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Supporting inquiry-based learning using Animoto

Tags: English | Multimedia – graphics/animation | Multimedia – video | Presentation | Middle primary | Primary | Upper primary |

Students from Bayswater School created a video slideshow chronicling events in a school-wide inquiry using Animoto.

“Our school regularly reviews the way technology is embedded in effective learning and teaching.”
eLPF 2014

School-wide inquiry

Students at Bayswater School were involved in a whole school inquiry project called The Ridge. The focus of the inquiry was on the design and build of a walkway and an outdoor classroom on the school grounds.

Choosing the tool

The school wanted to describe the project in an appealing way to visitors and guests, and display the project on their website and in the school foyer. Animoto software was selected to create video slideshows of the sequence of events. Animoto is simple to use, has visual appeal, and students can use their own images and sound files.

Teaching and learning

Writing the main points

The students were organised into groups and asked to write a script for their video slide show. Their brief was to describe and illustrate the main points of The Ridge project succinctly and dynamically using no more than 10 slides of text.

Adding text slides

Animoto limits text on slides to two lines of 22 and 30 characters respectively, so every single character on the text slides had to be meaningful.

Adding images

The students had recorded progress on The Ridge throughout the year with photos, videos, and their own illustrations. Prior to this activity:

  • All images were scanned and put into folders allowing students to access them for use in their Animoto slides.
  • Permission to use all the images was received before they were made available to students.
  • Some of the photos were resized before they were used.

Adding video clips

Some of the more ambitious students added video clips that they had previously created and saved in their local computer.

Adding sound

The class composed and recorded a song which they then saved as an MP3 file.

As a previous extension activity, a group of students had composed a soundtrack that evoked a kererū and some of its typical behaviours. This was also saved as an MP3 file. Students could use either of these tracks as their accompanying music, or download something from the Animoto sound library.

The finished video

The students found that saving the final video (rendering) could take a long time, particularly if there were a lot of images. They discovered that they could shut down the computer and go back later to see the fully rendered Animoto video. Animoto also sends an email when the video is complete.


The teacher liked the idea of students recording and adding a narration against a music background, focusing on informative writing rather than a summary, and introducing an oral language aspect to the work.