Tag Archives: creativity

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).


Comparing Education Systems…

I’ve been watching Ted Koppel’s The People’s Republic of Capitalism on the Discovery Channel – a program that has been both informative and very fascinating. I would highly recommend that anyone watch this series.

As I watched the second episode (on my DVR – something I’ll post about another time), Ted Koppel was interviewing a young man (who now goes by Alan) who spent most of his life in China, save for one year in Washington state as an exchange student. Listening to him talk seemed to shed a different light on an issue that is a really big deal on this side of the Pacific: education. Since “A Nation at Risk,” the motivation for increased standards and testing has typically been global competition. It’s not hard to find articles and statistics touting the superiority of the Chinese education system – just look at all the jobs that have been outsourced to China (which was the main subject of the first episode).

During his interview with Koppel, Alan seems to disagree with the contention that American education is failing. “Everything is developing and the focus now, here, is economic development…I sometimes just feel that my imagination, my mind, is blocked and I feel it’s very terrible – my mind is empty; I cannot create anything…I think it’s a result of the Chinese education because the Chinese education does not encourage students to create or imagine. They just tell you 1 is 1, 2 is 2 and don’t forget it. 1 and 1 is 2. Yeah, so, no imagination.”

Are we so sure that our students are failing? Are we really at risk? If we truly believe in what we call the 21st century skills – most notably creative and critical thinking – doesn’t Alan’s statement suggest that we’re on the right track?

I’ll have more observations from this series over the weekend, but until then, I’d recommend watching it – it’s worth your time.