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sigKIDS SIGGRAPH 2000
   
La Fresque Inachevée
An Ongoing Fresco

Huguette Chesnais
Saint Malo, France


Under the auspices of the newly created ACM/SIGGRAPH Saint Malo, soon to be chartered as a professional chapter, some students from the elementary schools in the area have been invited to participate in CG workshops on the occasion of two major events per year:

- " Quai des Bulles ": comicstrip festival
- " Les Cybermalouines " celebration of the Internet

Computers are only now appearing in the elementary classroom, teachers have yet to integrate them within the general curriculum. About half the students have access to a computer at home.
Our purpose is to identify an ongoing class project, to show teachers and students how the materials already gathered can take on a new form of creative expression.

We see some classes 2 or 3 times over 2 years, we are amazed to see the new skills adopted by students and teachers on their own, to find them ready with new ideas, however challenging these might be for us. Friends join us from Paris, or whever, if they have moved, provide a continuity in the endeavour.
Some projects have a lifetime of 2 years, with short modules (3weeks to a month) where the individual schools are concerned. Even when we tackle a new crop of kids, the experience of others seem to have permeated the school. Obviously the educators are more familiar with our modus operandi. They seem to adapt suggestions to fit their own wishes and needs.

We are fortunate to be able to enlist the help of volunteer sutdents from a local technical college (Institut Universitaire de Technologie), as well as of professionals in the field (Centre Allende, Mediacap, France Telecom...) here and elsewhere.

Our present endeavour separates the kids in 3 simultaneous 2-hour workshops, each catering to 8 students.
We meet in the classroom once or twice for an hour, preceding the event. We first explain the format of the workshops, using a theme of our choice to illustrate our purpose :

- one group will experiment with clay animation: they create their own characters, then shoot these frame by frame using a blue background. They understand that this will make it possible to use the same animated sequence over a variety of back grounds, that the animations will be posted on the net, that they are only producing a small part of a much greater project.

- another group will experiment with a paint software. Availability in the classroom (generally freeware) guides the choice. We consider more important to make creative use of limited means than to expose the kids to sophisticated software in a very limited time. We like to challenge their imagination. These kids will create still images which can be used as backgrounds by the first group. They will also create a series of images which could create a fresco at infinitum if we slide them from right to left in an endless slide show on the net. They can also thus create the keyframes of a storyboard (if the elements have been devised beforehand). A future project would see this storyboard on the Web, an invitation to a collaborative chained animation.

- the third group will create Web pages on line, using a model preset by a provider. they will then graduate to setting up more ambitious pages to show the works of other members of the group. They will scan images, and learn a minimum about formats (this is show and tell, as needed).

Usually the teacher decides to adapt our format to serve a preconceived purpose, sets up the tasks, conducts the documentary research. The students come to the workshops with texts pretyped, images drawn on paper, photographs or illustrations as needed. Our team only meets at the same time as we are welcoming the kids. Responsabilities, adjusted to knowhow and personal preferences, are preset through intensive e-mail exchanges and sharing of software sources and examples.

We propose to illustrate such workshops at S2000 with a legend as a theme, celebrating the creation of the world.

 

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