Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013
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Magisto - Magical Video Editor

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Automated video maker is fast and fun but has limits

Common Sense says
Teachers say (4 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
8-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: It's engaging, well-designed, and offers automated video production.

Cons: Inability to control edits, limited production length, and pricey subscriptions might turn off both beginners and serious filmmakers.

Bottom Line: Magisto makes video creation fun and quick, but automated editing hinders control for aspiring filmmakers.

Magisto would probably work best as a take-home activity or a group work assignment to enhance an already structured project. For students with no video editing experience, Magisto will demonstrate elements like audio, graphic overlays, transitions, and editing, but a thoughtful teacher will need to discuss and name these elements with direct instruction. Older special-needs students could use Magisto to experience video-editing success. An interesting project for students who are experienced or learning about video editing with another tool would be to use Magisto as a quick first run or to compare automatic editing to student editing using the same raw footage.

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Advancing through Magisto's wizard-like process, students can create entertaining mp4 videos in a few easy steps: Shoot real-time or pull raw footage from the device gallery; select front or back camera; then choose decorative themes, a little popular music for the audio overlay, and a final product duration. Magisto's built-in video editor selects the best clips and puts it all together in a matter of minutes -- depending on the amount of raw footage -- with very cool results.

Teens will be pulled in by Magisto's advanced design and pretty good ease of use, not to mention the popular tunes by Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, and more. They'll get a basic idea about overlay graphics (floating hearts, silent film style), editing, transitions, and the difference between raw footage and final production. Mostly clear instructions lead students along with callouts to explain stuff, like waiting for results.

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Students can use Magisto to create multimedia presentations but will generally need to use the "clean" theme and select "no audio" for this purpose. If students need control over cuts and splices or want a final product more than 2:30 minutes long, however, teachers will need to find them a different tool.

Kids younger than 13 are not allowed to register with their own Magisto account, which is required to download and save mp4 files for play on other devices. Sharing via tags, YouTube and Twitter posts, and email with links is super easy, so teachers may want to have students use their own device or one without associated email and social media accounts.

Monthly and yearly subscription packages are a bit pricey, and exactly what you get for the money is not presented clearly or consistently. Confusing and lengthy in-app FAQs (avoid these) and differences between the iOS, Web, and Android versions are compounded by instructions to download additional apps which do not actually exist on the app store. Downloading mp4s is easy but also easy to miss: On the My Movies page, select anywhere outside the arrow icon (play) in the middle of the movie panel to bring up a particular movie's page with the Save to Gallery button (select this to download your mp4).

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Overall Rating
2

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Advanced and engaging design pulls kids in, but the inability to access mp4 files without a pricey subscription and confusing features and packages could be a turn off.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
2

Kids can create movies fast, but the app doesn't offer any video-editing skill-building opportunities.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

Educational resources aren't really offered to help kids relate what they're doing to key concepts. Movies could, in theory, help them learn to take better photos, but they won't get any instruction.


Teacher Reviews

2
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Featured review by
Regina L. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
2
Teacher tool for Summary or a Hook for a Lesson

It is fun and fairly intuitive. Younger students would enjoy this as much as older students. Students would need to have an email address for a log-in which makes it difficult to use in some elementary schools. The videos that can be created on the basic level limits the length to less than two minutes. Getting more features by purchasing the upgraded app does not make economical sense to me. Although the app should have the capability to upload the video that was created to Facebook and other sites, it would not upload on my phone. The videos are very short. I would use it more if it had the capabilities of looping the video.

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