I hate to admit this but sometimes I would almost nod off when students would present their projects. It was not the student's fault for having what seemed like the one billionth PowerPoint on some country in the world or a Civil War event. Face it, Power Points get dull after awhile. At the 2006 South Carolina EdTech Conference David Warlick closed his keynote address with a simple video done by a high school that was captivating. What made this video so captivating was it effectively used both pictures and music to help convey the message while holding the audiences' attention.
While the video David Warlick showed may have looked simple it may have taken many hours to produce given existing software a couple of years ago. Now similar videos can be created through an online application called Animoto. Just select the digital pictures you wish to use, about 12-20 for a 30 second video, add some music you can import or use music provided by Animoto, and the application will do the rest. Videos can be e-mailed or posted online to blogs or social networking sites.
30 second clips are free but longer videos will cost $3 each. Not a bad price considering what has been spent on supplies for more conventional projects. If you find yourself creating more than 10 videos per year then there is a $30 option that allows you to create unlimited videos per year. Students can now put together picture essays with the right music that no one could ever sleep through.