Tech Tools: PowToon

Last week I was presented with an opportunity to share information about our March is Reading Month events at our school with teachers at a number of meetings that would take place throughout the day. Given the nature of my position, I knew I might be in and out of the meetings some, which would make it difficult to share the same information with everyone. I wanted to offer them a presentation that wasn't actually dependent on me being there to present it. I also wanted to use a form of technology that could be useful to all of  my fellow teachers for their own classrooms. With that I decided it was time to try my hand at making my first PowToon.

What is a PowToon? It's a great animated site that lets you combine animated characters, images, text, graphics, music, voice recordings, transitions, and more to create videos. Here is a quick overview from the PowToon website explaining just what you can do with PowToon.

I used the PowToon for Education site specifically. PowToon is easy and fun to use once you've identified what each element does and play around with it a bit. I definitely recommend that teachers try making a PowToon of their own before assigning it to students. It's not that students couldn't figure how to use it, because let's be honest, they could probably figure it out faster than many adults, but as a teacher, it will help to understand all of the great features of this site. It may even help to expand the assignment to include more of the features. They have great tutorial videos that explain how to use the site (like the one above), but if you're like me, you like to jump right in and get started! (Just like the kids, right?)

The one thing that made a big difference for me in ease of use was when I realized that you can control the timing that the different elements enter the screen by choosing the element and then using the sliding scale at the bottom to choose when that element will be added to the screen. Before I found that I could control that timing, I had words and characters overlapping at incorrect times. You can also adjust the length of each slide using the + and - on this same blue bar.

There are a huge variety of characters and backgrounds to choose from, many of which come with the free account. These can help you create presentations that range from serious to funny depending on what you are looking for. There is also a great variety of background music to choose from. When you first log in, you are given the option to create animated presentations or professional slideshows, both with access to a variety of elements and templates to choose from.

I love this site for teachers and students. I think there are a huge number of ways that this could be used in the classroom. This would be great for flipped learning, a student presentation, a student tutorial, a book review, introducing a new topic, or many other purposes. It's fun to watch, easy to share, and allows for a great amount of creative freedom. This is all just my own opinion from using it myself-I highly recommend checking it out.

Here's my first PowToon. Now that I've made one, I'm already thinking of great uses I have for others and ways to make it better. This is a great educational tool that really has endless uses for the classroom!

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