How I Use It
Animoto is a tool I honestly forgot about for a few years, but I've come back to it with a vengeance (in a good way). Much like in iMovie, students are able to insert videos or photos, move them around, and add captions, while adding easy-to-use themes. What a great way maybe to present a decade project in a social studies class or real-life examples of angles in a geometry class! There are so many good choices of copyright-friendly music to accompany the slideshows that students don't have to worry about breaking the rules in that department or not being able to fit their themes well. A sleek preview mode allows changes to be made before the longer save is completed, or experienced (or hurried) users can go straight to the produce mode. I love the sharing options as well. Students can download the file for hosting elsewhere, but I love the embed codes and links myself. I can see an embed code being a great option for teachers to use on Blendspace or their own websites. Sometimes pictures don't last long enough. In that case, I enjoy using the spotlight option. Teaching students to feature certain pictures without having to try too hard increases engagement and makes the point of what they're conveying even better. Headlines/titles are also easy with the addition of a text slide where a photo would normally go. One of my frustrations with the app is the fact that titles have to be so short. I don't think I'm too long-winded, but I've had to do some creative editing to make my titles fit at times, so I could see where that would be frustrating for students.
I think Animoto is a great tool for initial presentation of content or as a review (highlight reel) of previously-learned content. It is user-friendly for all levels, and the built-in music, transitions, and themes make a professional out of anyone. My only concern is that it would be better for the hook or wrap-up sections of the lesson and less effective on the nitty-gritty aspects of the teaching itself.