Common Sense Review
Updated November 2012


Snazzy video slideshows a snap to create
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • A video tutorial
  • Uploading of images
  • A look at a project under construction
  • A visual tour of Animoto
  • A vast selection of themes
Eye-catching final projects are fun to make and simple to share.
Presentations won't have much depth.
Bottom Line
Slick music videos and slideshows are easy to make, but students need more control to personalize them.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

A highly satisfying and easy selection-and-upload process for music, images, and video clips means kids will have fun, and the good-looking presentations will make them feel like little geniuses. 

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

You can't control transitions or add narration to stories, so kids can't create much depth. However, they can arrange images and short videos to music, which strengthens artistic association, organization, and creativity.

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

Simple videos at the site show how to build a video project, and the homepage offers plenty of advice.

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

Your best bet for Animoto is to draw on its strengths and recognize its limitations. For an art project or maybe a book report, it could be useful and engaging. It's certainly fun to create slideshows and satisfying to watch the finished presentations. Also, it's a bit of a primer on video-editing software. Choices are limited, which makes it easy to use, but it also means the teaching potential is limited.

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?

Making flashy video slideshow presentations with Animoto is simple. First students select Create a Project, and the site walks them through each step. They choose a theme, upload short video clips and their own images or images from a Creative Commons sites such as Flickr, upload their own songs or songs from the site, and add text if they want -- and wha-bang! The site creates a video and publishes it to their Animoto account. The finished product is a slick and engaging presentation that will appeal to kids. Still, it won't let them express their ideas in a complex way.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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. The main problem is you can't control transitions; the site syncs them to the rhythm of the song. Also, you can't add your own voice narration, so the emotional resonance of digital storytelling gets lost. Students can add text, which does let them include more substantive content, but getting there takes a couple extra steps: They need access to the teacher's account (or their own Animoto Plus account) to avoid the video-length limits of the free account.

Once published, users can share the link, grab and embed code, export to other video sites including YouTube, or download a version to the desktop. New themes for projects and new music tracks, sorted by genre, are added regularly, so there's always something new.

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