GoAnimate.com Educational Technology Tool Review

Description and Explanation of GoAnimate.com

GoAnimate.com is an innovative website that offers novice to expert users the ability to create professionally animated videos in a user friendly and intuitive interface. GoAnimate features a user workspace to create animated videos. The workspace includes theme based templates that can apply to various domains of learning, business and marketing, entertainment or for creative personal animation. The templates include a series of slides that are conveniently organized in a sequential format to produce a video. Users have the options of adjusting, deleting or replacing slides to create a tailor made animated production. Other features to enhance GoAnimate videos are a variety of characters with distinct animations that can be used to convey specific movements that correlate to video concepts. In addition, the backgrounds of the video can be adjusted, text can be incorporated, a variety of graphics are included and can be uploaded, music options are available, and it provides access to professional voiceovers. Users can preview videos easily and make adjustments as needed to create a polished finished product. Furthermore, GoAnimate is cloud based to conveniently save animated video creation consistently. Then, the video can be seamlessly uploaded to YouTube, a website or a variety of social media platforms to share. GoAnimate also provides a variety of user-friendly tutorial videos to assist with optimizing its features.

Goanimiate.com can be used in a variety of sectors. However, this review will focus on the field of educational technology and how GoAnimate can be used to create digital stories for digital aged learners. Digital storytelling is a multimodal approach to traditional storytelling. It incorporates various dynamic components of a story in the form of a video that typically includes a script, graphics, music, pictures and incorporates storytelling that can be fictional or nonfictional in a variety of educational domains. Digital storytelling can be created by an instructor to convey concepts to students, or for students to express knowledge in classroom settings.

GoAnimate can be used for digital storytelling in K-12 settings, higher education and for the training and development of adult learners. Educators can apply divergent thinking and technological pedagogical content knowledge to determine how their specific learning goals can be applied to GoAnimate. K-12 and higher education learners have a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills that are abstract and may be difficult for learners to grasp. However, GoAnimate digital storytelling can provide an instructional alternative to traditional textbooks, lectures or typical videos. Best instructional practices advocate activating background knowledge, incorporating real world scenarios, scaffolding instruction from concrete to abstract concepts, humor, technology integration, differentiation and adherence to various learning styles. GoAnimate is an ideal platform to incorporate all of these practices, which will result in learner success.

A nonfictional skill that can be explored in a K-12 setting is the evolution of airplanes. Educators can create a GoAnimate video that incorporates all of the aforementioned best instructional strategies. Background knowledge can be activated by having a character display an image of an airplane and asking students what they already know about airplanes. Real world scenarios can be incorporated by exploring the historical continuum of how the first airplanes were invented, where they were used, and include more abstract ideas such as propulsion system concepts. Animations exhibiting the evolution of airplanes in a timeline format can appeal to visual learners. In addition, the video can demonstrate an airplane’s propulsion system through virtual reality, with an engineer explaining the parts and how they interact to cause air travel. As a character guides learners through the evolution of an airplane, the digital storytelling script can incorporate music or humorous or engaging lines to capture learners’ attention. Then, students can work in groups to find other interesting facts about airplanes and incorporate these facts into their own digital stories for critical thinking and collaboration. These features will engage visual, auditory and musical learners, while optimizing a variety of best instructional practices.

STEM education has a huge initiative to teach students computer coding. Computer coding involves a complex sequence of symbols to allow software and computers to work appropriately. A GoAnimate video is an option to convey abstract coding concepts to students as well. Instructors can explain coding in a storytelling format using GoAnimate, as opposed to just explicitly displaying and explaining symbols represented in coding. Characters can build background knowledge about coding and trigger correlations of coding to mathematical number sentences. Algebraic equations with an equal sign is similar to some coding that uses an equal sign as well. Characters can demonstrate this in a comparison and contrast activity that can assist students with the analysis of coding. In addition, using the graphics features and text can highlight important or repetitive sequences in coding that are important for the foundation of coding. In addition, characters can share how coding is used in everyday software applications, which ties in real world applications.

Another activity that is popular at the beginning of the schoolyear is a getting to know me activity, in which students introduce themselves and share interesting facets of their lives. Instructors can facilitate divergent thinking by allowing students to determine the best way to convey information about themselves creatively within the GoAnimate workspace. Learners can use critical thinking skills to determine if the premade templates are sufficient for sharing their autobiographies, or deciding to develop templates from scratch by exploring the various characters, animated movements, music and graphics to create something innovative and new. In addition, students can use their creativity to create an animation that successfully exhibits their unique styles. GoAnimate can be used to create getting to know me animations that incorporate students’ favorite music, images of their friends and family, video of them engaging in their hobbies or on summer vacation, goals for the school year and sharing a writing talent such as writing poetry.

These are a few examples of how GoAnimate can be used in the field of educational technology. Educators can use this platform to get creative to find ways to make GoAnimate adhere to their curriculum and benefit their students.

GoAnimate and Implementation of ISTE Standards

The ISTE standards have a variety of themes to maximize technology integration into instructional settings. These themes include creativity, divergent and critical thinking, innovation, technological research, exploring digital literacies, speaking, writing, listening, collaboration, digital safety and understanding of how to operate educational technology tools effectively. These themes encompass all six ISTE standards for students and are all components of digital storytelling. Therefore, educators who are seeking an all-encompassing educational technology tool that adheres to the majority of the ISTE standards will be pleased to use GoAnimate to create digital stories for these purposes.

GoAnimate Critique & Suggestions

GoAnimate provides advanced animation tools to ensure that novice and expert users can have success in their video creations. The premade templates, animated characters, themes and sequential slides assist users with quickly and intuitively creating digital stories that are engaging, creative, instructional and multimodal. GoAnimate can be utilized in K-12 settings, higher education and training and development. However, educators must be savvy with divergent thinking and the application of technological pedagogical knowledge to appropriately adapt the features of GoAnimate to meet specific learning objectives and apply the best pedagogical or androgogical strategies to meet the needs of their learners. Middle school learners and above can easily navigate through the creation of a GoAnimate video via tutorials and independently.

Elementary educators can use GoAnimate with their students. However, it would require scaffolding. Therefore, elementary educators should implement direct instruction to explain each feature of the GoAnimate workspace and model creating an animated video based on the particular skill that students are assigned. Then, students can work collaboratively to create their own GoAnimate stories. GoAnimate can make the interface more user-friendly for K-5 learners by creating templates that appeal to elementary students, such as adding more funny cartoons that are geared towards children, templates that show stories at fun amusement parks or children playing. In addition, templates geared towards exploring science museums, or virtual reality templates that allow students to explore STEM concepts such as a chemistry lab would be awesome additions to GoAnimate. Also, historical templates that feature the sights and sounds of important monumental events in history can be helpful for students to create expository digital stories.

Adult training and development templates designed to explain compliance regulations, introductory videos for companies’ missions and visions, how to use work tools, and real world work scenarios resolution are among templates that can encourage GoAnimate usage in instructional design and training digital storytelling. These enhancements can allow GoAnimate to be leveraged in a broader array of instructional settings.