Presenting research findings at SIGGRAPH 2006 is Dr. Sharon Tettegah, a professor of curriculum and instruction (isn’t that the job of all professors?) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is for sure the most highly decorated cartoon specialist we have ever seen. Nonetheless, her research is about the value of Clover, a software that “…gives children, as well as adults, a tool for making and sharing their own vignettes about their personal and sometimes painful stories.”
University of Illinois reports:
Animation is a proven vehicle for biting comedy, a la “The Simpsons” and “South Park.”
But some of the same qualities that make it work for comedy make it valuable, too, as an outlet for victimized children and for a new research method that tests the empathy of teachers who may deal with them, says Sharon Tettegah…
According to Tettegah, the program is the only one she is aware of that allows the user to write the narrative, script the dialogue, storyboard the graphics and add voice and animation, all within one application. Those four major aspects of producing a vignette gave rise to the name “Clover,” the plant considered to bring good luck in its four-leaf form.
A paper about Clover, written by Bailey, Tettegah and graduate student Terry Bradley, has been published in the July issue of the journal Interacting With Computers.
In other research, Tettegah has used animations as a tool for gauging the empathy of teachers and others who might deal with children and their stories of victimization. One study with college education majors, or teachers-in-training, showed only one in 10 expressing a high degree of empathy for the victim, she said…
In her empathy studies, Tettegah has found that most of the subjects tend to focus on the perpetrator or other issues, rather than showing concern for the victim.
This is a concern, she said, because a child being bullied or called names wants the teacher’s support. Yet the results also fit with research by others showing that teachers often don’t deal with the problem when these incidents occur, the assumption having been that they don’t know how, she said.