In case you haven't seen the FLOOD of messages on the #sschat Twitter feed, NCSS (National Council of Social Studies) held their 2011 conference this weekend in Washington D.C. Among the many presenters were a number of the "heavy-twitters" from SSCHAT.
Ron Peck was kind enough to post a link to his presentation about Video in the Classroom. It gives a great overview of Common Craft video formats as well as Animoto. Ron also posted an amazing set of links that I spent hours pouring over. I knew nothing about either technology, so I decided to take a look.
Common Craft seems like an awesome style of video. Their bare-bones characters and 'animation' (which consists of literally dragging paper images on and off the screen) make the end product look very home-spun and simplistic, but powerful at the same time. The sample video, Electing a U.S. President (in Plain English), is a great example of Common Craft at its finest.
On the flip-side, there was also a link to a 'behind the scenes' video that shows one class' experience creating a Common Craft video. I almost passed this one by, but when I saw it was from Paul Bogush, I took note. (I'm a huge fan of Paul and his excellent blog). This video put Common Craft-ing in a different light for me. The planning, creation and execution of all those zillion little moves - all to tell a 2-3 minute story - seemed like a big hurdle for me and my students to leap.
Then, I started down the Animoto path. Now, this was something that seemed a bit more manageable for me in the classroom. Once I had an idea for what I wanted to capture (in this case, it was the recent flooding in Thailand), it turned out to be very simple. (To be honest - the hardest thing was settling on a soundtrack!)..
Anyway, after finding a few pictures and converting my moldy WMA file to MP3, this video took me all of 3 minutes to create:
I am going to ask around and get some feedback from teachers using Common Craft videos. (I'm not giving up yet!)... In the meantime, I'm going to start thinking about "Animoto-izing" a few future assessments.
Thanks for the creative shot in the arm, Ron!!