Recently, and with thanks to Andrea Robertson, (our fantastic e-learning lecturer at Otago University’s College of Education), I was introduced to another fast, fun and simple to use on-line learning tool which goes by the name Animoto. This site allows users to create unique slide shows using either their own or Animoto’s selection of photos, video clips and music.
I had a go using some photos I had stored on Flickr. After several unsuccessful attempts (where Animoto valiantly tried to upload an entire album of a hundred odd photos), I found the easiest solution was to go back to Flickr (you can also upload from Facebook or select from a folder on your PC) and create a dedicated Animoto folder to upload to the site with no more than 12 photos. This is about all the app can use within the 30 second free service – if you want/need more than that, you start paying.
I selected a background theme from several templates offered by Animoto and likewise with the soundtrack in the background. If I’d worked out how to upload from Flickr at the start this would seriously have only taken about 30 minutes to create the final product.
So what are you left with? A visual representation based on a topic of your choice so a great way to synthesise information, encourage deeper level thinking and reinforce key learning objectives. Classroom applications I’ve thought of for Animoto in my subject areas include:
- Download a selection of images from a play/novel and present an interpretation of a key scene.
- Select a theme from a unit of work being studied and get students to do the same either on their own or in pairs.
- Use Animoto as an introduction to editing for a junior Media Studies class – does the tone suite the images? Is the music suitable?
- Create a slide show around a key character in a novel/play – use images that sum them up
- Get students to take photos around the school and use those to create a quick presentation about the school e.g A Day in The Life Of Mr Brown, A Typical Day for 11RT, Our School etc
- Similarly they could take digital cameras on an outside trip the Museum etc and use Animoto for a follow-up report
- Who Am I? Use as an icebreaker at the start of the year – see if students can bring in a few digital pics of themselves which say a bit about them e.g hobbies, families, favourite holidays, places, mentors etc
Like most online tools you’ll need:
- Access to the computer lab in good working order
- To create a unique account for each student (check if the school is ok with that)
- Time to give students a quick virtual tour
- Make sure they have the resources (stills, video clips, music) they need set up in a folder
The uses are pretty endless. Given that I created mine while at College and don’t have a lot of pics stored online, my first foray was a slidehow of my sons – not exactly educational but the grandparents like it! Friend Boys.