Ok- for those of us wondering about the “educational” value of Animoto… I bring you a Martin Luther King Day trailer from Stacy Baker:
Stacy is a cyper-pal of mine and one of our growing group of inspiring collaborators on The Synapse. She is also a blogger herself and a teacher whose class blog entitled “Extreme Biology” was nominated and won a 2008 Edublogs Award for “Best Class Blog.” She has recently taken the newly-released features on Animoto (adding text overlays and altering slide pacing) and really ran with them. She is now becoming quite adept at using Animoto to deliver motivating “trailers” to introduce new topics of study for her biology classes.
One of the things I respect Stacy for the most -is not only being willing to immerse herself in the latest technology- but for taking the professional “second look” at any of these technologies for their real educational value at the classroom level. I think her blog is a really good example of how one does this. If you see what I see throughout her archives, you will notice time and time again a willingness to experiment, reflect and evaluate.
Several of us in our spontaneous little web community, including Erin, have been experimenting with this sparkly video tool since its debut. Like most people, we all fell in love with the cinema quality of the transitions, its ability to match action to the music you select, and the overall ease of use. This post of mine from last June was all about the tool itself. That was pretty much prior to any attempts at classroom use. To be honest, most of us quickly gave up on Animoto as an “instructional” tool. That is, until we all pretty much seemed to spontaneously remember that there is a ton of value in grounding our course concepts in relevance.
I think this follows a natural progression with the adoption of any shiny new technology. The early adopters among us seem to dive in, feel out the parameters, see what it can do, and then spread the news quickly. The next step then seems to be true evaluation on the front lines The MLK day trailer above is a perfect example of a multidisciplinary look at one topic in biology. If this video doesn’t make a brief case for the relevance of the study of genetics, then I’m not sure what does. The biology of race is not one often examined in biology classes and I applaud the energy Miss Baker is putting behind this issue.
If you have read much of this blog you also know I am a huge proponent of front-loading any conceptual heavy-lifting with tons of attempts to engage and motivate. It seems as if I am coming onboard with Animoto being another good tool to “hook” student interest. From my first attempt at Animoto:
…until recently, I saw Animoto as a really slick little marketing tool for education. The fast-paced and pretty videos work really well to show off something that has already happened. With a few new features, and a switch in thought from marketing to motivation, I am now seeing Animoto in a very positive light for classroom use. Actually- my wife, Erin just beat me to a post on this topic. What is this- competition? Wow. In fact, notice the title of her blog. Perhaps this is what happens when firstborns marry. But yeah- please feel free to welcome her into the blogosphere with some feedback as this is her first post on an individual blog. Also be sure to check out her video there introducing “mollusks” to her zoology students!
Have you used Animoto yet? Feel free to comment with examples…