An after-school class at Worthington Hills Elementary School is teaching students how to bring life to their iPads.
Seventeen children in grades 3-6 are part of the animation classes being taught by Tom Richner, an associate professor of animation at the Columbus College of Art and Design and a former animator for The Simpsons.
The students learn the basics of animation using the iPad 2 or iPad 3 and other tablets. They are taught storyboarding, character design, stop motion and graphic motion via new technology and applications.
The idea is to help students with an interest in animation find an outlet for their imaginations and possibly build the foundation for a career in animation or film production.
The class, which began last month, was started by a group of fathers who realized that their children had no place to develop their burgeoning interest in animation. They thought it was important that the creative side of children be allowed to develop early, much as sports programs build the foundation of involvement in athletics.
Today's youth have grown up with animation, and it is only natural that many of them want to learn more about how it works, including sound and editing, film and movie production, said Dave Gilley, one of the fathers who helped develop the class.
"There is a real niche for this," Gilley said.
Many of the students are so interested that they continue to work on their animation projects every day, electronically sharing creations and ideas among themselves.
Word of the popular class is beginning to spread. Upper Arlington and other school districts have inquired about starting their own animation classes, Gilley said.
The Worthington class costs $80 for eight sessions, and each student must supply his or her own tablet.
Jerome Scott, one of the parents who started the program, said his own kids and their friends have really enjoyed the class.
"The most important thing is that kids are having fun," he said. "They don't even know they're learning something."