Animoto

Animoto – www.animoto.com – is a great little site for uploading photos to create short or long videos (depending on the length of the music you choose and the number of photos you upload).  The program automatically creates transitions and effects, depending on how fast or slow your music is, and which photos you want to highlight.

  

You can upload your own music, or you can choose from music on the Animoto site. It costs about $30 / year, but for that price you can make unlimited videos and download them to your own computer. In order to speed up the process of uploading photos, it’s best to re-size them and Animoto suggest using VSO Image Resizer, a free program available for download from their site.

These statistics have come from the Animoto blog: “Since Animoto launched in August of 2007…

– 4 million videos have been made on the Animoto platform
– more than 250,000 users in 200-some countries have registered on Animoto.com
– Animoto vids have been watched over 50 million times on Animoto.com, blogs, social networks, video sharing sites and web sites around the world!”   (http://blog.animoto.com/)

I love the potential for using these videos in a school setting: either to use as an activity with students, to showcase important events in your school, to introduce a topic, or to show an audience what your students have been doing.

Click this link to see what some teachers have been doing:  http://education.animoto.com/casestudies.html#top

Click this link to see a combination of images and text: http://au.youtube.com/user/cloudrecruiting

Click these links to see what we’ve been doing at Redlands College:  Bayside Readers Cup Competitions 2003-2007  and  Redlands College Library 

If you register for Animoto in Education, you can allow your students to create their own videos, simply by creating dummy email addresses for them where you can monitor activity on each of their addresses. (http://education.animoto.com/learnmore.html)  

“All videos are completely private. The only way someone can watch a video is if they are directed to that video’s specific URL, or if that video is posted to another website. Also, no one will be able to contact your students via Animoto”

Blogging as professional development

I first thought seriously about blogging when I read Will Richardson’s book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other powerful Web 2.0 tools for classrooms, which I would highly recommend. He spends a long time talking about blogging, and states that it is the best form of professional development available, however I was more interested in experimenting with the other great Web 2.0 tools explained so simply in his book.

Wills book

Will's book

My only other experience with blogging had not been overly positive (the Geography teacher and I had trialled blogging with her Yr 8 class, but we’d encountered a few problems with logins and access and the IM style of writing used by the students), and I had a reserved view of the value of blogging in the classroom.

However, in June/July this year I attended the NECC conference in San Antonio and looked at the blogs of some of the presenters that I’d heard. The more I looked, the more I found, along with so many great Web 2.0 applications for classrooms and libraries. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, opening door after door, and each time finding something new and exciting. I have to say that I now understand Will’s comment about blogging being the best form of professional development available. 

He also says that you need to become a blogger yourself before you try to use it with students, and he is right. Once I feel comfortable with what to do, I will feel more able to solve problems that inevitably will happen when I try again to use blogging in the classroom.  I think I’ll also add a Library Blog to our website and encourage the library staff to write about things that are happening in the library, because it’s a great way to communicate with parents.

If you would like to start blogging, bookmark the following link, as it gives you easy step-by-step instructions for setting up and managing your blog. Thanks Gail!!   http://a3wp.edublogs.org/files/2008/01/edublogs_01-29r-2008.pdf

Blogging is definitely not going to go away, as approximately 175,000 new blogs are created every day!!(http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/003674.php)  We need  to utilise the power of blogging in our schools, so make your blog #175,001 and start today!

Follow Will Richardson’s blog at: http://weblogg-ed.com/