Thursday, April 14, 2011

Animoto creates amazing slideshows with ease

     Animoto has really grown since I discovered the site over a year ago. They now have more templates available to make even better slideshows and have more ways to share your videos. The best part is that the full version is free for educators.

     The site allows all users to create free 30 second slideshows which they can share on sites like Facebook.
I love to use the site to introduce a new unit or to review a unit. It is also a great way for students to reflect on what they have learned. This is great for when you have returned from a school trip or wrapping up a major unit in class. Students can communicate a message through photos, video clips, text and background music.
Using slideshow software can be quite time consuming to get the right look but you can put everything together in a matter of minutes with Animoto and the site makes sharing simple as well as providing the option to purchase a high quality version of your creation.

There are just a couple of small changes that I would recommend to make the site better. Currently, users can just add one song and the length of the slideshow is dictated by the song you choose. It would be great if users could add as many songs as they need to go with their slideshow. Also, I wish that students could sign into a class account with individual user names and the ability to share within their group. As of right now, I need to login and create additional accounts by using my username plus a number (username11) and do this for each student I add. This is a little cumbersome. This is also necessary if you want several students working at the same time because you can only render one video at a time with a given username. I discovered this the hard way when trying to get all students to make slideshows using my account.

Overall, Animoto is great for both personal and educational use. Teachers can certainly find creative ways to make use of this site in their classroom and to get their students to create amazing slideshows which tell their own unique story.

Below is a slideshow which our grade 4 students made as part of their Unit of Inquiry on Children's rights. They also performed the song at a school assembly. The video was uploaded to Youtube about one year ago and demonstrates how Animoto can be used to communicate a message: