After much consideration, I decided to create a video tutorial on Animoto. Animoto is a free online video creator. I was searching for a free tool that my students could use to create short videos on various topics. I want them to have the ability to import video, images, and to include text. I especially wanted the software to be easy to use. I experimented and played with Mozilla Popcorn Maker. Popcorn maker meets all my requirements except for its ease of use. What I liked about Popcorn maker was its ability to easily import videos from YouTube and other services. I also liked the ability to link and include articles from Wikipedia. These are all very nice features that Popcorn Maker has. However, after playing, I felt that it was not as easy to use. Popcorn Maker’s interface is a little complex. As you add events, or content, it creates layers that superimpose other content. Also, changing the background and color of text requires the hexadecimal html code. For these reasons I did not pursue usage. I want to focus on the learning objective, not the tool. I feel Animoto is a good choice for students because of its easy interface.
With any video project, I recommend you have a clear purpose and know your audience. Always storyboard the project on paper. Draw out the images and include the text. Create a space, a folder, and put all the content you will be using in the folder. Once your paper storyboard is complete, you can use your tool to begin building your video.
There are many classroom applications for Animoto. In my classroom, one lesson I am planning is to have students use Animoto to create booktalks on a book of their choice. Their booktalks will be shared on our school’s daily television broadcast and also shared on the new book talk page of our library’s website. I like Animoto’s 30 second length limit. It gives students enough time to get their message across and makes student work in a thoughtful and concise manner. In order to generate discussion on books, I would like to a way for students to comment on each other’s videos. I will also investigate any potential problems with student email addresses and account creations. I believe it will be worth the effort in order to get students using Animoto in the classroom.