Animoto is a tool that can be used to create video presentations which incorporate images, video clips, music and text (Animoto, 2013). Educators can sign up for a free Animoto Plus account, but again, the login requires a school so I was only able to create a 30 second video which is free for anyone. The advantages of Animoto Plus are the ability to create longer videos with more control over the text and screen time of the images in your video (Animoto, 2013). However, even limited to a 30 sec video, I enjoyed creating with Animoto.
I found it very easy to create an Animoto video slideshow as the tools are similar to those I used when creating my Glog. The first step is to choose a template for your background style and music. I liked the fact that you can change the music separate from the background style and there was quite a bit to choose from. You can even upload your own music. Once I chose the style and music for my video, uploading pictures and adding text to the slides was straightforward. As you add slides of images and text, Animoto clearly shows the number that will fit in the time allowed and it is easy to see if any will be excluded. It is also easy to move slides around and change the order until you are satisfied with it. The result is a very professional looking video slideshow.
As much as I enjoyed creating my slideshow, there were still a few frustrations. I quickly realized 30 seconds was not long enough for what I wanted to create, so I had to modify my original plan. Of course, this wouldn’t happen with a Plus account, as it is possible to make longer videos. Being limited to 30 seconds also created some other unexpected problems.
As I continued to revise my video, slides that were originally within my 30s limit were suddenly excluded. It took me awhile to figure out why this was happening. Animoto limits the amount of text (at least with the 30s videos it does) you can put on a slide, and it keeps track of the number of characters you use. I eventually realized that the more text characters on each slide, the longer it stays on the screen, which then cuts down on the number of slides you can have in 30 seconds. I only understood this after I “produced” my first video, so I decided to make another one.
My vision before I started using Animoto was to create a video on the history of the study of astronomy, from Ptolemy to Galileo with inclusion of the invention of the telescope. I thought this would be a good introduction to the Space Unit for Science 9. Thirty seconds did not allow any information about the telescope to be added, and I had to leave out Kepler, due to the text issue I previously mentioned. Once I realized the problem with using text, I made another video, replacing some of the text slides with images. I was not completely happy with the result because the images (of the solar system) I used are fairly detailed and the slides don’t stay on the screen long enough for the viewer to see all those details. However, I was able to add Kepler back in. You can find the links to both slideshows below.
Upgrading to Animoto Plus should eliminate all these frustrations as with that package you can create “full-length” videos. The Animoto homepage has some examples of how educators are using it in the classroom.
There are examples of a Math lesson, a Civil Rights presentation, a creative way to teach the Alphabet and scenes from a Bridge Building competition. As a classroom teacher, I see using Animoto as a hook or to introduce a lesson. As a teacher-librarian, I see using Animoto to promote the services the library has to offer. However, Animoto is so easy to use, I think students would also love to be able to express their creativity and knowledge by creating a video presentation themselves. So far this has been my favourite Web 2.0 tool I have tried.
Animoto (2013) Unlimited videos for educators. Animoto Inc. Retrieved from http://animoto.com/education