Social and Technical Factors Contributing to Successful 3D Animation Authoring by Kids
Zagal, José Pablo
Piper, Anne Marie
Bruckman, Amy S.
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Creating 3D animations has traditionally been restricted to adult experts. With the advent of easy-to-use software packages like Alice, we can now imagine animations being created by end users with no formal training in this area. Does this work in practice? Supporting real people in the successful use of complex multimedia authoring environments requires not only quality software, but also a supportive social context. What might such a supportive social context look like? In this paper, we report on a workshop in which seventeen children ages 11-12, working in pairs, were asked to make their own animations using Alice. Students were part of a language arts class studying fables, and were asked to retell a fable of their choice in 3D animation. This assignment proved to be an appropriate size and scope for the time available, skills of the students, and affordances of the software. The students found the assignment motivating, and their teacher was pleased with learning outcomes. We discuss social and technical factors that helped students create successful animated fables.