I had wanted to title this Kangaroo Island but forgot, so here is my Animoto creation, Untitled Project
Try our video maker at Animoto.
Animoto automatically makes videos around a chosen theme, imported pictures, and text. Free videos are limited to thirty seconds, four plus of which are taken up with the Animoto advertising at the end. Longer videos are available if you purchase a subscription. I would assume that the final ad would be much smaller, or non-existent, on the longer videos. However, I haven't subscribed so I can't say, but it makes sense to me.
I wish there was a theme preview I could see when I am choosing my theme. They were all static thumbnail images and I had to chose one without knowing how it would display, and transition between, my pictures.
All that being said, Animoto is easy and fun. I especially liked the suggestions given in class as to how it could be used: Mini-stories, Phys-Ed skill demonstrations, even Christmas cards! I think Animoto would be very effective as a summarizing tool. Say a student read War & Peace (it was the personal choice reading assignment...) and they could do the book review, but really that could be the length of a normal novel. Here comes Animoto! The challenge is to summarize the novel in pictures, in 30 seconds. This forces students to pick out important information and interact with the text in a new way. I use an English example because I'm familiar with English, but I believe it can be an interdisciplinary tool.
On a side note, here is the shortest review of War & Peace I could find in ten minutes of searching that also was thematically relevant to this post. It's almost two minutes and doesn't actually say anything about the book, aside from it being very long.