Creating an animated video can be a great extension to many writing projects. Students can use video creation tools to animate short stories that they have written, to animate an explanation of a science concept, or to make an animated video about a historical event.
It used to be that creating an animated movie required a lot of drawing skills and a lot of video production skills. That is no longer the case. Today, there are plenty of apps and websites that teachers and students can use for free to produce animated videos. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite options for making animated videos.
PuppetMaster is a free iPad app that kids can use to create animated movies. The app is designed for elementary school students and therefore doesn’t require students to create accounts in order to use it. All movies made with the PuppetMaster app are saved to the camera roll on a student’s iPad.
To create an animated movie with PuppetMaster students simply open the app, select a character, and the select a background scene for their movies. PuppetMaster has pre-made characters and background scenes. Students can also add their own background scenes by taking a picture to use as the background. Students can record themselves talking or singing in the background of their movies in order to tell their stories. Or in the case of one video that I made with PuppetMaster, you can record a baby crying in your video.
PowToon is one of the originals and one of the best-known tools for producing animated videos without the need to draw your scenes by hand. In PowToon students create animated videos on a scene-by-scene basis through a series of slides. Students can choose background scenes, characters, and scene objects from a huge media gallery. After configuring the scenes of their stories, students can record voiceovers or play music in the background.
Animaker Edify is a service that is similar to PowToon in that students can create animated videos by dragging and dropping characters onto slides where they then add movements and speech to the characters. What’s notable about Animaker Edify is that even the free plan gives teachers the ability to create and manage their students’ accounts. Animaker Edify also gives teachers a dashboard from which they can give assignments to students and view their students’ work.
Toontastic 3D a free app for use on Android and iOS devices. It also possible to use it on Chromebooks that support the use of Android apps. Check this list to see if your Chromebook supports the use of Android apps.
On Toontastic 3D students can pick from a variety of story setting templates or they can create their own. Once they have established a background setting students then select cartoon characters to use in their stories. Students can choose from a wide array of customizable cartoon characters or they can create their own from scratch.
Once characters are placed into the story scenes students can begin recording themselves talking while moving the characters around in each scene. Students can swap characters between scenes, change the appearance of characters between scenes, and move characters from one scene to the next.