Tech She Can
What is the Cloud – Katie and Tex
In the latest in our series of animations which explore different aspects of STEM to inspire primary school-aged children to think and talk about technology like drones, robotics and AI and the role it plays in their lives, we meet a new character. Ava.
Ava’s animated character was created by our Animation and Post-Production Producer Hannah Collins.
Ava, who has cerebral palsy, is based on real life Ten-year-old Salford schoolgirl Ava Roberts.
We worked very closely with Ava and her mum to create a character that represents Ava as accurately as possible – physically, her mannerisms and how she moves and speaks. We were given some video footage and photos of Ava in her wheelchair and we asked questions about how she wanted to be shown. For example, Ava has a tube coming from her nose so we wanted to ensure Ava would be happy for us to feature this. It was very important for us to make sure she was comfortable with how she was portrayed.
When we wrote the script, we gave Ava plenty of dialogue as a Lab Assistant to series regulars Katie and Tex, the dog. This is the first time a character with cerebral palsy has been featured.
For the voice over, Ava’s SENCO at school, Sarah Manson, asked the University of Salford in Manchester if they had an available recording studio. When the University learnt about the project and Ava’s involvement, they offered the facility free of charge.
Ava says it was fun to take part in the animation.
“I loved it! It was a new experience for me. I like that she looks like me and I liked that I could choose her name and give her my name. I helped choose Ava’s outfit and got to pick my favourite one the animators sent over. We had a showing in my class with popcorn and drinks! I loved it!”
When she leaves school Ava says she wants to be a teacher and “use tech to support pupils like me.”
Our animations are designed to encourage young children to be inquisitive about the technology they encounter – giving them a simplified understanding of how it works. We want children from as young as five to understand that people design and create the technology they use on a daily basis.
Each animation is brand sponsored and focuses on a different area of technology. The Cloud animation, featuring Ava, was sponsored by Computeam, and also includes a role model from their organisation. The animations are accompanied by supporting information to help teachers and parents explain the technology featured in more detail to children and there’s also an optional challenge for children to complete at home or in school.
This animated series is an open resource for anyone to use and has a huge reach among young children. We all want this series to be as inclusive as possible by creating characters from different cultures and with different abilities.
It’s really important for children to see someone they can connect with and feel represented by.
The series of Tech We Can animations is designed to encourage more girls to consider a career in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) and has already been viewed by thousands of primary school children across the UK and beyond.