Monday, January 30, 2012


GoAnimate is a site where teachers, students, and others can create quick animated videos. Here is an example of a 45-second animation focused on teens. Check out the site GoAnimate, and take some time to view other animations. Let us know what you see as the potential for this site in the school setting. School News for Teens! FREE TV Show Opening! by null

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Animoto: Quick Way to Create Video from Images

What is Animoto and What Does It Do?

Animoto is a popular Web 2.0 tool for making movies from collected images. These images can be photos or pictures located online. The images are collected and then uploaded into Animoto. Once uploaded, the series of images can be rearranged and specific ones can be deleted.

Music from the site can be selected to play in the background. In addition, depending upon the final template chosen to create the movie, text can be added. However, text can be added in only a limited way, and with some templates, text can only be added at the beginning or end of the show.

Once your presentation is completed and saved, Animoto will create a "mix," automatically making the movie for you. An email will let you know when the mix is completed. You will click on the link and be able to view your new "movie."

Within your Animoto account, you can store the movies you create and access them from there. You can also embed your Animoto "movie" into your blog, which is a good idea, as you will have easy access to it and others can write comments in your blog about your movie.

Animoto: Big Buddies with Kindergarteners

Here is an example of an Animoto created by a kindergarten teacher featuring activities in her classroom based on a Big Buddies project. The project used photographs that were uploaded to Animoto. Music was then selected. The final "mix" is the video: To learn more about the project, after viewing the video, click on the link to the teacher's blog.

 I found this example on kindergarten teacher Marie Knee's blog The KinderKids' Blog 

Animoto to Capture Scenery or For Geography Lesson

Here's one of the first Animoto displays I created. The photos are from a trip I took to Costa Rico. I used Animoto as a fast way to show others photos from the trip. Given the incredible geography of the country, I also realized this kind of movie could be integrated into a geography study of countries in Central America, or even a science lesson on flora or fauna. Did you know the national flower of Costa Rico is the orchid, which grows in the wild? Did you know that Costa Rico has more species of birds than the US and Canada combined though the country is no larger than the state of West Virginia? Did you know Costa Rico has no military? The government instead uses its funds for protection of the environment and to promote ecotourism. Did you know that the typography of Costa Rico is largely shaped by volcanoes, which are still active today?

As you view this Animoto, you will see I still need to edit it to remove some of the photos. That is easy to do: I just need to go back into my Animoto account, open the video, edit it, and then save it for another "mix."

Animoto to Teach an Elementary School Math Lesson on Geometry

Recently, I learned of an Animoto a 1st-2nd grade teacher created with her students to reinforce what they were learning about geometric shapes. Aviva Dunster, the teacher, offered this information on her class blog:

"This afternoon, we went on a Shape Hunt around the school. Students had to find and photograph different shapes. Here’s a short Animoto slideshow with some of the photographs. What shapes do you see in these photographs? What are some of the properties of these shapes? What other objects do you know that are the same shapes?"

Here's the Animoto the class created. 

Animoto to Teach Social Studies: Commercials of Historic Figures

Here is a link to find a series of Social Studies "Commercials" on Historic Figures that students created for a class project. You'll find 8 examples using the link.

I embedded one to tempt you use the link, to see more. Notice how the teacher conveniently created a table of contents to find the examples: Social Studies "Commercials" on Historic Figures

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

Animoto to Teach Social Studies Lesson in 1st Grade Classroom

On her Education 584 blog, Roseanne Field has created a blog posting that includes several Animoto Videos her students created to complement the social studies curriculum. Check her blog posting. There you will also see one that two children created for their mother in celebration of her birthday.

Now that you have seen a bunch of Animoto videos, surely you have ideas for using Animoto in the classroom or for other professional needs. Share those ideas with us, posting a comment. What are some ideas you have for using Animoto in the classroom, for professional purposes, or personal enjoyment? What is the next Animoto you plan to create? Discuss your ideas for using Animoto in the comment section.

Before signing up for your own Animoto account, be sure to use the code you have for creating a free account, which is good for approximately six months.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


VoiceThread is still one of my favorite web tools. You upload slides to it, and viewers can add written and audio comments, and even draw on the slides. VoiceThread is an excellent way to create digital stories. For a preview of the possibilities, check the VoiceThread digital library. In the library, you will find a good number of VoiceThreads to use. Try out some of them.

Here's a sample of one of the first VoiceThreads I found a few years ago. It demonstrates how the tool can be integrated into the elementary school classroom to complement an existing unit on the study of story writing. But it also shows how the technology can be used to create learning experience that otherwise would not be readily possible. I hope you enjoy the VoiceThread. There are plenty more to explore through the Voice Thread digital library.

Now that you have seen one example of a VoiceThread used with students, here is a VoiceThread that explains how the tool works:

 Here's a video to learn more about VoiceThread:

Michael Fort on VoiceThread from VoiceThread on Vimeo.

Also, check this blog post about using VoiceThread in the early childhood education. There are several embedded VoiceThreads right in the blog.

After learning more about VoiceThread, post your ideas about using it in the classroom. If you have seen some good VoiceThreads, please leave links to access them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Excellent Wiki to Find Information on Digital Storytelling

The wiki, 50+ Web 2.0 Ways Tell a Story is an excellent place to learn about storytelling: 1) the purpose, 2) process, and 3) tools. Spend some time exploring the site.

Below is a video from the site that reviews the concept of digital storytelling.

Once you have watched the video and explored around the wiki website, be sure to return to this blog post and comment upon what you discovered and can share with others. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's a Wiki? What's a Blog? What's Google Doc?

Okay, you'll hear a lot about all three of these--wikis, blogs, and Google docs--throughout this course, EDUC 584. Here are some videos to help you understand more about each of these wonderful collaborative, multi-media tools.

What's A Wiki in Simple English?

Did this video give you a good sense of what is wiki is?

Now, take a look at this video about What's a Blog in Plain English:

Okay, now you know more about wikis and blogs, and you now have an idea of how they differ and also overlap in specific ways.

Now, let's take a look at What's Google Docs:

Now, you have heard in plain English what's a wiki, a blog, and Google docs. Some of you already knew about all these tools, some of you probably knew about one or two, and for others, perhaps all three were new to you.

Overall, did you find these videos helpful? More videos about each of these tools and how to use them will be added to the Instructional Technology blog, so be sure to keep checking. In the meantime, what more do you want to know about any one of these tools? How can you see these tools being used in educational settings?

If you have used any of these tools, let us know how? If you already have a blog, with what blogging tool did you create it? For instance, did you use Blogger, EduBlog, WordPress, Tumblr, or one of other blogging platforms available? Have you used a wiki tool like Wikispaces? Have you experimented or made regular use of Google Docs? If you are using any of these authoring tools, let us know how easy and effective you find what you've used or are now using.