I have a soft spot in my heart for Animoto, as it was the first web tool I successfully put into practice with my students. I remember being completely awestruck when discovering that there was a website capable of doing such amazing things with text and images—it was love at first sight!

Now, of course, web tools are everywhere, and the publishing possibilities for students seem endless. But Animoto holds its own as a ‘must have’ for the 21st Century classroom. In addition to being way cool, Animoto helps its members express their ideas creatively with a professional look without having to actually be film-editing professionals. All I have to do is show my students one video made through the site and they’re hooked.

My students often can’t believe that they can make something of such high quality and are eager to show off their creations to their classmates. They want to do a good job because they know it will result in something they can be proud of. I mean, try doing something similar with poster board and magazine clippings and see if you get the same result!

So what does Animoto do for a video? I could explain, but it would be more effective if I just showed you, so here’s a before and after shot of the same line up of text and images—I think the difference speaks for itself.

Without Animoto:

With Animoto:

Pretty cool, eh? And the possibilities are endless. I usually have my students make vocabulary videos to frontload the academic language used in a future reading assignment, but there is so much more. To prove it, I hit up my edmodo friends to see how they used the site. They gave me a lot to work worth, and here area few ideas that stood out:

  • public service announcements
  • book trailers
  • class introduction videos
  • student poems put to video
  • showcase of scientific principles

And so you can see some of these in action, I’ve added a playlist I put together of some really great examples. Maybe you’ll find something here you can see yourself using with your students. It can only do good things, I promise!