The Powtoon Trap

The Powtoon Trap

This week we were tasked to explore a new-to-us tool/app to showcase our progress! I decided to use Powtoon, a site that allows you to make simple, animated videos. I used the website to create a short lesson that includes some basic embroidery tips I’ve learned along the way.

My first impression of Powtoon was that it could be a great tool for presentations and an alternative to a simple Powerpoint presentation. The website offers a wide variety of templates which is very neatly organized by their purpose, such as knowledge sharing, remote learning, and templates for teachers. I appreciated this as it made finding a template for your specific needs easy. Some examples include a trivia template, a book report template, and a timeline template. These would all be great for fun lesson resources or for students to use as a way to present their learning. The downside of this was that almost all of the templates were for members, which requires you to pay for a membership. Teachers can get a very large discount and there is also a school board option.

Once I selected a template it was super easy to edit it to my needs. Powtoon includes a large amount of design freedom so you are able to create some very attention-grabbing presentations if you’re creative enough. However, another setback I encountered was the difficulty in importing your own videos and photos. Powtoon requires everything to be in MP4 format, seemingly not what an IPhone formats anything into. I was able to get 1 video uploaded but every other video was rejected. When uploading my pictures I had to send it to my computer, screenshot it off my computer, crop it, and then upload into Powtoon. It was very annoying and time consuming. I would absolutely not recommend Powtoon if your goal was to include video lessons. Another downside to Powtoon was that there are restrictions on exporting videos if you do not have the pro feature. I had to screenrecord my Powtoon, which removed the audio, and then upload it to Youtube.

This week I focused on perfecting some basic stitches as I worked through my Powtoon video. I had my sister draw me a design, which I used to showcase the tips in my video. I aim to use this piece as a way to master the basics so that in coming weeks I can attempt learning from sources I find more challenging, such as written instructions. I chose my stitches based off what I wanted to showcase in my video. This turned out to be a bit of a waste since Powtoon is very difficult to use if trying to include your own sources.

Overall I think Powtoon could be a really fun way of making small lessons that your students could access at any time. If you were teaching an online class or wanted to have certain things available for students to study from that aren’t notes, Powtoon could be very fun. I specifically like the idea of making timeline videos, trivia games, or tip videos for students to look back at throughout the semester. I also think it makes a great tool for students to make short presentations from. Students can add voiceovers as well. This would allow other students to go back and view these videos in a useful way, as they wouldn’t require a presentation from the original creator. I’d like to emphasize that the free version is not the greatest as it allows limited templates, limited time for videos, and limited sharing.

I think this tool would fall between Augmentation and Modification on SAMR model. I think it could be used to change the way lessons are taught in a way that allows students to go back and use them again and again. I also believe, if used in different ways, it could redesign the way students are able to showcase their learning. Most likely this tool would be difficult for younger students to navigate in an effective way, but it is a visually stimulating and exciting way for teachers to create learning games. I see this tool as a benefit to upper years students as a way to offer lessons other than notes or powerpoints. If you’d like to view my Powtoon you can see it here!



7 thoughts on “The Powtoon Trap

  1. I love finding apps that are so diverse! It’s too bad with membership/pricing restrictions on SO many apps. What a cool idea to use Powtoon to create study “videos”! I have never even thought of study videos for students to access. Students could even create videos for each other. This planted an idea for my Grade 2 students to create more videos on showcasing a task/topic to introduce to other members of the classroom…especially with literacy and numeracy.

    1. I’m glad you were inspired! The membership issue is a major issue to me but I know of other presentation alternatives such as prezi or having students upload videos to a slideshow. Those websites might be easier for 2nd graders to navigate as the editing on Powtoon, combined with the issue of members only decor, would probably be very frustrating for them and require a lot of 1-1 help. But I love your idea of having students showcase topics for their classmates! That was something I always loved as a child, especially independent study projects to help us with research and presentation skills!

  2. Hi Ava! Awesome job getting through Powtoon. I also tried to use it but I became very frustrated and I felt it was more confusing than helpful. After reading the rest of your post I will definitely will give it another try!

    1. It took me a bit of exploring but eventually I got the hang of the editing! Truthfully, unless you paid for it I think it would be a waste of time. It’s very difficult to use without a membership. It’s too bad since it has such great potential for classroom use

  3. I really enjoyed your thorough review of the app. After watching your Powtoon, I am interested in trying to make one myself. It makes the presentations engaging and fun so that viewers want to pay attention and stay engaged. I could see this being useful especially in older grades for note taking presentations. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S: I love the pattern your sister drew out for you. I believe mastering the basics will serve you well as your progress through the skill. Good luck!

  4. Hi, Ava! I learned how to use Powtoon this week, too! I have a few tips which may help you with other Powtoon projects in the future. I find that the file types on iPhones are never compatible with any online tools and websites! If you have Snapchat, you can go into your camera roll through memories and directly send them to the device you need them on, and this sends them in a file type that is usually compatible! Further, for publishing, I was able to hit “Publish” on the top right-hand side of the page and a drop down menu appeared. I clicked YouTube, and I was able to upload it to YouTube through Powtoon. Personally, I did not recommend paying for Powtoon on my review, but I didn’t realize that students and teachers could receive memberships at very discounted prices! I also placed Powtoon between Augmentation and Modification, and I liked seeing your reasoning for it! Good luck with your next Powtoon, and good job on your learning project so far!

    1. Thank you for the Snapchat tip! I’ve been struggling with the iPhone formatting for a while haha. I think my problem with publishing was because Powtoon gave me a free trial and I accidentally used members only design features. After that it wanted me to delete everything before uploading lol.

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