16 Websites and Apps for Making Videos and Animation

Lights, camera, learning! Media-making picks that put students in the spotlight.

May 02, 2014
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Out-of-School Learning, Technology Integration

Teachers know that video-making is a tried-and-true way to get kids engaged in building, demonstrating, and sharing knowledge. These apps and sites feature user-friendly tools and features that make it more fun than ever to get kids' productions edited and polished.

To see the most updated version of this list as well as the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top Picks List: 


ABCya Animate
Use ABCya Animate to show kids how animations are created. Once kids understand how animation works and how to use the tool, they can use it to create short animated movies to demonstrate their understanding in many other subject areas. Read full review.

AndroVid Video Maker
With AndroVid Video Maker, students can shoot and edit using an Android device. With the editing tool, kids can trim, split, and merge video clips, separate audio from video, add their own music, and add text or special effects. Read full review.

Animation & Drawing by Do Ink
Animation & Drawing by Do Ink includes a database of ready-made drawings students can use to quickly create animations as well as a drawing tool for more advanced animators. Users can share their creations through Dropbox, Google Drive, or by saving to the device's camera roll. Read full review.

For teachers trying to engage students in digital storytelling, Animoto might not be the best tool. Creating a slideshow is simple and straightforward. But they trade ease of use with the automated process for editorial control. Read full review.

Animoto Video Maker
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 slideshows on a mobile device. Read full review.

Capzles is a social-networking and storytelling website. Users can combine photos, videos, blog content, and music into explanatory slideshows and share them with friends or the general public. Read full review.

Creaza Cartoonist
Creaza is a cartoon creation website that allows kids to make their own online cartoons and mini-movies. They can use pre-drawn characters and backgrounds, or draw their own directly into a panel, then add sound. Read full review.

Easy Studio - Animate the Shapes!
Kids can learn basic animation skills, along with sequencing, following directions, and how geometric shapes can interact to create objects and designs. As kids use the tools on Easy Studio - Animate with Shapes!, they also use their imagination and fine motor skills to make new digital creations. Read full review.

Explain Everything
Your students can learn crucial 21st-century skills with Explain Everything. They can learn how to present information using multiple forms of expression (images, text, video, and audio) through digital technology. Read full review.

Generator is an free online film resource that gives kids the training and tools to make their own short films. Since it's from the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI), some info is Australia-specific, but it's still applicable to any budding filmmaker. Read full review.

Shadow Puppet Edu
Using Shadow Puppet Edu, students can create video slideshows, adding their own narration and text. Videos can be up to 30 minutes long and can include up to 100 images, free for classroom use. Read full review.

Toontastic is a digital storytelling tool that teaches kids how to organize and present story ideas through cartoons. It employs a "Story Arc" that contains five sequential scenes to guide story structure (Setup, Conflict, Challenge, Climax, and Resolution). Read full review.

TouchCast helps students take their projects further. Not only can they create their own videos, but also they can extend their videos by adding current events, social networking feeds, and other apps to make their videos more comprehensive and much more interesting. Read full review.

VoiceThread provides students of all ages an online platform to create and share media projects that can incorporate video, image, voice, and even drawings. One of its most valuable assets: allowing for collaboration opportunities as well as audio or video feedback from readers and viewers. Read full review.

Vyclone is a video tool that teaches kids how to work together while sharing their own visual stories. Find friends, start filming, and blend your shots into one awesome video. Read full review.

WeVideo is a video-creation site that lets students create, edit, and share video content in one place. It's cloud-based, which means that multiple people can collaborate and work on the same video from different locations. Read full review.


What websites and apps do you use to encourage your students to be creative? Sign in to comment below.


Peter Landrey
Instructional Technologist

Yeah, because those are so accessible, right? Having used and taught those professional apps (and others) for over 20 years I think you'd agree that the point of the article is making use of simple, accessible tech for students to create animation. Now, go back to your workstation and play nice.

Classroom teacher

The kind of 3D and post-production software that you are talking about serves a completely different purpose. As a film school graduate student I was mandated to demonstrate proficiency in those platforms. It's a whole universe in its own. After graduating from film school, I've continued using Adobe products, especially Adobe Premiere (although during my years at film school I only used former editions of Final Cut Pro). I have not specialized in 3D animation so I haven't found any use fo Maya outside of film school. But that's just me. It's a huge investment of time to master Maya. The Adobe package is more user friendly. The industry is hyper specialized. Unless you work in indie productions, you're not a jack of all trades spreading yourself thin in post, etc. Those are time consuming  programs to learn. Unless you work in that specific industry, you might not have the time and definitely you don't have the need to learn them for the purpose of general K-12 education. Let alone teaching them unless you are teaching a media production class. If a K-12 teacher is teaching  the basic elements of story telling, equations or the US constitution, having to apply that kind of industry standard software that you mentioned here for assessments would completely defeat the purpose. Most students would need to take an additional class to learn those programs. Sure there are students and teachers who master Adobe products but you can't make it the assessment standard for everyone. Knowing what you are doing in Maya 3D doesn't mean that you know what you are doing as an educator who needs to select the appropriate medium for every potential environment. I also learned Blender but once again, another complete waste of purpose for most teaching and learning environments. Have you counted the hours that it took you to master Maya 3D? Imagine that you are not an animation specialist. Imagine that all you are supposed to do is teach US history, Mandarin Chinese or trigonometry. Would it make any sense to distract yourself from your goal just to learn software irrelevant to the task and a colossal consumption of time  and energy? And then invest another quarter forcing your students to learn that software instead of the curriculum that you are paid to teach? 

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