over to this screen … now look for this section…’ we can just say, ‘That's how it works. Now, what do you want to create?’

Ian says that because the students don’t have to spend time learning the given technology, they can learn the subject matter instead. He appreciates how technology lets MakoEducation and their students use animation as a learning device across the entire curriculum. He knows that because of this learning, MakoEducation will be able to fulfill their goals of expanding knowledge for a long, long time.

For more information on how MakoEducation is taking a modern approach to learning, check out their website. Be sure to take a look at their iStopMotion workshops, too! Visit the MakoEducation YouTube Channel.