Videoscribe review – a whiteboard animation and presentation tool

When our Coetail face-to-face session spent a day discussing digital storytelling, I was already familiar with the topic. A year ago I attended a workshop with digital storytelling expert Jason Ohler, and my third grade students have created several fiction and non-fiction digital stories. When we had the afternoon to experiment with movie-making tools, I decided to find something new.

I was curious about white board animations–videos where you see a hand drawing pictures and text on a background while a voice narrates the presentation. A famous education video based on a Ken Robinson speech used this technique:

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After chatting during break with Coetail colleagues, I learned of an ipad app that allows you to create simple yet similar videos. The app is called Videoscribe and was created by the company Sparkol.

videoscribe

There is a paid version of computer software (with a free 7 day trial) as well as an ipad and android app. I paid $4.99 for the app, but at the time of this writing, it looks like it’s free (with plenty of opportunities for in-app purchases).

After downloading the app I started experimenting right away. My first idea was to use it to publish the results of a big experiment that my students conducted on heart rate and exercise. This is how far I got:

 

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I didn’t bother adding music (lots of tracks available) or a voiceover yet. While it looks cool, I’m not sure if it’s worth the time invested. With technology in education, I am primarily concerned with tools that will allow my students to communicate, create, and express themselves, and after making this short video, I think videoscribe may be too much for third graders. Teachers of older students may want to look into it, and at the very least you could use it to add introductions or credits to other movies created by students (which is what Philip‘s student did for her around the world in 40 hellos project).

I may change my mind in the future, but at this time, videoscribe seems to be a little too complicated to be an effective communication tool for young learners. I am interested to hear if other teachers have tried it with their students.

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3 Responses to Videoscribe review – a whiteboard animation and presentation tool

  1. Jana Poukka says:

    I remember you showing me videoscribe that day in class. Very cool tool indeed! I wanted to have a great idea to use videoscribe, but I couldn’t come up with anything. Your idea was a great one: the scientific method. I want to steal it!
    As for coming to the understanding that videoscribe may not be the right fit for your classroom, I struggled with the same thing when I was designing my Course 3 project as well. I wanted the kids to create an infographic of their reading data, but I found the tools available to be too much for 3rd graders. This is a great example that goes back to lessons learned in Course 1. As teachers, we always need to see the balance tool and wanted outcome. Are we using the tool because it is cool or are we using it because it would help and support the learning outcomes? Great post Jeff!

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  2. I have older students and I wouldn’t mind having a closer look at that tool. The effect is really cool looking. How long did it take you to make that short video?

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  3. Pingback: Videoscribe: The educational videos your classroom needs – Mark Miller

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