Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Animoto December 20, 2011Posted by hmlang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Committees.
For this holiday blog entry we are going to discuss a site that is a big favorite among the members of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee, Animoto. As one of our original 25 winners in 2009, Animoto is used by our committee for every ALA and AASL presentation. It is the slide show that we have going as people come into our sessions. We match the slides to music, we simply love this site and how easy it is to use and we hope you will to.
My co-author for this blog is Elizabeth Dumas and she too has many ideas for Animoto. First let’s give you a little background. Animoto is a video slideshow maker with music. Users can use background templates and royalty free music provided by the site and then load in their own images, art, and pictures to create dynamic slide shows. You can make an unlimited amount of 30 second videos for free. After that, there is a cost for longer videos. There is also a free educator’s plan where teachers receive a classroom code to set up student accounts that enable students to create full-length videos. Teachers are also able to monitor students’ work. This web-based tool allows students to work on their videos at school or home.
Animoto and 21st Century Skills go hand in hand. Below are some examples of how this site addresses various skills.
- Creativity, effective communication skills and critical thinking skills come into play when students use this Web 2.0 tool to design and create videos. Creative juices flow when students suddenly become video producers.
- Students must critically look at their choices of images, text and music to make decisions as to the best choices and arrangements. Critically evaluating each video, editing and revising as needed, and remixing videos develop important 21st century learning skills.
- Decision-making skills and organizational skills used as student prepare storyboards for their Animoto videos.
- The site’s text blocks have a limited number of characters so students must write concisely and succinctly.
- The visual, audio, and textual elements in producing the videos help students produce visual messages and strengthen visual literacy skills.
From the Animoto website: All videos are completely private. The only way someone can watch a video is if they are directed to that video’s specific URL, or if that video is posted to another website. Also, no one will be able to contact your students via Animoto.
Elizabeth and I also wanted to offer some ways to use this wonderful site in your classrooms and with your students. Examples are below:
Teachers/Librarians can create a video -
- As an introduction to an upcoming curriculum lesson/unit- a “preview” or “teaser.”
- To activate prior knowledge before beginning a new lesson.
- To showcase library resources during Open House or faculty meeting.
- To inform students & faculty of new books in the library.
- To share the highlights of a school event such as an author visit, Teen Read Week, etc. with parents/community.
- As an introduction for a presentation.
- For conference presentations.
Students can create a video –
- As a “movie trailer” for a novel they’ve read.
- As a scrapbook project following a field trip.
- To demonstrate knowledge of a concept or person. (This year our students created videos about biomes, people and events in the American Revolution, Christmas traditions in other countries, and science fiction authors.)
- To explain a new vocabulary word. (Our sixth graders created 30 second videos about new vocabulary words for a weather unit.)
- To inform the school and community about a community service project – PSA. (Each year as part of Teen Read Week we always include a community service project. The last project was for the local animal shelter. Students were asked to bring in pet food and other items on the shelter’s “Wish List.” The video played on the school’s broadcast channel and on the school’s website.)
Animoto is a site that many of us on the AASL Best Websites Committee have personally used. Some use the free version. Others have gone ahead and purchased the pro version for longer videos and more effects. No matter how you want to use it, Animoto is a wonderful slide show creator that will excite your students in creating new visual projects for their classrooms and libraries. We enjoy it and we hope that you will too.
The AASL Best Websites Committee wishes everyone a wonderful holiday season and will be back with more ways to use the winning sites in the new year.
Heather Moorefield-Lang (Committee Chair) and Elizabeth Dumas (Committee Member)