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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Animoto in Education: Wiki page with a brief explanation of how to make a video and an example educational video.
- Use a Video Slideshow For Your School Presentation to get an A+! : Animoto blog post with step by step instructions to making a video for a student project.
- Animoto’s Youtube Page: The Animoto YouTube page, which includes videos created by Animoto to help people new to the program and videos submitted by users that demonstrate what type of Animoto videos can be made.
- #TechToolTuesday: Animoto: Blog post from Fractured Atlas Blog that discuss the features of Animoto, prices, and a sample video.
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!