Digital Storytelling with Animoto: My Teachmeet Presentation

This past Friday I delivered my first virtual presentation via Skype at Teechmeet Nashville 2010. My presentation was about digital storytelling using Animoto. Here are the resources if you are interested in using the project or adapting it for your class.

Here is the project and the rubric. – the students don’t create the story per se, instead they make judgements about what they have read by choosing media that reflect their interpretation. The most important part of the project is for the students to explain these judgements.

Here are two examples of the finished project. Students were required to present the project and explain the choices they made.

This is one that a student made after reading The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

This is one that a student made after reading The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.

I thought that the presentation went alright, I was a little nervous about it because it was my first virtual presentation and I was never really sure how the audience was responding. But I think it went over well and I heard someone mention Animoto during Steven Anderson’s speech so someone thought it was useful. I really think I have witnessed the future of professional development with Teachmeet. Everyone was there because they wanted to be there, neither the presenters, nor the participants got any money. It was clear that everyone that was there was willing and eager to learn something. I was completely inspired.

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12 thoughts on “Digital Storytelling with Animoto: My Teachmeet Presentation

  1. Michael Kirk says:

    Thanks for pointing out to me. I was looking for something for my high school students that had robust features with a publishing aspect.

  2. ktenkely says:

    Great presentation and the finished projects were also wonderful! This could be adapted for even the lower elementary classroom. Thank you for the inspiration.
    .-= ktenkely´s last blog ..We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For =-.

  3. Powerful! Do you have a free account at Animoto?
    .-= mssanderson_ITS´s last blog ..Zamzar =-.

    • Chris says:

      Although it has expired now, I was using the Animoto for educators account which gives you all of the paid features for six months for free. This is nice be my students and I could make longer videos.

  4. Kelalford says:

    My kids love to use Animoto so much that I bought the full length video capability. We have used it for endangered species commercials, math, and Mother’s Day projects! Great tool!

  5. Ludus says:

    Animoto can be very motivational as the end product always looks pretty slick. There’s nothing new here pedagogically though. All these things can be done using old-school tech:magazine images, pictograms, acetates, scissors… Another downside to Animoto is how much it automates the process. I’ve been using Movie Maker, Premiere and iMovie for digital storytelling lately as there is so much more decision making involved in the preparation. As a language teacher, I believe the language that emerges through the production process is more likely to be internalized as it is highly contextual. Animoto is a seductive, easy-to-use tool but (like word clouds) will soon start to look gimmicky if overused.

    • Chris says:

      I agree with you in terms of tools being seductive because of their ease, but if a tool is too complicated don’t we spend more time teaching the tool than the idea? And of course Animoto offers nothing new to pedagogy, it is a slideshow maker that teachers are bending to their will as they have always done with any tool. The argument you make could be applied to any web 2.0 tool, or any tool for that matter (really what can you do with a IWB that you can’t do with a blackboard). But how was the pedagogy in the lesson? Was the rubric effective? Was there evidence of learning?

  6. Ludus says:

    I think that most young people are pretty intuitive about finding their way around most content creation tools and the language that emerges as they try things out and exchange tips is often just as valuable as any specific language that may have been targeted. Also, the end result is far more varied and personal than the restricted and generic slideshows Animoto pumps out.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think digital (as well as non-digital) storytelling can provide an excellent vehicle for all kinds of learning. Constructing a narrative is an excellent way for students to practice and develop a plethora of skills and your project, although not particularly ambitious, seems to have achieved that.
    I think you are correct that my argument might apply to web 2.0 tools in general as I believe many of them are used uncritically and with little imagination. They are obsessively and indiscriminately pimped by the EFL community on Twitter who seem to be bedazzled into technological determinism by their slick interfaces and pretty colors as they compete to be the first to discover or post about the latest word cloud or timeline app.

    • Chris says:

      Do you happen to have any examples of these ambitious projects you have created or are you content to criticize we low-minded lemmings as we mindlessly tout the perceived benefits of flawed technologies?

  7. Ludus says:

    I wasn’t pointing the finger at you, I was just generalizing about the “low-minded lemmings” I’ve encountered specifically in the EFL community, although I prefer the term “bedazzled”.

    You seem to have been offended by my comment that your project was not “particularly ambitious”. This was just my observation and not intended as a criticism. Not all projects have to be innovative or groundbreaking. Many of mine certainly aren’t.

    At the moment I’m working with my students on a virtual news studio using green screening for adding authentic backdrops of footage and images they’ve recorded as settings for their stories. I’ll be happy to share the results when we’re through, although the final product will be, in my opinion, the least interesting part of what they are doing. I’ve also done some locative and narrative driven language projects outside the classroom using GPS, voice recorders, Google maps and cameras. I’m aware that none of this will sound particularly ambitious to someone who has done lots of this kind of thing either, but I did do so some research before deciding what kind of projects to do, why, and what tools to use.

    I don’t regard web 2.0 software as “flawed” at all. As I mentioned in my previous comment, I do not take a deterministic view of technologies (or at least I try to avoid doing so). What I do find disappointing is the lack of analysis and critical thinking that surrounds their discovery, application and “touting”, especially when, as teachers, we are supposed to be the ones setting the example. Much of the “show and tell” I see on Twitter and elsewhere seems to be more about reputation building and gathering followers.

    Glad to see you’ve tweeted this discussion. Would be great if others chipped in, especially if they disagree with me.

  8. […] 23. EdTechSwami – On this site, blogger Christopher Rogers discusses various technology topics and tools, and sometimes he even rants about the flaws of the public education system.  ”There are a couple of things that I hope teachers can learn from my blog,” said Rogers. “The first comes in the form of practical tutorials that help with tech things I have learned. These are things like blogging or setting up webpages or using online tools. The second comes in the form of rants, advice, and opinions about our profession…[I point] out flaws that I see within the public educational system and presenting possible solutions to those problems, sometimes I feel those solutions can be technology based but most times they have to do with people and systems.” Recommended posts: “Projects Roundup: Create A Social Network For Your Class Using Buddypress” and “Digital Storytelling with Animoto: My Teachmeet Presentation.” […]

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