in Technology

Animoto rocks! Here’s proof…

I love Animoto. For those of you who didn’t catch the buzz at the end of 2007 then it’s an amazing web app that produces professional-looking videos from pictures and audio you provide. At Christmas I had a play around with the 30 seconds worth of video they give you with a free account, but today went the whole hog and spent $30 (just over £15) on going unlimited for one year.

I’ve felt properly rough today so have been off school, but at least I’ve been productive. Look at (part of) what I’ve produced to try and tempt our Year 9′s to GCSE History next year! :D

  • http://www.boxoftricks.net José Picardo

    Hello Doug. Yes, it's really cool. I used it last year to do a reportage of my Spanish trip to Andalucía. Have a look at it:
    http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=27

    In reponse to OllieBray's comment try Internet Download Manager. It does cost $25 or so but it allows you to download .flv video (the format Animoto uses)

    • http://lisibo.blogspot.com Lisa Stevens

      You’ve just reminded how much I like Animoto – and also how much I miss History!! My favourite lesson – apart from Spanish obviously ;o) Memories!!

  • http://www.dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    @Ollie: Glad you like it! As José infers, you didn’t used to be able to download the videos you produce, just watch them online (hence the need for an FLV converter). However, Animoto now has a feature to save the file you produce as an MP4 ready for iTunes/Quicktime. :-)

    @Lisa: Ah yes, all the parents say that at Parents Evening – how they wish they’d studied History further, etc. ;-)

  • http://www.crucialthought.com Chris Craft

    Hey Doug,

    Dan Meyer disagrees with you about the usefulness of Animoto.

    http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=620

    Perhaps a good read for you? Perhaps fodder for conversation?

    Chris

    • http://paulhami.edublogs.org Paul Hamilton

      Hi Doug. I'm a big fan of Animoto, and I've had a $30 account for about 6 months. I really like what you've put together here. Question: what do you use as sources for music when you're putting together something like this? –Paul

  • http://karynromeis.blogspot.com Karyn Romeis

    Yes, Animoto rocks, but even more important, it enables you (who also rock) to demonstrate that history rocks.

    • http://www.olliebray.com OllieBray

      I agree Animoto is very cool – your video even makes me (a geographer!) want to study history. Do you know if these is a way to export / download the video that you produce?

      • http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk danny

        Cool video.

        I've had a play with the free version and really liked it. I have a feeling that when i get back from my skiing trip soon I'll be splashing out on a paid version to make a full length video.

        And apparently the paid-for files can be downloaded rather than just linked to, which is good.

  • http://www.dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    Thanks Karyn and Paul. :)

    I get all my music these days from MP3Fiesta. It’s taken over from AllofMP3 as being my favoured source for just-legal (and cheap!) music downloads… ;-)

    If you mean in terms of recommendations for new music, I use the Last.fm plugin for iTunes which keeps on recommending new music to me. It’s marvellous!

  • http://kenrodoff.blogspot.com ken

    Go, Animoto, Go! We’ve used it over here in my small slice of ed heaven as an intro piece for parents when they enter classrooms for Back To School night.

    Good times…and no knowledge of Final Cut Pro needed.

    • http://blog.mrmeyer.com/ Dan Meyer

      @Chris, I don’t disagree that Animoto is useful but neither do I think it has as many uses as the hyper-salivary School 2.0 sectarians do.

      For jazzing up a set of classroom photos for parents’ night, I approve. For any project calling for structure, creativity, or critical thought I don’t.

      To the extent that my approval matters, of course.

  • http://www.animoto.com Jason

    Hey Doug,

    Thanks for the write-up.

    I too, read Dan Meyer's post and agree that it's not a narrative-story telling device in a traditional sense. There are no voice overs, and it's not a documentary of any sort. HOWEVER… I've heard of great pedagogical usages nonetheless.

    Creative writing instructors using it to spark visual inspiration before a writing session, teachers trying to wow their students with images of that day's lesson, students making presentations using imagery from certain epochs in history….

    I could go on and on. There are many ways to learn, and at the expense of sounding cliche, sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. Students learning about the 1920s by seeing images flappers and protesters of prohibition might trigger more of a long-term retention of the topic than simply by reading about it. Conflated with the fact that the Animoto presentation is in a style that many students are familiar with (MTV-style videos), I think it adds a great juxtaposition of using an aesthetic with which kids are already familiar, along with learning material than they are being exposed to for the first time.

    Well, enough overwrought rants for me and back to work.

    Thanks for the write up though, Doug!

    • http://www.dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

      Hi Chris. I’ll just end up in a flame war with Dan ‘twisty words’ Meyer, so I’ll just say what I would have said there, here.

      Animoto certainly isn’t pedagogically sound in terms of constructing a narrative, as he says. But as a hook for introducing a topic, for creating a buzz to get things going – it’s ideal! :D

  • http://www.animoto.com Jason

    Oh, I forgot to mention, this is Jason, one of the "animoto guys."
    not some random ranter… (although that could be debated)

    • http://karynromeis.blogspot.com Karyn Romeis

      Dan Meyer – Well, for a start, the students would have to source appropriate pictures and assemble them in a sensible order. They would have to identify the pictures to be majored upon in the finished product. They would have to source suitable music. In order to achieve any of this, they will have to do research.

      Then, of course, there's the whole business of learning how to use Animoto itself. Once all the videos are posted, they will then no doubt get to view and comment on one another's work, thereby learning a spot of netiquette.

      Beyond that… well use your imagination. A lot of tools can be used for learning that weren't intended for the purpose – just have a look at Jane Hart's list for evidence of that!

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  • http://blog.mrmeyer.com/ Dan Meyer

    “I can see a lot of learning happening, there!”

    I can’t. Animoto is unchallenging. (A strength outside the educational market.) The output slideshows are all unique but precious little of that customization would come from the student. What would they be learning?

    • http://karynromeis.blogspot.com Karyn Romeis

      I was thinking about this whole business of whether Animoto could be a pedagogical tool, and realised that we were only thinking of it as a push situation: the teacher creates the animoto and shows it to the kids.

      What if you turned that around and set the kids the task of creating an animoto around a topic? They have to select appropriate images and music and must include at least one headline or quotable quote (complete with reference). I can see a lot of learning happening, there!

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  • http://twitter.com/gendojones O. Jones

    what is the track on this record doug?? its great. sounds a bit like mr scruff.

  • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    It’s by Quantic and called ‘Transatlantic’ (from the album ‘Apricot Morning’). Hint: Animoto videos tell you track name at the end… ;-)

  • Nick Dennis

    This is interesting because as much as I love Animoto, I couldn’t help thinking that this would be a seriously cool plug-in for iPhoto and that is not meant as a dig.

    As Doug suggests, it is great as an ISM (Initial Stimulus Material) for a topic. As a learning tool in another sense, I’m not so sure, but that does not detract from it being useful for education.