Strategy Guide

Bringing Lessons to Life with Animoto

5 - 12
Strategy Guide Series
Teaching with Technology

About this Strategy Guide

Using Animoto, a free Web 2.0 tool, students can develop short digital videos that include music, photos, video clips, and text as well as share their creations electronically.

Research Basis

Nearly one hundred years ago, John Dewey stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”  These words are particularly applicable to the utilization of technology in the classroom.  If teachers fail to teach the new literacies, they are failing to prepare students for tomorrow, as well as missing valuable opportunities to engage student learning.  According to Hagood, this practice consists of teaching “reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and designing in print and nonprint media using pop culture and digital technologies.”  Through technology, students collaborate, communicate and create to learn.  According to Werner-Burke et al., for many students, technology in the classroom provides much needed motivation as well as preparation for the daily digitized world outside of the classroom.

Hagood, M. (2012). “Risks, Rewards, and Responsibilities of Using New Literacies in Middle Grades.”  Voices from the Middle, 19 (4), pp. 10-16.

Werner-Burke, N., Spohn, J., Spencer, J., Button, B., and Morral, M. “Bridging the Disconnect: A Layered Approach to Jump-Starting Engagement.” Voices from the Middle, 19 (4), pp. 45-49.

Strategy in Practice

  • Animoto is a Web 2.0 tool that allows users to produce videos that blend photos, video clips, text and music.  Examine your existing curriculum to decide where the use of Animoto will support your learning objectives.  For example, Animoto could be used for the following ideas:
    • At the start of the school year, students could use Animoto to introduce themselves or their classmates.
    • Students can illustrate their own poetry using digital images they find on Internet or ones they take.
    • Animoto can be used to present research information to the class.
    • Students could illustrate step-by-step instructions for procedure writing.
    • Send students on a scavenger hunt, supplied with digital cameras.  Have students assemble their digital images into an Animoto video to display what they found.
  • Familiarize yourself with Animoto before introducing it to your students. The short video The New Animoto Video Creation Process provides basic instructions.
  • Apply for an educator account at the Animoto Education page, where you can also see examples of how other educators are using Animoto in their classrooms.
    • You will receive a confirmation email from Animoto that will include a code for your students.  This renewable code is valid for six months.
    • Next, set up your student accounts by following the instructions found at How Do I Set up Accounts for My Students? found in the Animoto help section.
    • Create a step-by-step tutorial for your students or use one such as Animoto Instructions.
    • Create an Animoto video for the students to view on a previously taught topic in your curriculum, such as this video on the news events of 2000-2009.  Show the students this video as a sample of what they will produce.
  • Model for students how to create an Animoto video.  Discuss the selection of music to create a mood for the video as well as choosing photos and videos that clearly relate to the topic.  Talk about the use of text to help the viewer follow the ideas expressed in the video.  Provide students sufficient time to create their Animoto videos.
  • Develop a rubric for evaluating students’ Animoto videos.  Consider "choice of music," "organization of photos and videos," and "use of concise text" as categories.  For an example, see the Haiku Rubric used to evaluate a student-written haiku presented in an Animoto video.
  • Provide support and guidance for students who may have difficulty finding appropriate music or photos for use in their videos.
  • Allow time for students to evaluate a partner’s Animoto video before the entire class views the videos.  Additionally, allow students to revise after this evaluation.
  • Allow time for students to share their Animoto videos with the class.
  • Establish a class wiki--at Wikispaces, for example--where you can link the students’ Animoto videos so that all in the learning community can view the students’ projects.

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