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Animoto allows students to practice writing and vocabulary by writing digital stories that display as videos.
Animoto provides a free way to make visually stunning videos using images, video, and text.  Once you have a free account, you can make 30 second videos using text, images, and/or video.  The process is simple, simply upload any pictures or videos, add any text you would like, arrange the clips, and then choose the music from their large selection.  The videos look very professional and are a great way to give students practice using language to create digital stories.  Recently Animoto began offering free upgrades for educators to their Plus account.  In addition each educator with a plus account is given a code that can be used to create up to 50 student accounts.


Digital Story - Students Given Images
In this assignment students are provided a selection of several images.  They are asked to select only five to use in order to tell a digital story.

Once the student selects the images, they create  a digital story with text for each image they have selected.  The story must be told in the target language. 

In this case, the students were learning words related to shopping at the supermarket.  In this way, students were able to practice both writing and vocabulary in order to create an attractive digital story.

If you would like to try it, the pictures are below, and all of them are licensed for re-use.  You will need to download each one, or download the zipped file containing all of the images to your computer.  To try, you will need to go to and create your free account.  Directions can be found below.


Pics for Animoto Project in Zipped File

How is Animoto Useful?

Animoto allows students to create high quality videos quickly that they can be proud of.  It provides students practice in telling stories and using relevant vocabulary.  Assignments can be structured in a variety of ways:
  • Students create the video from a set of preselected images to practice vocabulary and create a short story
  • Students create a video from images they find to tell a story in a particular verb tense
  • The instructor creates a video without text, and asks students to explain what they see or describe what story the images show
  • The instructor creates a video with text that uses new vocabulary.  Students are asked to determine the meaning of the new terms from the context clues. 
  • Students can practice directions, by writing how to walk from one place to another and include pictures to illustrate the way
There are infinite assignment possibilities that will allow students to practice verb tenses, vocabulary, sentence structure, and more.

Ideas for using Animoto

Getting Started with Animoto

Creating an Account

You will need an account in order to create videos at Animoto.

1.  Go to
2.  Click "Sign Up" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

3.  Choose the type of account.  The basic, free version will allow you to create videos up to 30 seconds long and should be all that you need.  To choose the basic account, click "Try it now" in the Basic column.

4.  Complete the required information.  Once you have done this, you will have an Animoto account.

Creating Your First Video

Once you have your new account, you will be prompted to create your first video.  Here's what you do:

1.  When you create your account, you will be directed to a screen like the one below.  To create a new video, either click "Create Video" in the upper right hand corner or click "Create One" in the center of the screen.

2.  The next step is to choose a style for the video.  There are a number of style options that are available with the free version.  However, any that are labeled "Pro" will not be free.  Simply click the "Create Video" link under one of the style options to go directly to creating a video.

3.  Step 1 of creating the video is to choose pictures and video.  You can either upload pictures from your computer or use some of the pictures that Animoto already has available or are from another site.  Click the option that you would like to use and follow the instructions.  Note:  The benefit of using Animoto images is that they are already licensed for use.  You will not have to worry about copyright.  However, there are a number of images on the web licensed for re-use.  They can be found at Flickr Creative Commons Search or Creative Commons Search.

4.  Once you have selected your images they will appear across the top of the work area.  You can reorder the images by dragging them around in the workspace.

5.  At the bottom of the work area are tools that allow you to edit your movie. 
You can use the tools to add text, duplicate images, and more.  The "Spotlight" option makes any image or video appear more prominently in your video.

4.  When adding text, this menu will appear to the right of the work area.  There is a character limit for each line of text, so you may have to use several titles to communicate a thought.

5.  Once you have created the visual part of your movie (images, video, and text) and have arranged these items in the correct order, you are ready to select the music for your video.  To move to the next step, click "Done" in the tools at the bottom of the workspace.

6.  This will take you to the next set of options.  You can either choose one of the music choices from Animoto's collection or upload your own.  The benefit of using Animoto's music, is that they are already licensed for use.  You won't have to worry about violating copyright.

7.  If you choose to use the music that Animoto provides, you will first need to click on the genre that you would like to use.

8.  Then you will want to "Play" a selection in order to preview what it will sound like.  Once you have found the music you would like to choose, click the "select" circle for that option.  You will automatically be taken to the last step - "finalize."

9.  In the finalize step, you can customize the pacing of the video or change the video style, if you would like.  Otherwise, simply click "continue."

10.  The very last step in creating a video is to give it a title and description and choose a thumbnail picture for it's display.  Once you have done that, click "create video."  At this point, you will simply need to wait for a minute or two while the video renders.  Animoto will email you when your video is ready as well.

Heidi Beezley,
Sep 25, 2010, 11:18 AM