Animoto Video (Country Blues)

This was a lot of fun! Click here to see my blues video.

This video is a brief introduction to some of the major musical figures of the Country Blues. My initial conception was to do a biography of Robert Johnson, but  format does not allow for large amounts of written information, and I found this a real challenge so  I switched my subject to a general introduction to the Country Blues. I tried to capture the “feel” of the blues with the images I selected. Some were originally color pictures but I switched them to B&W to both unify the final project and to made the video seem older and grittier.

The format was fun to work with but it is hard to see it facilitating deep learning. I can definitely see something like this as a good “teaser” though, especially in educational environments where students have some choice in the subjects they will research.  A short animoto video could introduce them to the topic or research question and based upon the video they could select the project they would like to undertake.

Category: W5: Animoto
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6 Responses
  1. sdouglass says:

    Very nicely done, and a good use of this little program.

  2. cjames says:

    You really don’t see this facilitating deep learning? Did you read this week’s assignments yet? With which contentions of the authors do you take issue? After reading the selections, I’m convinced that it enabled both learning and the refinement of writing skills.

    Based on the case studies in this week’s readings, it is important to note that teachers ideally wouldn’t abandon the students who are playing around with software or a site like Animoto but instead guiding them through various junctures (brainstorming, developing themes, editing, etc.). To paraphrase the authors, DST tools like Animoto enourage research and understanding of the students’ topics and enable writing skills through a different venue. How is that not ‘deep learning’?

    The only issue I had with the readings is that they didn’t discuss enough of the challenges that students might face (like computer illiteracy, writer’s block, or general frustration). But I gathered from the tone of the writings that most of the authors were promoting DST as much as (if not more than) writing teaching guidebooks.

  3. mbergman says:

    Hi Chris – I don’t think I expressed myself particularly well in the initial posting. As a matter of clarification, I believe that the process of making digital stories (including Animato) is a great learning exercise. I also think that viewing some digital stories can be a good way of learning. My criticism about “deep learning” was directed specifically at the Animoto format from a viewer’s perspective. In thinking back to the bullying Animoto story, I was really impressed that the kids made such a slick looking video, but I didn’t really learn anything about bullying. I’m also not sure that my blues video facilitates deep learning for viewers either. The final project feels a bit like a movie trailer.

    Perhaps that doesn’t really matter. If the purpose of these projects is to facilitate learning among video makers, then it is a great tool. If the purpose of Animoto is to make videos that facilitate deep learning among viewers, then I’m a convincible skeptic.

    - Mark

  4. jhubai says:

    I agree with you Mark thta Animoto is limited and doesn’t allow too deep thinking for the viewer. It is a simple format that does seem like a movie trailer. Perhaps the creator of the Animoto piece thinks deeply about it but I think there are other DST tools that help with the deeper thought provoking DST pieces.
    I am so glad you picked this subject. I wonder if he did meet the devil? Did you ever see Oh Brother Where Art Tho? One of my favorite movies.

  5. dcook6 says:

    I had a very similar experience to yours. I found making a movie to be both fun and addicting. However, I also found the restricted character limit to be extremely challenging. As you stated, it’s hard to present any deep learning (using animoto) when you are limited to 30 characters, spaces included. However, unlike you, I foolishly refused to switch my topic and strong-armed it into a barely educational two minute movie. I think your use of B&W was a great idea, and achieved the unification you were striving for. I think Animoto would be a great tool for young or technically inexperienced students to use as part of a class project. It exposes them to DST, as well as quickly and successfully gives them an end product they can be proud to share.

  6. jlapple says:

    I think there are elements to deep learning involved in the process of making a digital story. The process of thinking through a story and putting all of the pieces together requires both critical and creative thinking. Perhaps if the topic were more content-driven, and you added research to the equation then perhaps it might be more intellectually driven. I found it challenging to focus my thoughts in a short time frame and to focus on what was most important for the viewer.

    I though this was a great video, Mark. It works well as a learning tool in the classroom.