Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Powtoons - LOVE!

Here is my new favorite tech program - PowToon. It is a free animated video presentation tool that is very easy to use. I used it with groups of 5th graders who made a group presentation on the need for after school clubs at their school - see their full presentation HERE. I was so impressed with the student's work that I went home and made a "commercial" for our tech department as a way of playing with the site (the cat thing in the commercial is a running joke with our team so I had to work it in).

A couple of things...the website requires Flash so it can not be used on iPads (which was a bit of a problem because we have a 1:1 iPad program in our 3-5 classrooms). When we used it we booked the computer lab and used a few student laptops. The free version is limited but not so much so that it was debilitating. You can't download but you can work around it by uploading it to YouTube (an option under the free version) and then using a YouTube downloader to pull it off the site. 

We found the sound hard to deal with. You can record within the program and their help videos suggest recording BEFORE making the video but that didn't work for students (they need to see the video progress in order to record). We worked around that by using the free recording software Audacity and using the "snap screen" feature so students could record on one side while viewing the video timing on the other side. 

The educational pricing is very reasonable for full access (but you can also use the free version - which is what we used). 

If you have time between now and the end of the school year have students try it out!

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