By Morgan Taylor, Reporter
SALEM, Oklahoma – In the last year, Ryal Public School has introduced a new media program and started the Ryal Animation Club.
According to Director of Programs at RPS, Lucky Burney this program uses Wonder Media software that was developed by Terry Thoren called Wonder Media Story Maker.
Thoren was once the CEO of the company that produced Rugrats and Wild Thornberry’s.
“It teaches kids to write and think because basically every kid has have a story and this program will help them tell their stories,” Burney said.
Wonder Media Story Maker software teaches students to create cartoons and program the cartoon to do what they want it to do. According to www.wondermedia.com this teaches children skills through storytelling, writing, communication, teamwork, problem-solving and technical skills.
“Sometimes when kids are videoing or doing recordings they don’t want to be on camera,” Burney said. “We found that when kids use a cartoon character and not themselves, they feel like its okay to make mistakes and its okay to have.”
According to Burney, students start this program as early as kindergarten at
Burney believes this program helps bat the generational trauma that Native American children face when it comes to building communication skills.
“Some of our kids live in traditional homes and with grandparents who suffered during their times,” Burney said. “Learning these skills and being able to use a cartoon as themselves helps them break out of that shell and open up behind that animation.”
The students also use a studio of equipment including, lights, green-screens, and cameras.
“So right now the kids are making commercials,” Burney said. “I just had a girl who made a commercial for her family’s farm.”
Burney says these commercial projects teach students how to record and edit video and audio, produce video, animation, “Everything you can think of when it comes to media.”
In the year that the program has been at the school, students have done news broadcasts, self-introduction videos, and commercials for family businesses.
“Its different things for different kids,” Burney explains. “Some just like to do recordings and voices, some just like animations, then there are those leaders I guess you could say who like to be directors.”
“I try to make them do everything but by this time of the year they have figured out what they like to do.”
Burney said and important lesson is “They all learn to work together, ultimately.”
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has brought challenges to the program, as they would typically enter film competitions through out the year.
“It has been a struggle because half of our students are still doing virtual, not only that but I have to limit the amount of students in the studio at one time,” Burney said.
As the program progresses at Ryal, Burney hopes to take his future Animation Club students to competitions.
Students mentioned that this program has opened them up to considering media production or similar work for the future.
The Ryal Animation Club has a Facebook page that showcases the kid’s work that can be followed for those who are interested.