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Animoto is a "free", web based presentation creation tool, allowing users to easily and quickly combine images, video and sound into a uniquely generated slide show.
Animoto is presentation software with a twist - the presentations you create are paced to your music selection, and the images you select are randomly ordered, turning a simple presentation into a unique "trailer". While Animoto does not include the "social" aspect of most web 2.0 technologies (there is no profile to create, no user video portal to search or watch other users' creations), it meets the requirements in different ways. It is a unique and powerful creation tool for how easy to use it is, and it allows users to easily export their videos to other online accounts. It takes advantage of its place as an online tool and allows users to import files from their other online accounts as well.
Animoto uniquely generates the slide show for the user after all images have been submitted.
List of Animoto Services and Fees
The unique generation of the slide show can repeated, resulting in a different outcome, essentially allowing users to continually and easily "remix" their slide show.
Your slide show is paced based on your music selection, allowing you to drastically change a slide show with only a single change in soundtrack selection.
Animoto features a simple interface with a low learning curve, literally allowing users to create a presentation video in only a few clicks.
Easily import images from your other online accounts - currently Facebook, photobucket, flickr, SmugMug and Picasa.
Large selection of original and well known music to select from, all pre-licensed for legal use.
Once the images, soundtrack, and presentation style are selected, the user may leave the website - it will email them when their video is created.
Once a slide show is created, the creator is free to share the video however they would like: embedding in a blog or website, exporting to YouTube or other websites, or even just sending an email to friends.
Animoto's website is clear and focused, with an emphasis on its use as a professional tool.
These last two strengths eliminate concern for educators, as the lack of "social" emphasis on the videos effectively filters out any possibility of students possibly accessing any content deemed inappropriate.
From the start, a major weakness of Animoto is that it is not free.
However, Animoto currently allows
applications from educators
for it's software, and is currently re-evaluating it's education services. It appears that an accepted application results in the educator receiving a promotional code for their animoto account,
bypassing the fee
. Signing up as an educator with a .edu address seems to gain instant access to longer videos.
Also, the 'All Access' package, which is everything students would need, is only $30 a year.
Users may sign up for the service without paying, but they are limited to creating 30-second videos.
Animoto "shuffles" your pictures to create a unique slide show - if a user wants their images in a certain order, they must manually order the images.
Comparison to similar Web 2.0 tools
Prezi is another slide show creation tool, with a similar emphasis on the its services for professionals. Although Prezi allows users to create more interesting and dynamic slide shows than say, PowerPoint, its' interface is slightly more difficult than Animoto.
Users may notice similarities between these two tools immediately: both feature ways to create presentations using images and videos, and the interface for both tools is similar (both aesthetically and technically). Voicethread, however, is slightly more difficult to navigate - mostly due to its unique commenting feature. This feature sets it apart though, as Animoto videos do not have that level of viewer interaction. Of course, to use the full potential of Voicethread, users must have access to a microphone (although text-based commenting alleviates this somewhat), which may turn some users away.
Glogster allows users to create virtual posters by uploading images and sound (either user created or selected from stock content). "Glogs" are otherwise static, which greatly separates these two tools. Glogster's homepage also appears to focus on a user community - which is certainly fun and engaging, but the content does not appear to be filtered, and thus creates potential concerns for educators.
GoAnimate is an online video creation tool similar to
. Users write a script, select characters, and direct an animation. GoAnimate appears to a very fun tool, which would succeed in an educational environment, but it is clearly not a professional tool.
Animoto Activities Final.docx
Animoto allows a variety of different files to be used, and from many different sources. Dan walks through how to use your own media, while Meghan explains importing and Animoto's music library. (We chose to use Cam Studio for its higher quality, and the ability to collaborate better on the single video.)
References, Articles, etc.
In Touch: "Best Of" Blog - Animoto
A blog post detailing some uses of Animoto, with external links to examples of Animoto being used in schools.
Animoto in the Classroom
A high school library's lib-guide on Animoto, with examples of how they have used it in their school
Rockingham County Public Schools - Animoto
Another school's use of Animoto, with examples and how-to information.
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