Creating Photo Montage Videos, Part 1: Animoto

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 11.34.49 AMI’m always on the lookout for free, intuitive creation apps that teachers and students can use quickly and easily in the classroom. Students seem to enjoy creating videos that use their photos, and I’ve come across a few apps that help them create videos using photos stored on their devices or on social media sites. This post will describe one such app: Animoto.

Animoto in a Nutshell

Animoto, which is available on the Web and also on iOS and Android devices,  has been around for quite some time, and it has a great reputation. The app allows students to create videos that include captions for each individual photo.Students can also add text-only slides for transitional purposes. Animoto comes complete with interesting themes and music for students to choose, and students won’t be violating any copyright laws by using the music provided by Animoto. As educators, you can even apply for a free six-month Education Account, which allows you to create accounts for up to 50 students to use.

The app opens to a beautiful page of scrolling photos. There’s a “create a video” button at the bottom. Tapping that button opens the creation area, which automatically launches photos and videos. Students can use photos or 5-second increments of video from the camera roll, or they can take a photo using the camera.

animoto page 2

animoto screen 3

After choosing the group of photos, students choose a theme and some royalty-free music for the video. Music can be added from the device, but students must be the original creator of the music. There’s an agreement that students must agree to before they upload any music.


animoto screen 4

animoto agreement

When students advance to the next part of the app, they can add a title to the video by tapping on the edit pencil at the top. They can also set a new cover image at that time.

animoto screen 6

Tapping on an image brings up a menu to add a caption, rotate the photo, or trash the photo.

animoto screen 8

Tapping on the T+ at the bottom allows students to create title slides that they can then move into place by holding the image until it pops up a little. Then they drag it and drop it off in the proper location. Images can also be rearranged in this way in order to properly tell a story. Once students are all finished, they can hit the preview button and see what their video will look like.animoto screen 9

Once a student decides to save the video, he or she must log into an account, which should be an account that the teacher creates through their free Animoto Plus account. The app itself has a limited number of sharing features— students can share via email or Twitter, or they can copy the link. If a student logs into Animoto.com from the computer, there are many more sharing options available.

Here’s an example of the short Animoto video I created that tells a little bit about me and my family.

JPG in a Nutshell

 

Common Core Connection

When students create videos, they are working on developing creativity, communication and critical thinking. Of course, if students were working together to create their videos, collaboration would also be in the mix. More than video-editing apps such as iMovie, Animoto allows students to create photojournalism projects,  because it doesn’t require editing the video itself. It just requires students to arrange photos and captions in a way that tells a story. Some examples of ways students can use Animoto include:

  • retelling a story through images and song.
  • “About Me” time- capsule videos at the beginning and the end of the school year, being sure to take photos of all their favorite things, which would help them.
  • character analysis through images, which can be photos the students take or images they draw and save in the camera roll
  • an alternative to a lab report in science

In terms of Common Core State Standards, Animoto helps students achieve numerous standards. Close Reading of text has become very important, and that can include “close reading” of media. Students can analyze the photojournalistic projects of their classmates in close-reading fashion. Teachers can also create videos using Animoto for this purpose to introduce a story or concept to their students. As students finish units of study in class, they can also create Animoto videos to showcase their understanding of the learning.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Animoto in the classroom? Do your students have individual accounts, or do you use a class account?

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