Powtoon: A Review

EXPLORING TECH TOOLS for the classroom

Thanks to Jessica for doing a great job reviewing Explain Everything – my review format was inspired by her post!

Why Powtoon?

  • I decided to explore Powtoon because a classmate, Altan, recommended for it’s user-friendly features for making a whiteboard video creator. In class, Powtoon was introduced as an easy-to-use animator which really caught my attention.
  • I have always wanted to encourage my students to make their own animated science related videos to help explain abstract concepts. I often say, “If any of you ever become graphic designers or animators, you could likely make a career by making high quality science videos and posting them on YouTube.”
  • I wish that I could help facilitate their learner in making these videos, but the idea seems so daunting, that up until this week, I didn’t know where to begin. My hope was that Powtoon would be a first step in that direction.

Website Features

In terms of animation, Powtoon is a website that provides a similar layout to Microsoft PowerPoint. The platform has a variety of animations, transitions and also includes the following:

  • Backgrounds
  • Texts
  • Characters (animated with the ability to portray different emotions)
  • Props (icons)
  • Shapes
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Sounds
  • Specials (icons that move)

The platform is easy to use. I used a template to get started, and I was able to understand how timing of the video and animations worked by watching the sample slides play.

A snapshot of what the editor looks like when beginning with a template.

Pros:

  • User accounts can be created in a variety of ways (Email, Google, Office 365, Facebook and Linkedin)
  • A variety of video templates are available (explainer, marketing, infographic, presentation, and video ads to name a few)
  • When creating your account for the first time, users are granted full access to all of Powtoon’s premium features
  • When entering the editor for the first time, the website walks you through different features that can help users get started quickly
  • There are many tutorial videos found that can be found on Powtoon’s website and YouTube to help support users
  • Allows for voice over during slides
  • Many exporting options were included

Cons:

  • The free version of the website is quite limited
  • Even with the premium options available, my patience was tested when I settled for mediocre props as what I had in mind wasn’t available (foxes, wolves, specific trees, porcupines, rabbits, owls, etc)
  • Premium trial ends after 4 days – afterwards pricing ranges between $79-$165 USD/month if subscription is monthly, and between $16-$49 USD/month if subscription in annual
  • The premium version is required to download videos as a simple MP4 video

Educational/Instructional Use

  • This website would be a good starting point for students interested in animation
  • Students would be able to use this platform as an alternative to Adobe Spark or before advancing to more complicated animating websites
  • Although the graphics related to science-specific content is limited, this could be used as a summative assessment for any unit and a different way of documenting learning
  • Creativity and imagination will definitely come into play when props and images students have in mind are not available or easily found in the Powtoon’s search engine

Personal Use

  • Due to the limited options, even with the premium version, I likely wouldn’t use this to make animated videos for my class
  • I would still be interested in exploring the whiteboard video options because the program is quite easy to navigate, however, if a competing program was more cost-effective, I would likely go with an alternative option
  • Let me know if you have success stories using Powtoon! If you have an exemplars to share, I’d love to see what you or your students have created!

A First Attempt at Animation

2 thoughts on “Powtoon: A Review

  1. Hi, Daisy, you made an amazing attempt at animation on Powtoon. I like the BGM you selected for your work, A perfect match with slides. As you said, There are many limitations in a free subscription, so my solution is to fully utilize limited resources provided and create infinite possibilities. LOL

    Like

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