OK, this might not be the greatest animated cartoon ever created but it took me about five minutes, starting from scratch:
Your students will need less time and create much better animations too, no doubt. The possibilities are endless – there are so many things you can do with it you actually have to concentrate not to lose focus and get lost while exploring all the options.
You can get your students to create stories based on the topic you’re dealing with or use it in any other way, in groups or individually – you can even make it into a competition and they can vote on the best pieces. Just exploring the options and learning to use the site will be useful in itself – they will have a reason to read for information if they’re interested in creating animations.
Visit goanimate.com to create an account and create your own stuff. I only have one slight misgiving about the site: they use pretty heavy marketing tactics to promote themselves – but, hey, they have to make a living.