Research and Exploration of PowToon

Powtoon is a videos and presentation creation tool. It allows its users to create their own animated videos and animated presentation that will catch the attention of the audience. It is made to be easy to use so that you don’t need to be a professional in animation to produce something good. A feature that allows users to post their Powtoon on Youtube is included as well as an option to save them on their computer. This app can be used for free or with different subscription options. Some access subscription for education are available but not necessary. PowToon is in constant evolution and updated on a regular basis

This video in presented on PowToon’s official website

When you log in for the first time on PowToon, you can use your Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn profile, or you can create one on the page. Then, you have to choose if you want to start a ‘studio’ project (video and animated presentation), or a ‘slides’ presentation (informative slideshow). Both are introduced by a quick tutorial. Many templates are also available to help users start with their presentation.

Mieke VanderBorght, a researcher at the University of Virginia, described PowToon as a super-cool presentation tool that relies on teacher for classroom relevance. She started by describing features of the app such as professional voice-overs, possibility to download on DVD, and share with other users. A good number of images, animations, and visual styles are available for free, but the classroom and premium accounts unlock even more. This tool could be good for the classroom because the originality of the presentations created will absolutely catch the attention of students and foster their engagement. VanderBorght proposed letting the kids be creative with the tool. Also, teachers could replace written reports by presentations and ask students to present their work afterward. Students can work on this tool in groups or individually. The benefits of attention-grabbing presentations are explained on the PowToon blogs. However, the researcher tought there was not enough support and examples of the pedagogical use of PowToon compared to what was offered for the buisness use of the tool.

Two different ways the tool can be used in the classroom are described by Steven M. in his review for PowToon. First, he said he asked students to create a 30-60 second video about their past vacation activities. Second, he asked students to create a commercial. Students worked in small groups on this project and used scripts from a bank of radio commercial scripts. Students recorded the audio track of their commercial and then created their visual component. The only issue noted was that only one student at one time could work on the visual editing. The teacher said he preferred to use this tool in place of PowerPoint or Prezi and encouraged his students to do so.

Eric Curts, a Technology integration Specialist, wrote a review for PowToon in education. He gives some examples of activities that could be done with this tool. One that could be adapted to an ESL classroom would be to act out a section from a story students are reading to help them understand. Also, teachers could make short comic to explain new concepts or vocabulary words. The reviewer also noted that the free version of the app was limited to five minutes per videos, but there was no limitation to the number of presentations.

The advantages of a PowToon for education access are that it helps teachers assigning and collecting the work of their students, it allows users to have access to more images and styles, and it is possible to make up to 15 minutes videos.

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