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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.