The other night at Manhattanville College in New York, I pulled up to the security gate and informed the guard about my appointment to lecture. The guard must have been new. Previously I’ve been ushered through this checkpoint with a wave of a hand. Tonight was different. The guard first asked for my license. I turned it over. He then walked out of the booth and took a lap around my car. Wrote down my plate number. When he returned he asked about the class I was addressing. I told him I was to teach animation to art education students. Bill Gordh was the professor. I was invited. Honestly! He handed me some kind of form to fill out.
All this took about 15 minutes.
I bring this up by way of contrast. The time it took me to get through the gate, park my car, walk into the classroom and put my bag down was roughly equivalent to the time it took to create an animation from scratch. The one posted below.
We live in a world where animation can be produced by novices on a table top in a classroom with only scissors, paper, markers and tape. The riff on Humpty Dumpty below is clever and ingenious. 20 students produced all the props, characters, sound effects and music while I aided in the animation and editing.
One hour later, we have this. I trust these art education innovators will take this exercise with them into the classroom. I know some of them already have. To fully integrate this kind of education into a standard “literacy curriculum” for all will take going through many guarded entry booths much more invasive than the new guard at Manhattanville that night. But I have faith in these new educators. They’ve seen the light. This simple exercise opens the way for the youtube generation to have producing animation be a permanent part of a basic public education.
I’ve seen this process hundreds of times. Many with children under 10 years old. The trick is getting the educational gatekeepers to stop filling out forms in triplicate, stop taking down plate numbers, and start tripping eggs off walls. Once you’ve done it, you’ll never see new media education the same again.