Let’s be creative: PowToon

Hello all! Hope you are all doing well!

Today’s blog post will be about PowToon (find it here).

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As part of my Computer Application class, I had to create three types of videos. Our teacher proposed that for one of them, we use PowToon. I had never heard of that website before. It was completely new to me.

I created an account on the website and started playing with the different functions available. I was really impressed. There is a free version and a premium version, which you have to pay for every month. The free version, the one I use, offers a lot of choice. There are many different text effects, image holders, animated characters, props, markers, action buttons, shapes, transitions and backgrounds.

As the PowToon website mentions it, that website “creates animated videos and presentations as easy as PowerPoint!” After playing around with the tool for 10 minutes, I felt totally comfortable creating a video. It is really intuitive and similar to any other types of video creating tool.

Cathy More’s blog explains many pros of PowToon. Here are the pros that I agree the most with:

  • It’s intuitive
  • Non-artists (like me) can easily create cartoons
  • There’s a decent supply of images

The ESL Quebec blog argues that PowToon is easier to use than Prezi and more attractive than PowerPoint and I agree with that point. Also, the Bright Carbon website mentions that the two most complicated functions of PowerPoint (animation and timing) are simplified on PowToon.

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Teachers and students can create videos for different reasons. The concept of flipped classroom is starting to get more and more popular and it is a good way to create materials for students. For those of you who do not know what flipped classrooms are, they are classrooms where the students learn the new concepts and instructions at home with videos and the classroom time is used to do activities and answer the students’ questions. Students do not have homework at home anymore. They watch videos at their own rhythm; they can rewind or completely start again if they did not understand. The teacher has more time to focus on the students’ questions and on the practice of the concepts. You can read more about flipped classroom here.

As for the students, PowToon is a fun way for them to present their assignments. They can be creative and try something new. The Web App Review website gives many examples of how the tool can be used by the students. Here are all of them:

  • “Act out a section of a story they are reading, or an alternate way the story could have gone.
  • Reenact a historical event, or make a pretend meeting and conversation between famous people in history.
  • Make a short comic to explain a vocabulary word from class or a concept been covered in their current unit.
  • It can simply be used as a fun and easy alternative to PowerPoint, Google Slides, and other multimedia slide show programs for any sort of presentations your students need to make.”

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As an ESL teacher, I think that PowToon is a great tool to integrate to our teaching. Teachers can present grammar points or many other things in a creative and fun way using this tool. It presents the concepts differently and that is a good way to motivate students. It is also a good way to illustrate things for more visual students. I think that it is also a way to give students tools that they can refer back to. Students can always go back a watch the videos again if they do not remember something or did not understand something. Moreover, students can create their own videos. They can develop their skills on the different pedagogical tools that offer the Internet. Furthermore, I think that being able to synthetize concepts and explain them through a video like PowToon really shows the understanding of the students. They can also cooperate by sharing what they created and help each other understand the notions.

Here is a video of the high school I went to. This year, they created their ad using PowToon.

You can find many tutorials on YouTube on how to use PowToon if you happen to have any difficulties.

Have a great week! Thanks for reading!

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