How I Use It
I use this in high school Engineering and Technology classes. Sometimes students have taken their own pictures and videos and used them to illustrate content such as parts of a computer or simple machines. Students have also used Animoto to present research projects using pictures and videos in the Animoto gallery or downloaded from the internet. One of my favorite uses for Animoto is having students report on a project that they have done. For example, after building a trebuchet, students take pictures with the iPad, use an app like Adobe Ideas to label parts of the trebuchet and changes in potential and kinetic energy, and take videos of the trebuchet in action. Then they put it all together in an Animoto video and add captions to provide more information. Next they choose music and captions, which most students enjoy. Some, however, want to spend too much time on trying to find just the right music.
My students use Animoto more and more for assignments that previously would have been done using PowerPoint or iMovie. On big advantage of Animoto is that it can be done on an iPad using the Animoto app, as well as on the Animoto website using a desktop or laptop computer. Although you do not have as much control over the final product as with iMovie, Animoto is much easier to use. The free lite version is pretty limited, so I set up free education accounts for all of my students, which gives them more choices and allows them to make longer movies. I set them up with derivative email addresses (eg. myemail+ email@example.com) so that whenever a student produces a movie, the link is emailed to me. I can then review the movie and either provide feedback on ways to improve it or show it the class on the Smart Board. I also have students place links to their movies on Edmodo so that their peers, both in their own period and in other periods, can view the movies and comment on them. In summary, I consider Animoto a very useful tool, but its educational value depends on how the teacher designs the learning activities for which it is used.