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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


GoAnimate

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Oct 21, 2008 by Teacher Education
Overview: GoAnimate! is self-described as an entertainment website. It allows users to create animated stories which can be shared with an online community. No artistic ability is required, but certainly creativity is supported and encouraged.
Learning Goals: 1) GoAnimate! can be used to tell stories and develop understanding of the elements of a story (i.e. sequence, plot, character, etc.). 2) Choice of items can support visual literacy development.
Target Student Population: K-graduate level. Even younger students should be able to use this with guided support.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Web application
Recommended Uses: Faculty and students can create their own stories about any curricular area; at the elementary level, this is tied heavily to language arts. In elementary school it can be used to help reluctant readers develop their own stories. At higher levels it can be used to create satire.
Technical Requirements: Flash player

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The quality of the finished product is up to the user. Results are immediate. The selection of choices within the animated libraries is huge. Users can upload photos and animations to further extend the library. There is a link to edit movies after completing them.
Concerns: Students might become easily distracted by the material that is available on the site. There does not seem to be a filter for students, so some material may not be appropriate for young children. There are limited positive characters of color in the library.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The strength is with the storytelling. From the art perspective, this is not an opportunity for skill development, but from the storytelling perspective, the potential is limited only by the imagination and creativity of the user. It allows the user to focus on the elements of story rather than being hampered by graphic arts skills or lack thereof. It appeals to students and may encourage reluctant readers to participate in storytelling.
Concerns: The educator needs to thoughtfully consider the objectives so use of this tool remains educationally focused rather than strictly entertainment. GoAnimate! easily allows creators to use the tool to be unkind and thoughtless, as well as to circulate the resulting movies. Appropriate use and modeling by the educator is essential. Discussions of ethical use would be valuable.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Demonstrations the tool usage easy. For the most part it is point and click. Instead of learning a new piece of software, users can concentrate on content. There is an FAQ, Blog and Forum available on site. The developers ask for tips from users.
Concerns: None. The major tip to educators is to preview the site so they are well prepared before developing their own animations or sending students to the site.