Saturday, December 20th, 2008...6:00 pm

Create a Trailer for Upcoming Class Topics

In my previous post I mentioned that Animoto is great for increasing student interest in topics you cover in class (but not so great for teaching them the actual content).

My students thought I was the coolest teacher ever when I showed them this Animoto trailer I created for our upcoming celebration of Darwin Day:

When they get back from break I’ll show them the trailer for my special Valentine’s Day lesson, The Biology of Love:

Yes, I know both these songs are copyrighted and I’m being a bit baaaaddd by using them, but I don’t think you’ll capture students’ attention by using songs they don’t know. It’s possible I can find some really great creative commons songs to use and I intend on looking for them. But, c’mon! I can’t think of any song cool enough to represent Darwin besides an ACDC song. Does Fair Use work here? I used more than 10% of each song. I need to research that. Does anyone know?

It doesn’t matter if I don’t publish them online I guess, but I like the idea of being able to publish them online where my students can access them later.

Anyway, for those who are wondering about each of the trailers and what I have planned for both special days, I haven’t planned out the Darwin Day presentation, yet. But, my Biology of Love lesson is on slideshare.

It’s pretty infamous. Last year it was the Slideshare of the Day for about two weeks and it’s been downloaded 952 times. I’m unabashedly proud of it. The videos I show aren’t embedded in the slideshare, but most of the presentation is shown. It’s my favorite presentation of the whole year. Can you tell?


  • 1) I know your discussion periods (I can tell you don’t “lecture.”) are amazing. I can tell this by your slides. If I find myself wondering “where is she going with this one?”… then I find that I will love the discourse in your room.

    2) I would like to see the lawsuit against a classroom teacher. Trust me- I’m not saying it cannot happen. I guess I am just belligerent about such things. Check out this post: …to me, it says… don’t freak out about your current use of media. Who would be mad about this? Really……

    I love it.
    Biology network up and coming in a day or two.


  •   jennifernabb
    January 10th, 2009 at 8:59 am    

    This is my first time visiting your blog and I have to tell you how impressive it is. The Animoto trailers that you made for your classes certainly got my interest and made me curious about what the rest of the lesson would be. I love that you included the results of the survey you gave the students about what they thought of the technology and how it impacted there learning.

    I am curious if you have had the students do any work with Animoto and what the results were. How long did it take you to create the trailers that you made? I am in the process of trying to incorporate more technology into my curriculum so I really appreciate your blog.

    Jenny Nabb

  • Hi Jenny! Thanks for the compliment. Animoto is a lot of fun. I haven’t had any students use it yet, but I have several who have expressed interest. I expect several of them to use it to complete an upcoming project.

    One of the things I failed to mention in the DNA Animoto post is that the students evaluated Animoto on the last day before holiday break so they weren’t at their sharpest. I played the video for another group of students when we returned from break and they were able to recall more information from the video.

    If you already have the pictures you want to use in the video it only takes about 15 minutes to make. After you make it, it takes Animoto about 5 minutes to process it. If you don’t like the way it looks after processing you can edit or remix it. It usually takes about 3 or 4 remixes until it looks the way I want it to, but during the processing time I work on other things. Of course, if you don’t have the pictures already it takes much longer.

    Make sure you sign up for an educator account so you can make long videos for free!

  • Here’s my first shot at using animoto. I didn’t bother to remix it or anything. I just used what came out. Usually I play a photo slideshow of everyone’s projects when we’re done but did this instead. I think it worked well for this project (rockets) because they all look pretty similar so students don’t really sit there and try to pick out their own. It’s more of a sit back, relax, and enjoy the show sort of feel.

  •   David Williams
    January 29th, 2009 at 8:14 am    

    I love this movie! I completely agree that the music makes it (it’s part of the reason I like watching it). It has inspired me to have a go with Animoto – I got frustrated with the 30second limit, but then re-read this post and noticed about the education account (D’Oh!), so am currently waiting to hear back about that. If you were doing a longer movie, I didn’t think there was such a great choice of the on the Animoto site, so the copyright issue does raise its head. But as was posted above – is a teacher doing an educational video really going to have their door kicked down by the music company lawyers?

    Found your students’ feedback interesting – I’d like to try the same thing, but feel that the movies will have more use as a trailer than a lesson in themselves.
    I’m hoping that I can catch my students’ interest using this and would love to see what they can come up with, or even if it has potential for use by them to summarise topics or principles (we’re doing Genetics at the moment, which I think lends itself to creativity).
    Thanks again for sharing the movie.

  •   David Williams
    January 29th, 2009 at 8:17 am    

    Sorry – should read, “I didn’t think there was such a great choice of music on the Animoto site, …”

  • JYB – liked your animoto! I bet your students really liked the song.

    David – Have fun! I keep using them in class and so far my students say they still enjoy them. I can see it getting old after a bit. But, now they’re all excited about making their own.

    When you sign up for an education account Animoto should send you a special link that all your students can use to get a free education account. It expires after one year.

  •   Sandi Adams
    March 23rd, 2009 at 7:09 am    

    I agree that animoto is the bomb and really catches the attention of the students (and parents) However, there have been cases where school districts doors have been kicked down by copyright attorneys…. We really do have to model proper copyright to the students. Animoto does offer limited music, or you can search through Creative Commons for music that you can credit. Our district bought a license for Soundzabound, which offers “sounds like” and original royalty free music.
    Not to be a kill joy at all, but we are the example….

  •   kevin
    July 3rd, 2009 at 8:27 pm    

    I think the music in the Darwin one was a little inappropriate for students and I would have a big time problem as a parent with taking time to celebrate ‘darwin’ but I do like Animoto as a tool.

  •   kevin
    July 3rd, 2009 at 8:31 pm    

    Excellent song for the Love presentation though – Much better than the Darwin one all around!!

  • It’s my first time to read your blog and I found it interesting. Thanks for sharing..

  • This is awesome…I have a blog as well that shows teachers how to use technology in their science class..I would love to share your article. Please let me know if this is ok