Thursday, April 30, 2009

Animoto in the Special Education Classroom

For the last two weeks I've been promising to post a link to the Animoto videos that my special education students recently made. You can view the videos here. I was going to just post the link on Twitter, but on Twitter I cannot share the full story of using Animoto with my special education students.

My students enjoyed making these videos so much that they are now begging me everyday to make more. They will be making more videos shortly about the Roaring 20's. When they make their next set of videos they will learn to include text in their next videos.

The class that made these videos is comprised of sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years old students that have been in special education all of their lives, most of them have been mainstreamed off and on during their school careers. These students are not mentally retarded and most of them will go to work in the food service and construction industries after high school. The state requires that all students successfully complete one year of US History to graduate from high school which is where I come in. I am not a special education teacher, but a special education teacher works with me in the classroom.

The idea to have my students make these videos came to me about a month ago when I was starting to think about creating a summative project for the last marking period of the year (the one we're in now). I knew that I wanted to have the students create a portfolio type of project that they would work on throughout the marking period. What I came up with was the idea to have students create a series of Animoto videos about different topics as we progress through our study of the 20th century. So for the rest of the marking period, every time we complete our study of an era or decade the students will create an Animoto video about that topic. To get students familiar with using Animoto we started out by making short videos about three Presidents (Wilson, T. Roosevelt, and Taft). These videos are basic Animoto shorts without text. The next videos which will about the Roaring 20's will have text. Hopefully, the excitement that my students have right now will continue and they will have a nice collection of longer videos by the end of the marking period.

A couple of my colleagues wandered into the computer lab while my students were working on these videos. Both of my colleagues were impressed by what my students were doing. In fact, these colleagues expressed surprise that "anyone can do this." I now have appointments to introduce these colleagues to Animoto. Thanks to my students' enthusiasm, my school may soon see more teachers and students creating digital content.

Here are some related blog posts that may be of interest to you:
Using Animoto (and Glogster and Wordle) to Learn
New Use for a Favorite Resource
Where I Live... Another Use for Animoto

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