It was almost eleven years ago that I discovered Animoto during my lunch break between two ninth-grade world geography classes. That day I tried Animoto while eating lunch and decided to have my next class make some short videos with it. In less than 30 minutes all of my students had made videos based on the reports they had written about the countries in Asia they had been studying. They were quick, they were pretty, they weren’t terribly meaningful.

What I didn’t realize eleven years ago when my students used Animoto then that I do know now is making a video isn’t about slapping together a string of images and some music. Making a video is about planning a progression of visuals and using audio to tell a story. This is true whether the video is thirty seconds long or three hours long.

To move my students’ Animoto videos from “cute, little summary videos” to something more meaningful I had to start having them plan their videos to tell a story or to make a point. To plan the videos I had students start writing simple outlines in which they stated the purpose of their videos, the images that they were going to use, and the tone of the music that they wanted to use in their videos. Once my students started to do this their videos started to have more purpose than just making a summary of events or concepts.

Animoto is not the only company to offer an easy way to combine pictures, text, and audio to make a video. There are plenty of others that do the same thing. Sharalike is one such service that I’ve featured in the past. Regardless of the video creation tool that you have students, having them create an outline will go a long way toward improving their videos. Here’s a simple planning guide that you can use with your students.



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