Earlier this spring, my husband accepted a new job requiring us to move a good distance from where we were currently living. We were very excited about this new possibility for him, but it would mean that I could no longer work at my current position, as it would require me to commute about 90 minutes each way. This meant I would have to go where no teacher wants to go…
The job pool.
I searched relentlessly for a few months, securing a position as a technology specialist on the first day of summer vacation – score! While I had always been a bit of a techie-teacher, I began to do more research as the summer marched on, looking to better prepare myself for my upcoming job. In doing this, I came across something I had always wanted to do – a Google Certified Teacher workshop and – even better – it was going to be in my hometown!
The applications were due the next day, so I raced to fill mine out, only to be stumped by the final question: “Please submit an original one minute video on one of the following topics…”. I immediately felt disheartened – how could I possibly create a video by that night? I put the application aside, thinking I would just have to apply another year, and began to skim through my Twitter feed, looking to distract myself. I came across a Tweet singing the praises of a website called Powtoon.
In checking it out, I found an extremely user-friendly site which allows users to easily create animated cartoon videos with just a few clicks. Users can narrate their videos or set them to a soundtrack, eventually uploading them to YouTube or burning them to a CD. After watching the demo clip, my mind immediately began to race – I could use this for my Google application!
I quickly outlined a script and got down to work. Within about an hour, my video was finished and uploading to YouTube and I was pretty impressed with how polished it looked in the end (even if I do say so myself). I began poking around the site, looking a bit deeper as to how this application could be used in a classroom. Immediately, my mind goes to English and reading teachers – making “teasers” for new books or a more dynamic book report. It would make an excellent improvement on any slideshow type of presentation – it’s even easy enough to use that tech-familiar students could, most likely, teach themselves how to use it. Apparently, I am not the first teacher to think so either – they even offer their premium accounts free to teachers and students (with valid @___.org or @___.edu email address).
When you go back to school this fall, stick PowToon in your folder of resources (check out tutorials here) – come project-time, you will be glad you did!