At the UMD faculty workshop, one of the participants had an idea for using an Animoto video.  She suggested it might be a good way to break up a long lecture time.  This got me thinking about short lessons (like the CommonCraft videos).  Just because the video is short, it doesn’t mean it’s not effective.

I thought I would try out a short video of my own using Animoto.  This one is called “What is function notation?”  If the video doesn’t load for you, go directly to the site here or see the YouTube rendition here.  Either video can be embedded if you’d like to use them in a course shell.

You might be interested in the process I used to build this.  For Animoto, you need a file folder with image files.  First, I created a deck of 75 PowerPoint slides (those being relatively easy to edit).  Then I printed from PowerPoint to SnagIt (because of a special SnagIt save option). Then I saved the SnagIt file as jpg files, where each slide is saved as an individual image file. This gave me a folder of all the slides, but with each slide saved as an image.

I then uploaded the 75 images into Animoto and made sure they were in the proper order (for some reason the last slide fell first and had to be moved back to the last position). You choose the slides you want to “focus” on – places where the reader may need an extra second to think or read. Choose some music (preferably without words), and finally, choose the speed. I tried it at regular speed first (no way), but settled on 1/2 speed as a good speed to show the slides.

I don’t have any student guinea pigs at the moment, so someone play it for your students and let me know what they think! I was toying with the idea of explaining a theorem next.