Classroom Tech, Part III: Animoto

I am in the midst of a series of posts outlining how I plan on using technology during the coming school year. I’ll share some tools, resources, and ideas that I intend to use with students in the classroom, and hopefully you, the reader, will share some advice or thoughts of your own, either in the comments section, or on your own blog (just let me know if you do!).

Another tech tool I’m planning on integrating this year is Animoto, the free slide/movie site. I’ve previously discussed Animoto and some of the highlights here, but I’m finally starting to figure out how I can use it productively with students without maxing out our school’s bandwidth.

Without getting into too many details, Animoto is a way to convert slideshows (read: Powerpoints) into visually exciting movies. It allows users to upload and rearrange images, add text, and add stock or custom music. Once these are all set, it will process them into a short (or, if you prefer, long) video complete with well-timed and animated transitions between images and text. Here’s an example of Animoto at work:

As you can see, Animoto creates something that the average educator could never hope to duplicate. It gives us a product that can be used to better engage the visual learners in our classrooms. I’ve struggled to think of ways we could use Animoto in our school, particularly because a classroom full of students using Animoto would create a bit of an overload on our servers. In spite of this, I’ve found a couple of ways to use the tool that are worth sharing. As always, please feel free to share your own ideas with me and other visitors to this site.

  1. Book trailers are a great way to pique students’ interest before reading a book. If you’re reading a book as a class, you can create a short Animoto book trailer to advertise/preview the upcoming unit (like I tried to do above with Romeo & Juliet). If students are doing Reader’s Workshop or Literature Circles, they could do a group trailer after they’ve read the book and share this trailer with the class.
  2. If students are doing presentations, they could use an Animoto video in lieu of a Powerpoint as their visual aid. The omission of text encourages good “presentation zen” and makes them focus on how the visual enhances the aural.
  3. Animoto would be a great way to create a sort of visual dictionary for the class. As a homework assignment (so students aren’t tearing up the school’s bandwidth), students could create a short 15-second video on a particular vocabulary word. It would have the word, a definition, and several images that help visually convey what the word means. If these were each submitted to the teacher, they could then be shared on YouTube or some other video sharing site (Fliggo, perhaps?).

Obviously these are only a couple of ideas, so please feel free to share your own.

Stay tuned for the next post in this Classroom Tech series, which will be on Shelfari.

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7 responses to “Classroom Tech, Part III: Animoto

  • Chris

    This looks like a great tool to use in the classroom. I do not know what grade you teach, but you can also use this for current events. You could start off by having students look in the paper to find something that interests them and create a 15 second animoto of it to present the class, and than as you progress in the year you start assigning the articles that they need to do, so they become interested in current events. I do not know if this would work for you, just an idea.

  • E. Lukoff

    I loved this post about the technology, but what I thought was so interesting was Animoto used here for the introduction of Romeo and Juliet. Using this kind of technology would really inspire students to get into a book. Even the Delicious bookmarks idea sounds great. It’s a terrific way to keep the class cohesive.

  • Rick Caskey

    I am amazed by Animotos abilities. I was unaware that there was an online tool that was as capable as powerpoint and as creative as a Mac Program. I had heard a few rumors about it but now i would like to learn more. Thank you for sharing this with us online.

    • thehurt

      @Rick: I’ll tell you what – Animoto continues to amaze me even after using it a lot. And it’s not even the graphics or animations that do it for me – it’s remembering how long I used to spend on video editing and realizing that I now spend a fraction of that making a better quality product. Thanks for your comment.

  • Cortney

    This was great! I am always amazed at the “newest trends”. In all honesty, I get frieghtened when I see clips like that because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I would love to be able to implement such creative lessons such as this and hope that seeing ideas like the one shown will give me the motivation and strive to research how to do this more.

    • thehurt

      @Cortney: I’m really glad you appreciated it. I think you’ve hit on one of the things I love about modern technology trends – that it’s so easy to make things that look so complicated! I would definitely encourage you to try Animoto at some point – kids (especially younger ones) are generally very into it.

  • Classroom Tech, Part VII: “Everything’s Amazing; Nobody’s Happy.” « Edumacation

    […] with Microsoft OneNoteWhale Rider Teaching ResourcesClassroom Tech, Part IV: ShelfariAboutClassroom Tech, Part III: AnimotoApple's Counterculture […]

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