I’m always on the lookout for easy-to-use, Web-based applications that allow my students to create things. Whether they’re recording podcasts, making videos, or creating scrapbooks, I want my students to author content related to our classroom topics and develop something new to share online. Over the last decade, the Internet has evolved from a place where people found information into a place where almost anyone can participate and create. People often refer to this “new” Internet as Web 2.0. In the Web 1.0 world, Internet users were bombarded with static webpages created by a host of “webmasters” who possessed specialized knowledge and technology that limited access for others to participate. In the Web 2.0 world, the Internet has become more democratized, allowing almost everyone with a computer, smart phone, digital camera or audio recorder to share their work and thoughts with the world. The greatest part is that Web 2.0 technology creates tremendous educational opportunities for our classrooms and for our students. Web 2.0 brought the world wikis, blogs, YouTube and Facebook. It has brought us podcasts, vodcasts, screencasting and Skype. It has created exciting new ways for educators to educate and assess their students.
This week, I want to introduce Animoto, probably one of the easiest Web 2.0 sites available. Animoto allows users to create 30-second music videos for free. With a few clicks, a person can upload videos or photos, write text, select music and finalize their creation. There’s even a free iPhone application where users can make short Animoto videos from the images on their phone. To see how easy it is to use Animoto, be sure to check out the following tutorial.
Now, I understand that some readers may hesitate to use a site that allows students to create music videos. Take a look at a few of the videos that my students created in a digital storytelling class this summer. I think it’s clear that they’re nothing like those Justin Bieber or Jonas Brothers videos that populate television.