Animoto Video Creation

Getting students excited about a homework assignment can be difficult. A great way to inspire kids is to use a fun and interactive program where they can create their own video creation. Animoto is exactly what is needed! Animoto is a program that allows users to combine pictures, video, music, and text and bring topic to life. Animoto is easy to use, and while the full version costs money, there is a free version that has fewer options but it still very useful. Students can use this program to create fun and interesting projects that demonstrate their knowledge of a certain topic, and teachers can use it to present new material to students.

Animoto has published multiple blog posts on their  website by outside contributors. Barbara DeSantis, a technology integration educator for grades K-12 in New Jersey, was asked to do a guest post about making a fun educational project in Animoto. Her post, A Twist on the School Book Report, covers the simple steps that students and teachers should both take to create an Animoto book report. DeSantis discusses a multi-step process which includes presenting students with  a pre made book report, having students find good pictures and texts to match, and finally putting the presentation together.

Create Page

Create Page

Creating an Animoto presentation is super easy! It is required that you make a login, but it is still free. You will be presented with the option “Get Started” on the homepage. Once clicked, it will take you to the Create page, where you select your style of Animoto, which comes with a song, you would like to use. From there, it will lead you to a page where you add photos, videos, and text, as well as change the style/song if you don’t like the one you originally picked.  While the free version only allows for 30 second video, paying for an upgrade gives you access to longer videos and more layout options.

Check out this YouTube video for a brief tutorial on how to make an Animoto video!

Categories in Animoto Photo Library

Categories in Animoto Photo Library

Animoto allows for you to use your own material or things you have found on the web, which is great because it really reflects what you want in the video. They also have their own library of generic videos and pictures that can spruce up a video! Students and teachers can browse the library by category. You can use only pictures you find, only pictures provided by Animoto, or a combination of the two.

Animoto allows previewing the video at any point in the creation process, allowing the creators to make changes or additions as needed. When the student or teacher is happy with what they have created, select preview video, and it then gives you the chance to give your video a title, and then click “produce” to finish and publish the video. Animoto will then email you with a link to your completed project.

Drop Down Account Menu

Drop Down Account Menu

To view all created videos, you can highlight your name you used when you logged in, which is in the upper right hand corner, and that will have a drop down menu where you can select to view your videos. You can view completed projects or choose to continue editing unfinished projects. The free version has a cap on how many projects you can make before the free trial is finished, but with a paying account you have more videos you can make.

Animoto does a lot of the work for the creator, making animations including the pictures, videos, and texts selected. This is a positive thing, because it allows students who are presenting a book report or another project to focus more on content, not worrying about format, because the program does it for them. However, this could be a drawback if students or teachers wanted more control over how the presentation is made. Different styles have different animations, so there is still choice involved, but not direct control.

Unfortunately, a tool as great and useful as Animoto is not free! While there is a free mini version with more limited capabilities, having a personal “Plus” account costs $30 dollars a year, and the “Pro” version with more extensive features, longer videos, and HD quality videos, cost $249 a year. All pricing information can be found on the Personal Pricing Plans page. There are also Animoto apps for both the iOS and Android market. Information about the Apple version can be found in their online app store, and while the app itself is free and certain features come with it, you pay for a subscription by month or year. The Android version is similar and there is more information about it at the Google Play app store.

Animoto Free for Educators

Animoto Educators Page

Luckily for us, Animoto has a page on their website where teachers can apply for access to a free Animoto Plus account! The page includes information about Animoto for educators, the link to the application, and sample Animoto presentations sent in by educators using the free access. This is an awesome tool that can get a little pricy, and it is so great that there is a free option that makes it more accessible to teachers!

Many other blog posts have been published by Animoto, promoting their own program by suggestion potential educational projects it can be used for. 6 Videos to Use in Your Classroom, an Animoto blog post, gives multiple ideas for projects to make with Animoto, as well as many example videos to give inspiration. One idea is to create a video to start a unit, giving tidbits of fun information to get students excited about the new material. Another is a video scavenger hunt, where vocabulary words or facts are given, and students must identify and relate them to other things in the unit.

For more Animoto example videos and information about it, check out these blog posts and websites:

So what are your thoughts? Does Animoto seem like a useful tool for classrooms? Would you rather use it yourself, or have students create their own projects? Be sure to leave a comment below!

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About Laura H.

