Last year I had my students create digital stories using GoAnimate, a site for making animated movies. I have recently been reflecting on whether or not to do the project with this year’s students. Here are some of my thoughts:
What I liked about using GoAnimate:
- Students worked collaboratively.
- They became much more adept at using digital tools in general and solving problems that came up.
- There was a lot of enthusiasm for the project.
- Students realized how much work goes into a short video.
- They learned the importance of starting with a strong story that included several elements, such as a central theme and specific details.
Some concerns about doing this project again:
- It can take a lot of time do have students create high-quality products.
- Not every student was enthusiastic. Some became frustrated and did not enjoy the experience.
- The narratives students told were okay, but not great. Some groups got caught up in the fun of using GoAnimate tools and did not put enough emphasis on the story elements.
I have decided to give it another try. The concerns I have can all be dealt with. For example, I will have students write a short narrative this year before moving on to creating a storyboard. This will help them to strengthen their stories and focus on the unit goals of using story elements. I have also decided that the benefits of having students collaborate and create online are worth the extra time it might take. It might not be tested on our Common Core assessments, but the experience will definitely prepare them for the real world. I have also realized that no matter how I teach this unit, the quality of work and interest will vary from student to student. I will build in more choices this year to try to engage every student.
Last year I created several documents for this unit, including a planning sheet and rubric. I will be looking at these to see what revisions need to be made. Below are these documents and here is a link to the student page
for this project. Here are sample videos
that students create last year.