I give credit to the district in supplying us with high end programs to create our animations, and some of my students have taken on the self-directed approach to learning how to use these. We were also supported with a dozen Wacom tablets. The learning curve is steep, but students are sticking with it and getting results.
I also like to offer students a way to continue doing animation at home, without having to purchase expensive programs. My recommendations? Microsoft PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker. Yes, these old standbys work wonders! I have to say that Movie Maker 12 is better than the newest version for Windows 10, as it reads the MP4 files that PowerPoint creates, which the newest version does not. You may need to convert them if you don't have a compatible match.
I have ten assignments I give the students, and the majority of class time is spent working on their projects. Starting with a logo, intro and outro sets the stage for how animation works. I have selected a set of fifteen one minute videos created by animation students at the National Film Board (NFB), called Hot House which has eight seasons.
I was fortunate to have a teacher in my high school days (in the 1970s) who introducted me to Norman McLaren and the National Film Board. Mr. Sparks brought in the films on reels, and it took weeks for them to arrive. Luckily we can now show these directly at the NFB website or on YouTube. Did you know that Norman McLaren won an Oscar for "Neighbours" in 1953, a stop animation classic?
On a more modern angle, I bring recognition to animation that we see everyday, without even thinking about it - on TV commercials, at Tim Hortons (or other fast food outlets) on their moving menu boards, on facebook, etc. Animation is everywhere, and students could be doing it as a job! One of my former students now does the animation on the Global BC morning news in Vancouver. I know he does a great job as I watch the news each morning before I head to school. I hope more of my students carry on their animation ambitions.
I have created a YouTube channel to share the efforts of my students publicly, with permission, of course. Please have a look and leave my students some encourging words.