App Review
Animoto Video Maker

Slick video-slideshow tool lets kids tell stories and share them

  • Animoto's startup screen is where you create new video slideshows, find previously made ones, and access your Animoto account.

  • Video Tools is where you choose a theme, song, pictures, and video, and add text.

  • Choose from 35 themes to set the tone of your video slideshow, and preview the theme to see color scheme, mood, and slide transition styles.

  • Add text (90 characters max) to help tell your story with a heading and subheading.

  • An example of a transition between two photos.

Quick Take
Pros: Impressive multimedia presentations are a no-fail way to teach kids the building blocks of storytelling.
Cons: You might have to be on alert for students sharing their presentations publicly through social media sites.
Bottom Line: Anything that happens during school can be turned into an engaging video slideshow.
Learning Scores
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Teens will enjoy using their device or web-based account to collate photos and video clips into customized video slideshows. The app's interface is well designed, straightforward, and engaging.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Unique video slideshows are easy to make with Animoto. Kids organize and stylize their experiences, then geek out on their finished presentations and share them via social media.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

There's an obvious starting point, and users walk through steps to create new video slideshows, so it's OK that there's no in-app tutorial. Helpful FAQs are in the settings and on the Animoto website. 

Our Review
What's It Like?

The world of digital storytelling gets cracked open with Animoto Video Maker. This tool lets kids 13 and older combine pictures, video, music, and text to make video slideshows on a mobile device. It connects to an auto-generated Animoto web account so teens can create, share, and access videos on a computer, too.

To get started, kids tap Create and choose a theme to determine the look of their slideshow. They can add a song from either their own or Animoto's music library, and add video clips and text. An in-app camera lets them capture images, or they can import from their device's gallery. Then, everything gets auto-compiled into a 30-second, slideshow-like presentation. With a paid upgrade, or a free educator's upgrade (email address required), you can make slideshows of unlimited length -- if you dare. Animoto stores all the videos teens create within the app and in their accounts on the Animoto website. All videos are available at the Video tab. And it's easy to share videos, which is one of the prime things kids will be looking for. They can email their slideshows, send them as a text message, post to a blog or website, export to YouTube, or download to a computer. They can also tag friends and share on Facebook or post on Twitter. Finally, kids can download their slideshows to their device's camera roll.

Is It Good For Learning?

Animoto excels in its simplicity and impressive final product. It uses "Cinematic Artificial Intelligence" to analyze music, photos, and video clips to produce customized and orchestrated transitions. If students get lost, helpful editing tools show them how to spotlight, rotate, duplicate, or delete images. The text tool lets them add relevant messages, statistics, and captions to entertain and educate their audience -- which is, of course, you and their friends.

How Can Teachers Use It?

Any school experience -- including class assignments, field trips, science experiments, school plays, and more -- can find new life in a skillful and engaging way with Animoto. Students can easily share their pretty projects, too. All Animoto videos default to private and are only public if kids opt to share a video's URL. Still, you'll have to keep an eye on things, as sharing through a variety of social media or through email and SMS is very easy to do with both the Animoto app and on the website. Location Services also defaults to on, but this can be turned off manually in the device's privacy settings.

This review of Animoto Video Maker was written by

Related Products