App review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2020
InShot Video Editor
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InShot Video Editor

Social media-aimed creation app has cool features, some pitfalls

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
8–12
Subjects & Skills
Creativity

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Pros: It's intuitive, so students can create great-looking videos, photos, and collages in a snap.

Cons: The free version has disruptive pop-ups and ads. The easy social media sharing could lead to privacy issues.

Bottom Line: For students, there's a lot of fun to be had and valuable editing skills to be gained, but teachers will need to do all the instruction and deal with the ads.

InShot Video Editor can help students show what they know and wow their peers with visual media. In ELA, have students create book trailers that inspire their peers to expand their to-read list. For social studies classes, challenge them to create a video timeline of related historical events. Turn the traditional foreign language travel pamphlet project into a persuasive video or collage that highlights popular landmarks or cultural monuments. Or jazz up your flipped lessons with presentations that feature narration, music, stickers, and special effects to make the content more memorable. Science teachers will like the annotation features for diagrams or even putting together digital lab reports. Students can draw their observations using a tool like Explain Edu and incorporate their drawings into their videos, complete with narration of the process from hypothesis to conclusion. Taking a cool field trip? Let students turn their pictures into a collage, and share their creations as part of a class website or blog. 

InShot's ample visual and auditory features mean that no two presentations will be the same. Just remember to remind students ahead of time about online safety and privacy pitfalls. That way, if they choose to share their content publicly via a social media network or YouTube, they've got all the bases covered.

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InShot Video Editor is an image, collage, and video editing and creation app. Once students import images or videos from their camera roll, they can apply filters, stickers, music, text, and more. Images and collages are fairly simple to create, and once they choose their pictures, students can create and edit these in minutes. Videos, of course, will take a bit longer, especially if kids want to customize each slide with music, narration, transitions, or other effects. Once finished, students can share their presentations via social media channels and email or save them to their Google Drive for safekeeping. They can also store drafts on their dashboard inside the app. 

There's no in-app support, but watching a few comprehensive YouTube tutorials will be enough for most students to get going. They might need some help with ideas, though; a content gallery would be a nice addition for ideas for classroom use. Teachers should be aware that the app lacks safeguards to ensure that students aren't using copyrighted images or videos. Although the music tracks available inside the platform advise attribution, students also have the option of importing music from iTunes. Be sure to equip students with knowledge of proper copyright guidelines before they publish their content publicly.

Having students create videos can be a powerful learning experience, especially when the target audience for those creations is clear and accessible. In that sense, InShot is a good learning tool, since it eases the process of creation and makes sharing what students create fairly simple. It's also tuned specifically to social media-friendly content, so it'll connect with young people. Teachers will need to make sure that students don't just create but get, give, and incorporate feedback on creations. InShot also has an advantage over some competitors in that students can create different types of media, not just videos. This allows them to show knowledge in ways that fit their needs, and could be a huge relief for students who don't excel at more common types of assessment.

Most students will need guidance with the app's deep tool set, since it lacks any tutorials or onboarding. For instance, teachers might help students understand what the three different video edits (trimming, splitting, and cutting) do and how they might be useful. There are also some potential pitfalls with the more whimsical tools. Some of these quirky tweaks, such as stickers, should be used with discretion and purpose so that they add to rather than distract from the overall quality of the presentation. Music selection and timing will be important as well. Instruction in effective design principles -- including how to engage but not distract an audience -- will help guide students toward producing meaningful content. These kinds of supports aren't built into the experience, so teachers will need to design lessons and tutorials specific to InShot. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

While the free version's ads and pop-ups will interrupt design flow, students will appreciate the ability to create interesting videos and images for social platforms.

Pedagogy

Teachers may not like the lack of instructional supports, but the app empowers students and encourages design thinking.

Support

There's no built-in support or accessibility features, but online tutorials are available.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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