PowToon – Video creation that packs a punch


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!


2 thoughts on “PowToon – Video creation that packs a punch

  1. This looks awesome! I’m going to try it out for part of my summative unit on The Absolutley True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I’m hoping create a project so the students can make a “book trailer”-type of presentation. Thanks, Col. You rock!

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