I first started looking for online presentation and animation tools when I got interested in blended learning. Looking for ways to give students access to information outside of class, I came across Powtoon. I still use the free version, although there are paid options which give you access to more features, templates and greater flexibility. With the free version you can still upload to YouTube, embed in your website, blog or wiki, download as a pdf or share your video on social media.
Some of the ways I have used this tool so far include:
To welcome students and set expectations
To demonstrate an activity
This is an ice-breaker activity I heard about from Shelly Terrell. Students watch the video, recall the information about me and then do their own 3-2-1 (with or without the aid of technology depending on resources and time.)
As a presentation tool
This was a Powtoon video I created for a class about digital citizenship. Before my new students were let loose on the department wiki, expectations were set out clearly. The video was then embedded on the wiki for future reference.
To provide information/instructions
I found students weren’t using our wiki as much as I had hoped. I seemed to be spending more time there than my students (which wasn’t the objective!) I created a Powtoon video to remind them of the different ways they could participate on the wiki.
To review grammar
A great way to check understanding is to create a quiz in Google Forms and embed your animated video. Students can watch the video as many times as they need to in order to complete the quiz. A recent upgrade to Google Forms means you can create a self grading quiz without using add-ons such as Flubaroo so students have instant access to their results. You can choose whether students see the correct answers or revise their answers and re-submit.
The next step is getting students to create their own Powtoon videos…
Powtoon regularly add new features (the latest, a colour picker) and provide lots of ideas for using this tool on their blog. It’s relatively easy to use, especially if you watch the tutorials on the Powtoon website. The only drawbacks I have experienced is that it requires flash player so you can’t create or edit videos on devices which don’t support it (although there have been rumours of an app in the making…?) and it can be slow to open, but this may be down to my internet connection.)
Overall, I have found Powtoon easy to use, engaging and a great addition to my “toolkit”.
Powtoon is one of many presentation tools now available. Check out some of the alternatives below: