Computer Animation contest to inspire young animators

Computer scientists from The University of Manchester have launched an animation competition to inspire the next generation of technological experts.

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Staff at the School of Computer Science came up with the idea for the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition in 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the world’s first stored program computer, designed and built in Manchester in 1948.

Now in 2011 the competition – Animation11 – enters its fourth year, with its goal to encourage a greater interest in computing amongst young people.

Youngsters aged between seven and 19 are being challenged to create an animated film, of one minute or less, using any of the Alice, Scratch, Adobe Flash, or Serif software packages.

Over 800 schools across the country registered to take part in last year’s competition, with 1,300 entries submitted, and even bigger numbers are expected this year.

Competition winners stand to scoop prizes including laptops, digital cameras and MP3 players – and will have their films showcased at a high-profile animation festival in July 2011 at The Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

Organisers hope that that the competition will give young people a chance to explore computer animation for the first time, and to find out how exciting working with computers can be.

Dr Toby Howard from the School of Computer Science said: "The animations might tell a story, or explain or demonstrate a topic or idea. The only limits are students’ imaginations.

"Since the invention of the world’s first stored program computer at The University of Manchester over 60 years ago, computing has progressed at an incredible speed.

“We could not live the way we do today without computers.

"We need to encourage the brightest and the best of the next generation to engage in the challenges facing computing – not just to use computers, but to invent the next generation of hardware and software.

"And we hope this competition will help raise the profile of computer science amongst children in a fun and exciting way."

Entries, which must be received by Friday 1 April 2011, can be submitted by individuals or teams in four age categories: aged 7-11, 11-14, 14-16 and 16-19.

The winners will be announced in May 2011.

Animation11 is supported by Google, Electronic Arts, and the Granada Foundation, and is being run in association with BBC 21st Century Classroom and cs4fn.

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