Keepin it real since 1994
This entry was posted in Cool tool, Creating. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Animoto Video Creation

  1. Kelly F. says:

    Hey Laura, This tool seems like a really easy thing to use. Especially if there’s a 1:1 iPad program at the school I could see even younger elementary school kids using this to learn something in their class. However, I also think that there are similar and less expensive tools that can be used on computers to achieve the same end goal. So depending on the device I can see this either being a super simple tool, or an expensive buy.

  2. Angie E. says:

    Nice work Laura! I I like the idea of using this tool to assess student learning. Though the videos on the free version are only 30 seconds, it looks like there are more options on the Animoto for educators account. I like that DeSantis used Animoto to create book reports in her classroom, and gave us and her students step-by-step instructions to make sure they could focus on the content of their report, not spend too much time on the layout. Kelly brings up a good point about the expense of Animoto and comparable options like iMovie that are free.

    • B. Taylor says:

      Good observations Kelly and Angie. Big difference is that Animoto and similar Web 2.0 tools are online as opposed to programs on the computer. Remember even though many of you have Macs (with iMovie), many schools have Windows computers instead, and tools like Animoto work on any platform anywhere. (If you used Photostory 3 in Windows, keep in mind it does not work with Windows 8 and so soon will not be an option.) When you consider the lower learning curve (compared to iMovie) and speed with which one can create a video in Animoto, it’s worth giving it a try, and for some things, 30 seconds is sufficient and maybe even better than longer because it forces creator to think about what’s really important!

  3. Mary F. says:

    Great post Laura! This seems like a really cool tool that could offer a lot to making presentations and work more interesting for students. I like the point you made about how because this tool does a lot of the formatting for you, allowing students to focus more on the content. I know that sometimes I get so into how something looks, that I spent way too much time on that and not enough time on the content or information going into the project. Thanks for the information on this new cool tool!

  4. B. Taylor says:

    Important to note: The free version is not a trial – doesn’t run out, so you can use the free version as long as you like to make 30-second videos. You can also quickly and easily share videos through all the usual channels – FB, Twitter, embed code, YouTube, etc. right from the Animoto screen for a video you created.

  5. Sara R. says:

    Hey Laura, thanks for telling us about this tool! I really like the sound of it, as I believe it is a free and easy way to connect to students who are both auditory and visual learners! Instead of just handing your students a worksheet and expecting them to understand the instructions, with little-to-no explanation most of the time, a video that the students can view on their own time, at their own speed will provide an in-depth information for them!

  6. Katie H. says:

    Great post Laura! I think this is a really cool tool that most students would love to use! I agree with Kelly that this would be beneficial if the school had a 1:1 iPad program so all of the students were able to create their own videos. I never created videos for any assignment when I was in school because it was too difficult, but this makes it so much easier for students to create another form of presentations. I will definitely use this tool in my future classroom. Thanks for sharing!

    • Chelsea S. says:

      I definitely agree with videos being too difficult to make. Learning about animoto doesn’t seem difficult to understand once you get used to it and there are plenty of options, like doing book reports, that we can use to challenge and assess our students. Great post!

  7. Steph G. says:

    Laura, this was an awesome post! Animoto looks so cool, this would help students so much! I feel like students often want to make videos for a different way to approach a project, but it is sometimes too difficult. I also agree that it would be made even easier if the school could somehow help the students out with equipment. This post was very informative and I loved it! Great work!

  8. Maria H. says:

    This is great, Laura! I really like how the free trial lasts you forever, if only for 30 second videos. I also think it’s cool how you can embed it into so many different social media sites. Students could definitely use this cool tool for all different subjects in class!

  9. Winna P. says:

    I agree with Maria, the 30 second free videos is great. As a teacher because of the time limit on the video I can stress to my students that their videos need to be informative, but also brief! I can’t wait to use this with my own students in the future. Thanks, Laura!

  10. Alexia M. says:

    Great post, Laura! I had never heard of animoto before. I can see the 30 second time limit as a benefit and a disadvantage in different situations. Since I want to work with younger students, 30 seconds is probably all they will need in some cases since that may seem like a long time to them. In other cases though, using something like powerpoint or movie maker would probably be more beneficial. Thanks for sharing about this awesome tool!

  11. Victoria B. says:

    Thanks for sharing, Laura! I have used Animoto before and I really liked using it. It is a simple program so it will be easy for younger students to use. The fact that it is free to create 30 second videos is also enticing so I just might use it in my future classroom.

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