Common Sense Review
Updated August 2012

Animoto Video Maker

Slick video slide-show tool lets kids tell stories and share them
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Animoto's startup screen is where you create new video slide shows, find previously made ones, and access your Animoto account.
  • Video Tools is where you choose a theme, song, pictures, and video, and add text.
  • Choose from 35 themes to set the tone of your video slide show, and preview the theme to see color scheme, mood, and slide transition styles.
  • Add text (90 characters max) to help tell your story with a heading and subheading.
  • An example of a transition between two photos.
Impressive multimedia presentations are a no-fail way to teach kids the building blocks of storytelling.
You might have to be on alert for students sharing their presentations publicly through social media sites.
Bottom Line
Anything that happens during school can be turned into an engaging video slide show.
Kim Alessi
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Teens will enjoy using their device or web-based account to collate photos and video clips into customized video slide shows. The app's interface is well designed, straightforward, and engaging.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Unique video slide shows are easy to make with Animoto. Kids organize and stylize their experiences, then geek out on their finished presentations and share them via social media.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

There's an obvious starting point, and users walk through steps to create new video slide shows, so it's OK that there's no in-app tutorial. Helpful FAQs are in the settings and on the Animoto website. 

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Any school experience -- including class assignments, field trips, science experiments, and school plays -- can find new life in a skillful and engaging way with Animoto. Students can easily share their pretty projects, too. All Animoto videos default to private and are only public if kids opt to share a video's URL. Still, you'll have to keep an eye on things, as sharing through a variety of social media or through email and SMS is very easy to do with both the Animoto app and on the website. Location Services also defaults to on, but this can be turned off manually in the device's privacy settings.

If you're using a lot of video in the classroom, you might be interested in our teaching tips and resources to Get Students Thinking Critically About Video.

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What's It Like?

The world of digital storytelling gets cracked open with Animoto Video Maker. This tool lets kids 13 and older combine pictures, video, music, and text to make video slide shows on a mobile device. It connects to an auto-generated Animoto web account so teens can create, share, and access videos on a computer, too.

To get started, kids tap Create and choose a theme to determine the look of their slide show. They can add a song from either their own or Animoto's music library, and add video clips and text. An in-app camera lets them capture images, or they can import from their device's gallery. Then, everything gets auto-compiled into a 30-second slide show-like presentation. With a paid upgrade, or a free educator's upgrade (email address required), you can make slide shows of unlimited length -- if you dare. Animoto stores all the videos teens create within the app and in their accounts on the Animoto website. All videos are available at the Video tab. And it's easy to share videos, which is one of the prime things kids will be looking for. They can email their slide shows, send them as a text message, post to a blog or website, export to YouTube, or download to a computer. They can also tag friends and share on Facebook or post on Twitter. Finally, kids can download their slide shows to their device's camera roll.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Animoto excels in its simplicity and impressive final product. It uses "Cinematic Artificial Intelligence" to analyze music, photos, and video clips to produce customized and orchestrated transitions. If students get lost, helpful editing tools show them how to spotlight, rotate, duplicate, or delete images. The text tool lets them add relevant messages, statistics, and captions to entertain and educate their audience -- which is, of course, you and their friends.

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See how teachers are using Animoto Video Maker

Lesson Plans