Animated Learning
Art And Culture

Animated Learning

Education through any medium is challenging enough, requiring the right tools and modules to facilitate learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.
Among the various teaching mediums, other than the traditional text books, songs, music, paintings and handiworks, today animation has come to play an important role to help retain in the mind what is learnt, and eventually store it in the deeper layers of the memory.
Efforts are now being made to introduce cartoons as a method to convey important messages and educational content. Cartoonists may face cultural challenges, but for the purpose of teaching, Iranian cartoonists have made efforts to make a foray in the field of systematic learning.
The animation series ‘Dirin Dirin’ is a good example in this regard. The 70-second episodes shown on a daily basis on Pouya channel, a special channel for children on state-owned TV, has several primitive cartoon characters, who encounter simple issues in an ironically modern setting.
A production of Nas Animation studio, the Dirin Dirin animation is directed by skilled caricaturist Ali Derakhshi and dubbed by veteran dubber, vocalist and actor, Mohammadreza Alimardani.
The title literally means ‘old times’ and is a metaphorical reference to the era to which the characters belong, that is, olden times. It is compatible with the funny and distorted Persian archaic language used in the dialogues.
As an example, one of the episodes starts in a fast food store, where a customer enters and asks about the types of fast food and the prices. It is interesting to note that the prices are not presented in the unit of currency, but in terms of diseases. For example, the cost of a hamburger is equivalent to suffering from cancer, implying that excessive intake of fast foods endangers health. The customers sit in readymade graves awaiting their order, and after partaking, fall plonk into the grave.
This episode is titled ‘Fast Fowt’ instead of fast food. ‘Fowt’ is an Arabic origin word, meaning death.

 Important Messages
Healthy diets, protection of the environment, including rivers and water bodies, are among the topics the animation seeks to focus on.
“Starting from social networks and cyberspace, the animation continues to extend through the state broadcasting network and the Tehran subway, attracting people of all age groups,” Derakhshi told the Financial Tribune.
“Dirin Dirin puts focus on social, cultural, ethical, and behavioral norms and sends critical messages with a touch of humor so that people can help to at least partially change their unhealthy lifestyles. In addition, the animation series are not specified to any special age group but focuses on different age groups.”
The effects of cartoons on people have been long supported by empirical and scientific research. Research findings present evidence of the powerful hands of the ‘moving pictures’ in provoking specific, or in some cases, predetermined behavioral response.

Obviously, cartoons are the most popular channel of entertainment and the main pastime for children. Children start watching cartoons on television in infancy at six months, and by the age of two or three, they become enthusiastic viewers.
Considering children’s higher levels of absorption of cartoons (or for that matter any other attractive show) and learning speed compared to adults, the odds are high that they will be the most influenced and impacted.
The best learning years are in childhood, when a child’s personality and behavior also develops and takes shape. Children’s sensitivity to mediums like cartoons could be promising and put to good test by devising important educational modules through the medium with added comic to cultivate their social behavior and culture in  a positive manner. This could come in good stead particularly in the vulnerable adolescence years.


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