Tag Archives: animoto

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.


Moviemaking for Dummies

Those that have done any serious video editing know how time consuming it can be. And despite all of the time that goes into the process, it always seems to come out lacking something. Enter Animoto -a video creation tool that mashes together your pictures and music into a dazzling video, and does it in a matter of minutes.

Instructify, @edu, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Mr. B-G’s English Blog, U Tech Tips, Huff English, and of course the huge tech blog, Webware, have all posted on this cool tool already. I guess that means I’m late to the party. Nevertheless, I’m excited to share a little bit about Animoto. To avoid beating a dead horse, though, I thought I’d mention the features that most educators will find relevant and exciting.

  • While most people can get a free account that allows them to make 30-second clips, Animoto has seen fit to spoil educators by giving us free full-access passes. All you have to do is subscribe, they’ll review your information and will give you a pass to create unlimited videos of unlimited length. Kudos to Animoto for this amazing gift!
  • Animoto provides a (limited) selection of royalty-free music for you to use in your videos. Ranging from classical to rock to hip-hop, you can use whatever style of music you want to spruce up that slideshow you were planning.
  • Animoto links directly to YouTube, allowing you to upload your video quickly and seamlessly to your YouTube account. It’s also very easy to embed Animoto videos directly into a blog or website.
  • Some pictures are just more important than others. Animoto lets you “spotlight” certain pictures so they appear both in the background and appear longer and brighter than other pictures.
  • The newest feature of Animoto is the one thing that it was missing before: text. Now, along with the pictures you upload, users can create “images” in your video that are nothing but text. And like everything else on the site, the text is about as professional looking as you can get. The only downside is that there is a character limit – 20 on the top line, 30 on the bottom line. Even so, this was a much needed improvement.

Rather than going on and on about Animoto, here are a few examples that I’ve “created.” Enjoy!

First, a quick video tribute to my alma mater:

And a mashup of headlines from around the globe on November 5, 2008 (via the Newseum – another amazing site I’ll talk about sometime).

And finally, a remake of my first ever trailer – the prologue from Romeo & Juliet (a little longer than I’d like, but still pretty darn cool).