MonkeyJamImage.JPGTime estimates for this page and this tool. Downloading, installing and getting the program up and running might take an hour and a half if you don't run into technical snags. Producing your first animation could take a further hour, as animation takes time. The division example give below took an hour to shoot. For constructive educational use, you might care to explore some of the resources I have placed on the digital story telling page, here

Introduction
Take a 15 euro webcam, take a box of Plasticine and you are Stephen Speilberg! Well maybe not. But here is an example of what you can do:
claymation animation example
Monkey jam is a free program for doing frame by frame animation, which can be a series of post it notes, a step by step guide to a calculation, or whatever. Its quite simple to use, and after about forty minutes with the program the group I was in had quite a respectable minute of animation in the can. Very silly movie about a cat. For the technically minded we were shooting at six frames per second which is about as slow as you can go, while keeping up the continuous motion illusion.
There is a reasonable video guide here: MonkeyJam Tutorial which will give you a feel for what is involved and there is also a pdf format guide to using the program here:
pdf Guide to using MonkeyJam
I have a video on how to download and install this program here:
Video showing how to download and instal Monkey Jam
Educational uses
This is good material for a class project or group work as it gives the students a great sense of achievement seeing the movie rolling. Its results can be imported into MovieMaker, if you want to combine them with live footage shot with a video camera.
I’ve used it to produce animations for use in class. A simple example for maths is here
Divide by a fraction example
This shows the kind of simple resource which can be built. I would use this in class by running and pausing it te explain each stage as we go along.

Teck stuff:
Monkey Jam relocated (2012) to a new web site:
http://monkeyjam.org/blog

Claire Wallace of the Cesi List has reported problems with this program, and has suggested I can Animate as an alternative This software costs about 35 euro a seat with an educational discount.

Monkey Jam Requirements (from the new web site)

  • Pentium III or higher
  • Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7
  • DirectX 8 or higher

MAC versions: Monkey jam can be run using virtual PC however the MonkeyJam author suggests Frame Thief, as an equivalent for stop-motion animation. I Can Animate, has also been suggested by Cormac Cahill for a Mac platform, its a little more expensive at £45. Site license and educational pricing is available. (It would of course be blasphemy to suggest that you run Windows 7 on your Mac hardware!)

Other alternatives are
http://www.ticklypictures.com Suggested by Joe Dale
Pencil
http://www.pencil-animation.org/
and synfig
http://www.synfig.org/cms/

However both of these seem to be more orientated towards drawing based animation.
There is a how to here: for doing stop motion using a digital camera, and imovie for a Mac.
http://content.photojojo.com/tutorials/stop-motion-digital-camera/

Trevor Boland, is interested in getting teachers involved in stop motion animation,
he is setting up a stop motion website, by the end of October 2012, that will support Teacher facilitate animation in schools.
http://comotionanimation.com/ To accompany the site there will be a facebook page to enable dialogue between teachers specifically about stop motion issues.
http://www.facebook.com/ComotionAnimation
Also he says he will launch an app that teachers can download from play.google.com that can be downloaded on android phones and tablets.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_MacFheorais.comotion&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImFwcGludmVudG9yLmFpX01hY0ZoZW9yYWlzLmNvbW90aW9uIl0.

The app is in its early stages but any feedback would be much appreciated.
These tools are all aimed at a hands on frame by frame approach to animation. There are other more automated alternatives, and a good starting point is this web site from Mark Brumley

http://www.markbrumley.com/7-web-2-0-animation-tools/

Finally, I'm doing some research on who you are and how you found this site. I would appreciate it if you could complete this 8 question survey.
User Survey

Any Questions? I have set up a discussion forum for this page here:
Eleven Tools Monkey Jam discussion Forum