“Spark” Imagination with Adobe’s Animated Video Creator
Type of technology: Animated video creator
SAMR Model Rating: Redefinition
Grade level: All
Subject area: All
Adobe Spark is designed to give you and your students the ability to “turn your ideas into impactful…animated videos—in minutes.” It’s that last bit — “in minutes” — that makes me really excited to share this tool with educators and students. That is, in just a (truly) short amount of time, Adobe Spark allows educators and students to create a beautiful product that gives life to ideas that would normally live as words on paper. I first tried Adobe Spark last June. Since then, I’ve shown it to students and colleagues — some novice, some expert, and in between — and all of them have created something aesthetically inviting and engaging with (seemingly) zero frustration and even great enjoyment.
What does this mean for students? Students are given a platform to showcase their ideas beyond a word processing document or slideshow. They plan and organize the written components of a presentation then let their creative juices flow and personality shine by adding icons/pictures/photos, voice audio, background music, and/or text. What does this mean for teachers? Teachers have digital copies of presentations for grading and showcasing in the future as examples of student work. More importantly, teachers facilitate a project whereby students feel proud of their finished product and look forward to seeing their own work and the work of their fellow classmates on display for viewing.
Although the Adobe Spark website and iOS app also allow you to create social graphics and web stories, I have utilized the animated video creator most in my classroom, so I will speak to that today. Below you will find a lesson plan that I used as an end-of-year activity with my 7th grade English students; however, I recently hosted an iLearn session for my colleagues at Goleta Valley Junior High and asked them how they might utilize Adobe Spark in their classrooms. Here are a few of our ideas:
- History: presenting historical timelines, cause and effect of events
- Science: explaining the scientific method, showing the progress of an experiment over time
- Math: displaying the steps necessary to solve a multi-step problem
- AVID: organizing a presentation on features of a college or university
Sample Lesson Plan: “Letter to Sevvies”
Day 1: At the beginning of the school year, students received a letter of advice from a 7th grader that was in my class the year previous. In June, when this lesson took place, I reminded students about this event and, just for fun, we listened to a song called “Growing Up” where Macklemore gives fatherly advice to his unborn daughter. We had a class discussion around favorite lines and why we offer words of wisdom to those who come after us. Then students had a pair discussion thinking back to their first days of 7th grade — What did they feel? What were their hopes, fears, and expectations? Afterwards, students brainstormed around the questions that would make up their own letter to a future “sevvie” — Who am I? What is the purpose of this letter? What are some tips for surviving the first days of school? What are general tips for the entire school year? What should students do to do well in English? After brainstorming, students wrote a draft of this letter.
Day 2: I divided students into groups of four and told them that they would be combining their individual letters into a group video letter. Students read their letters out loud to their group members and took notes as to which parts they would want to keep from each letter. Then students wrote a plan to synthesize the group members’ ideas into one “script.” When students were done writing, they logged into an account I created for my class and began working on their slides.
Day 3: Some groups had finished the day before and were able to move on to working on their final writing portfolios, while other groups used a third day to put the finishing touches on their video. I shared a few videos per day until the end of the school year to showcase the students’ work.
Here are a couple of student examples (edited on YouTube for student privacy):
Just for fun, here is a video that students had the option to contribute to if they finished an assignment early before Thanksgiving break: Room 315 Practices Gratitude.
I can’t wait to see what you create with Adobe Spark Video! Try it and let us know how it goes in the comments below (or better yet, leave a link to your creation)!