Animoto, an amazing web tool I first discovered and shared back in September 2007, has released a portal site specific for education, educators and students: education.animoto.com. The overview page declares:
Your classroom will never be the same. Add Animoto to your classroom’s digital storytelling kit. Takes just minutes to create a video. Bring your lessons to life. Post/embed videos elsewhere or download them for in-class presentations!
This is one of the example videos showcased on the Animoto for Education site, created by elementary educator Tod Baker. Todd teachers 5th grade at the International School of Tianjin in China. Tod’s educational blog is “Watch Your Bobber.”
Stand back, this is sure to be Gary Stager’s favorite web 2.0 application portal for education yet! (If you background on this, see Gary’s post from September 2007 on Animoto.)
It IS very important to think carefully and deliberately about the QUESTIONS and IDEAS we want students to explore when they create multimedia projects with Animoto or with other tools. I’ve attended web design workshops where the presenter boldly declared, “Content is king.” Content is VERY important, but higher order thinking skills are as well. As you use Animoto and other multimedia technologies with students to create, communicate and collaborate, consider how Bloom’s Taxonomy is or can be fully integrated into student projects. This WikiMedia Commons graphic of “Bloom’s Taxonomy – Learning in Action” from WikiPedia provides excellent ideas for ways in which students can DEMONSTRATE their knowledge, skills and understanding of ideas utilizing the 2001 revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy by Anderson & Krathwohl. Obviously “Create a video with Animoto for Education” isn’t on this list, but many of the activities and tasks which ARE on the list can be done as students create their final multimedia product with Animoto and other tools.
Like other tools, it’s possible to use a powerful website like Animoto for Education in shallow or deep ways, in constructive or destructive ways. Or, it’s possible to just ban the website with the school content filter in an attempt to limit the decisions learners will make in the school building which pertain to digital ethics.
Many school district board members ARE more comfortable with Big Chief tablets in their own hands and the hands of their students rather than computer keyboards. In those cases, it’s just too bad the breadth of information, ideas and skills which students can access with paper and pencil is so limited. If we’re interested in helping students develop and refine relevant literacy skills in the 21st century, we HAVE to be using digital tools and resources regularly in our classrooms and homes.
Learning how to appropriately and effectively teach and learn with multimedia technologies should not be an option in our schools and classrooms. Animoto permits students as well as teachers to create some engaging videos, but ultimately the same responsibility for appropriate and effective uses of a learning tool applies to this website just as it does to a pencil or a pair of scissors. HOW will we use this tool? What engaging questions and tasks will we answer and engage in which relate to important ideas and issues about which we are curious and have developed existing background knowledge?
Back in September of last year, the Animoto CEO hadn’t anticipated how the tool his team created would be received and utilized by teachers and students. With the release of this portal, it’s clear those perceptions have been changed, and it seems the feedback and conversations which have taken place here in the blogosphere have been a significant contributor to those changes.
Tools like Animoto which potentially allow individuals to remix and repackage media in meaningful ways are inherently valuable. All the content which is created with Animoto, or any other tool for that matter (just look at YouTube for plenty of examples) are NOT inherently valuable, however. It’s up to the user and author to create with meaning and purpose, or create without thinking. As educators, part of our role is to encourage thoughtful and purposeful creation with digital as well as analog tools.
Children under 13 aren’t allowed to register. How then can I have my younger students use this program?
To ensure that your younger students are protected, we suggest that you come up with dummy e-mails for them that are under your control. This way you can monitor the activities that go on under their Animoto accounts.
I suspect VoiceThread’s method (via ed.voicethread.com) of having teachers or schools pay a nominal fee for a classroom account and then permitting students to create “child” accounts which are tied to / accountable to their teacher’s account may be a more straightforward procedure for most classroom teachers to follow in cases like this where individual emails are required for each student and the school does not provide student emails.
For step-by-step instructions about how teachers can use a single Google Mail account to setup student email addresses to use a tool like Animoto, see Sue Water’s post on EduBlogs “Creating Student Accounts Using One Gmail Account” from July 24th. Alternatively, consider setting up FREE and filtered / moderated student email accounts at your school using ePals SchoolMail. In either case, be sure you obtain parent permission and work with your school district’s administration so they are aware of your online activities as well as those of your students and support them.
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- Welcome to Hogwarts (August 2013) - 2013
- Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube with Lucy Gray (August 2012) - 2012
- Mobile E-Book Options for "On-the-Go" Readers - 2012
- Digital Textbooks using iBooks (August 2012) - 2012
- More Highlights from Glacier National Park - 2011
- Include Geo Location Info for iPhoto Exported Flickr Images - 2011
- MediaWiki spam cleanup recap and tutorial - 2010