Manchester University CS department is running a schools animation competition. Despite the wording in the rules, it is open to home educated children in the UK. I've been taking a look at the acceptable animation tools before trying them out on DS #1.
|Alice||Alice is available as a free download from www.alice.org||Designed to be a tool for students to be introduced to Object Oriented computer programming.|
|Scratch||Scratch is available as a free download from scratch.mit.edu||Intended to teach basic computer programming concepts.|
|Adobe Flash||Flash is available for download as a free 1 month trial from Adobe||Everyone knows what flash is.|
|Serif||http://www.serif.com||Serif DrawPlus is a drawing and animation program from Serif Ltd.|
|Greenfoot||Greenfoot is available as a free download from www.greenfoot.org||Greenfoot is Java-based programming environment for novice programmers|
I looked at Scratch on the grounds that nobody got dumber by picking MIT. Before I could get any examples working I had to get the Java plugin installed for Chrome. That was a big download, so I moved on to Alice.
Alice looks really promising. In particular it has a version just for younger children called Story Telling Alice. I downloaded, unzipped and ran the tutorials. In a few minutes I was merrily scaring the pants off a small boy with a field full of spiders. What looks really interesting about Alice is that while the interface uses a lot of text, you can click and drag the words, hence no typos.
I'm going to stick with Alice for a while and see how far I can get.