Sunday, June 30, 2013

Using PowToon in the Classroom

Summer is my time to try out things that I am petrified to try for the first time during the school year.  Today, I searched around for a new, more dynamic way to make presentations.  I wanted something a little more engaging then the regular old Powerpoint or SmartBoard lesson.  I did a little bit of research and decided on Powtoon.
Why?  It was free, easy to use (if you are familiar with presentation software like Powerpoint), and it was cute.  Those kids love "cute" and I thought maybe they could also learn to make their own animated presentations.  I am hoping it will work for not only presentations and slideshows, but also for short "flipped" videos that could be linked to websites, tweeted out, or on YouTube.

The only drawback is that it requires a flash player.  So those of us who work mainly on an IPAD are out of luck.  Luckily I have both a laptop and an IPAD for the classroom.  The laptop is hooked up directly to my flat screen TV in the classroom, so this works fine for me.  Also, instead of getting a few IPADs for my room, I decided to try out the cheaper option, which is a set of about 6 Chromebooks.  So, PowToon should be a great tool for those.

First, I started with something I knew I could use right away in the classroom.  I took the posters I made for our 6th grade interactive notebooks and turned the information into a short little video.

Then, as I felt like I was on a role, I tried a quick explanation of Main Idea.

It's actually addictive.  At first, it takes some time to figure out how to use it.  I of course always opt for the "playing around until I figure it out" option which sometimes takes a little longer than watching the tutorial.  If you are familiar with PowerPoint and timing slides, then it isn't too hard.  Once I got the hang of it, it went pretty quick.

It is a little limited once you get going.  There were times I caught myself saying things like, "oh man, it doesn't _____?"  But for something totally free, I can't really complain.  Easy and fun to work with, if you are looking for animated presentation software online for your classroom.

I would love to hear what other people are using that are similar.  I wish I had the time to check them all out. And if you have tried PowToon, what did you think?

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