I like Animoto. It's easy to set up an all-access educator account and then create some engaging items for your classroom.
My last week with Animoto was really pretty good. I used it to make "senior salutes" for the students who stuck with us through 12th grade (Latin V) and began with us in the 6th grade. That's a lot of classroom hours to get to know them, not to mention still like them!
The only tricky thing was downloading the Animoto video, which is an Mp4, into a format that would go with the rest of our hour-long presentation during which four teachers distribute 200 Latin awards.
It needed to be smooth and foolproof, no using two programs clicking back and forth, that was NOT going to work. We switch off who is speaking/presenting, distributing the awards, taking pictures, and keeping the show moving, so it's a tightly mapped hour.
Here are we four, imagine us dancing around each other with awards and ushering groups of children in and out of pictures to the applause of parents and grandparents.
It has to go well.
Here's how I solved the problem:
1. Download and save Animoto to hard drive.
2. Try 8 different programs and formats over three days to get it into a format that will play in ppt. Fail.
3. Eat potato chips and think how the crunchy sound is not unappealing.
4. Upload Animoto videos to private status in YouTube and then watch as it still doesn't work when I try to convert it back because, well, they're private.
5. Upload Animoto videos publicly then use atube catcher to convert them to video files that DO WORK!
6. Delete videos from YouTube.
7. Test-view presentation 5 times the day of event, save it to thumb drive and a copy on school server. OCD much? (Don't even ask me about my cohort who created the color-coded filing system for the awards that was cross indexed by the students names and likelihood of where they would be sitting in the event-if I think they're in the back, it will take them longer to get to the dais, so I can put their award further back in the stack.
8. An hour before event, test sound and all connections in event space. In our case, High School with a movie-sized projection screen and my sweet little tablet giving the input.
9. Enjoy presentation with no glitches. Wow. What you thought something was going to go wrong? Nope. All is well in IH Latin-land.
10. Receive thank-you notes next day from parents for keeping things moving and keeping everyone involved!
Until next year. . . .