As educators we often forget to tell our story and to celebrate the great things that happen in our classrooms by sharing them with the world. Imagine the difference that could be achieved if only parents, community and colleagues could see the magic when it happens. All it would take would be a camera or video camera, the ability to make a movie, and a place to put that movie for others to see.

Fortunately, thanks to mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, we have the first need covered. AND thanks to super-easy, powerful, and FREE web tools like Animoto, we have the power to create professional looking videos in just minutes. Add to that a web presence tool like Weebly, Blogger, Twitter, Remind or Celly, and we can easily open a window to our classrooms, inviting stakeholders to see what makes our classrooms special.

What is Animoto, you ask?

And here is an example video created with Animoto for the ICATS Photo Challenge:

Getting Started

One of the great things about Animoto is that teachers can apply for free Animoto Plus accounts to use with their students. Use the button below to find out more.

After you have your account, it is easy to learn how to use Animoto to create professional-looking videos that show-off what is going on in your classroom. Here are a few resources to get you started:

You can also check out this post on the ICATS website for more information about Animoto in the classroom:

Suggested Uses

  • Create a video that introduces your class for parent night.
  • Create a video that captures the process students go through as they complete a project.
  • Create a video that celebrates a class milestone such as the first day of school.
  • Create a video that captures a special class event such as a guest speaker or field trip.
  • Create a video that advertises a special school event or function.
  • Create a video invitation to a school or class event.
  • Create a picture slideshow that shares your classroom with the world.

Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)

An effective communication system in the classroom leads to a Respectful Culture (essential competency 3.4) by communicating in a way that is professional, positive, and inclusive of all students.   By regularly sharing information about the classroom to families, responding promptly to contact from parents, and developing activities designed to engage families successfully, Animoto can help you provide a venue for Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (competency 4.4).

Additional Resources

There are dozens of great web tools that allow teachers to create and edit video easily and for free. If you are looking for a few more creative possibilities, I encourage you to check out Magisto, Screencast-o-matic, or Stupeflix (website is no longer available).

Your Challenge

Today’s challenge is to look at the options in a video communication tool like Animoto and reflect on how you could use this resource to enhance communication with the stakeholders in your classes / school.  Share those reflections in the comments below and if you have another great video communication tool please feel free to add it to your comments as well.   Commenting on others responses is a great way to share ideas and make educational connections, just remember that “active participation” is more than just an “attaboy” for someone else.  Enjoy!

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  1. No matter the device or technology, sharing projects visually has always been a powerful medium. Animoto is yet another tool to add to our respective belts. At the high school level, this is something we can use for booktalks, projects, synthesis of articles/stories, etc.

  2. My geometry students just finished making their Logic book of If – then this— (think If you give a pig a pancake) but this could make it more video/movie like. A few students use PhotoStory to put their books together but many still come back to basic ole powerpoint slides. I encourage them to look at a list of Digital Stoytelling sites that I put on MBC for them to choose from. Creating a video might bring these stories to life more than flipping through a book or slides.

  3. I am thinking about using this to showcase successes in my classroom and having students create short videos about topics we are learning about. I am in the process of starting a Lego League team at my school, I am thinking of doing a video to promote the program and then next year creating a video to show our school board what we accomplished in our inaugural season. I love tools like this, they really make my mind run through the possibilities.

    • Animoto is a great tool for marketing. Sharing what we do in the classroom doesn’t always take priority in our busy schedules, but as Kevin Honeycutt says, we can’t be secret geniuses. We have to tell our stories.

      • I agree 100% with that! He couldn’t have put it better. It goes back to your pre-session at eRev as well. I have done better at it this year, but I still need to do more.

  4. I currently use Windows Movie Maker to make the videos that I put on my classroom Facebook page. I really enjoy making videos to put on my Facebook so parents can see some of the fun learning we do in Room 6. I was interested to see what Animoto had to offer. I liked that it was easy to use and offered a variety of different templates. One thing that is nice is that they have licensed music that you can use with your videos. I usually have to hunt for royalty free music online. I did notice though, that the upload time for pictures and video clips is extremely slow. Also, you do have to buy the pro version or apply for an educator’s account to get the large watermark removed from the middle of your finished video.

    • It’s true that you need the educator’s account to take full advantage of Animoto for free, but I found that it took no time to get approval for that. Click the big, green button above to learn more. It’s definitely a nice tool to have in your toolbox for when you want to put a fresh theme to class videos.

  5. Animoto has my attention! This could easily be incorporated into lessons, but closer to the end of the year. Students in my elementary class already know some things about this kind of technology, so they could help assist other students. Do families usually give signed permission for students to create videos that are shared with the class? Creating videos could easily be implemented, both at home and at school, so I’m keeping this on my idea list for the spring.

    • Generally not, It is like any other project that is shared with the class, a book that the student has written, a science project, etc… Even if it is not a class project, opening the doors to students by making a digital equivalent or option for a project can lead to creativity by the students. I would often take a small amount of time in class (10-15minutes) to introduce the basics of a resource or web tool to my students and then gave them some time to “press the buttons” lets say. That way when a project or assignment was a good fit the students had a toolbox of webtools to show their understanding of the topic. Basically, even if you leave the project open to a little interpretation in your expectations, then your students can wow you with some possible digital experiences.

  6. My [5th grade] students each chose a state to research for Social Studies. At the same time, they were working on persuasion in their Language Arts class. To combine the two, they created tourism videos using Animoto to advertise their state to tourists. They did a great job choosing the music, choosing the pictures, and deciding on the most important text (since it was a commercial!). Highly recommended for students!

  7. This has a lot of promise for promoting the media center! At the very least the annual report could be presented in a much more eye catching method and easily viewed online.

    • I like the idea of using Animoto for promotion. If I think about how many videos I’m willing to click on as I peruse Facebook, I’m much more likely to get and remember a message that way than through an email or newsletter article.

    • I’ve used Animoto for making book trailers. I run them on my computer to broadcast over the TV that is in the center of the library for all to see. Make your book trailers able to be view without sound and you have the perfect promotion of action in a library without the noise. :)

  8. I really love the ease of use with animoto. It does not take much skill to create a good looking video in just a few minutes if you have all the pieces together. One way I have seen animoto used in the classroom in Chemistry was to create a safety video for laboratory safety. You can incorporate still pics of glassware, safety equipment or videos of proper use of different equipment and then animoto will help put text in and nice music. All in a short time frame.

  9. One of the schools I am in has recently started a “Teacher of the Week” program as part of their PBIS plan. Students submit nominations for their favorite teacher. Once a winner is chosen, the nominating student (alongside one of the PBIS coordinators) produces their own Animotos to highlight traits of that teacher and the video is shared with all staff members. Here is an example of one:

    I think it would be neat to use Animoto to highlight an outstanding community member. Have a student team (maybe newspaper or Student Council) interview that citizen, tell a bit about what they do, about their educational background, and how they contribute to the community. This could make for a strong college and career readiness piece in schools!

  10. I love Animoto. As an eLearning Coach it has been a great way for me to get reluctant teachers to let me into there classrooms and share something awesome. Elementary students have no trouble signing in and making high quality videos. In less that 20 minutes you can shoot video and pics on your phone, plug them into an Animoto template and have a finished product. Amazing!

    • So true, JT. I’ve found that this tool is definitely usable at all levels. Younger kids may need a little bit of support, but when kids see the final product it encourages them and gives them a sense of pride in the work. It’s also nice because the resulting video can be shared so easily online, creating opportunities for authentic audiences.

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