How I Use It
I have used this produce for several school years in different subjects and grade levels, from 4th grade to 6th grade. Students have produced videos for subjects including plant life cycles, the gold rush, the Salem witch trials, and digital citizenship. Students have taken small videos (10 seconds or less) using our digital cameras and uploaded those, as well as taking pictures or finding pictures on the internet to insert in the video. Students perform research on a subject and then produce a video on any of these subjects. Students are encouraged to use different "writing styles" in their videos (expository, persuasive, descriptive, or narrative) to present their ideas and learning. Students may use public domain photos or create a works cited in addition when using photos from websites.
Pros: Fairly easy to use, a lot of music to choose from. Final product is fun to watch and easy to share. Use cameras to upload your own photos or video. Educator account offers 3 minutes videos and *more* styles than the free account.
Cons: Unable to control the length of individual slides, but the pacing can be changed for all slides. Creating educator account(s) is cumbersome. Uploaded video cannot be longer than 10 seconds on educator account.
Animoto is an easy to use, colorful and fun way for students to present. The hardest part for me is to set up the accounts every year, since you have to apply for an educator account every year (and then input the activation code on each account). The students struggle most with downloading and uploading pictures and videos, but I use this opportunity for them to learn to create and organize files and folders. The students always enjoy working in Animoto, but pacing is also an issue for some students. To circumvent that, I have students work on brainstorming, research, and collecting pictures and video before I give them access to Animoto.
The presentations in Animoto are always wrought with creativity and personality, which is why I continue to return to this product over and over. Students genuinely enjoy the process and are very proud of their finished products. Even with the limitations in the educator accounts such as 10 second videos to upload and 3 minute total presentations, these are all opportunities to teach other important technology skills.