by Joyce Donahue
Wideo is a free, fun online tool for making animated videos online that can be easily shared. Users sign up to create simple short videos using animated elements with either recorded voice narration or music and text. Here is one of their short promotional videos, created using the tool:
Wideo provides tutorials on their website, but also has a great YouTube channel for users to learn how to create effective videos. the Wideo.co Learn Space has 12 instructional videos to teach users how to use different elements of animation. Clicking on “Explore” on the main Wideo website takes you to a group of reusable videos created by others that you can edit. Any existing Wideo can be edited, or you can start from scratch and create your own. When you create a video, you can upload it directly to your account on YouTube, which may take some time, or download it directly (for a fee.)
When using the editor to create a video, tip windows pop up along the side to help with each element. You can add music, upload your own images and sound files. I found that once I got started, the site was pretty intuitive to use. It took me about 90 minutes to create my first presentation video. Although I know I could spend much more time watching tutorials and learning the fine points, this does not seem like a bad first effort as a simple presentation. The only issue I have is that the site automatically chooses which screen will be the cover image.
There are certainly many other potential uses for Wideo – some of them involving collaboration with students. For instance, students can work together to develop a Wideo during class time, using the free, downloadable storyboard tool. We know that technology availability varies from program to program, but that does not preclude the use of an online tool like this. If there is internet access during the session, the video can be created during class. If not, the catechist, or a team of older students working out side of class, could create the video and download it to a desktop (using a tool like the YouTube Downloader) for showing during class at a later time.
Here is Wideo’s own collection of ideas for use in the classroom, many of these adaptable to the catechetical session: