Saturday Morning Cartoons: PowToon & SafeShare

I’ve been experimenting with the “flipped” classroom idea in a very basic way. I’m trying to make some video tutorials for students and staff. Last week I shared about my experience with ScreenCast-o-Matic. This week I tried out PowToon. I wasn’t prepared to like it as much as I did, but there are a few features that I do love.

PowToon describes the product as a program to make animated videos and presentations.  “presentations” is the keyword for me. You can import your own images! This is the first thing I discovered that made me want to make this video. I inserted an image of the hold slip my students are using (an aside: this is my old version because I forgot to send my new version to the copy office this week. The new one is what I’ve shared at TPT and includes “First and Last Name” on the slip.). The handwriting tool is very cool. I loved the fact that I could show someone actually writing on my image of the hold slip.

The second feature that I love I didn’t discover until the very end. You can record your own narration! I chose not to because I was running out of time, so I just picked a song for the background from the default list. I also thought that this video could stand on it’s own without narration, but I may create a second version in the future.

The final thing I like about PowToon is that it is really easy to create the animation part and to add graphics. I do wish the selection were a bit larger for the black shadow people they have available. I wanted someone writing or reading, but they are more aimed at business images. Which is fine since that was probably the original intent of the software. But with the Educator pricing package I kind of wanted at least a book in the package of images! While I say that it’s easy to use, it would have been easier if I had someone tell me this tip: just do one slide. Add some images, some text, and then study the transitions of that slide and the timing. Play it. Fix it. Learn it.

Then move on to the other slides.

I chose to use a template. I deleted some things. Added some things. When I played my version, which looked fine in the draft, I realized that I hadn’t understood the timings and there were some things left from the template on the video, but I couldn’t see them in the draft because of where the cursor was set along the timeline. If I had tested the animation of one slide from the beginning, I would have saved myself half of the hour I spent making this video.

The video is uploaded to YouTube. I do have access to YouTube at work, which is lovely, but I don’t care to use it in front of students. I always filter my videos through SafeShare. SafeShare pulls the video into just a plain black screen so that you don’t see comments or related videos. I am so thankful for this website and the service they provide. It really does make a difference in my instruction.  Here’s a quick “How-To.”

Copy your YouTube URL into the space.
Click “Customize Video” at the very bottom. This is a new feature!!
Choose your options. I would keep the sharing if I were sending a video to adults but not if I’m posting the link to the video on my website for students.
Click!
View your video! If you copy and paste the URL from the toolbar, it will always link back to this video in SafeShare. If you don’t want to embed a video on your site, but want to provide a link to it as a resource, I would use this link.

Do you want a tutorial to give to your teachers about SafeShare? I know mine can use the reminder every once in awhile! I created a one-page printable with these steps so you can print and distribute.

I hope you enjoy these tools as much as I have! If you make a PowToon video, be sure to Tweet me the link!

Comments

  1. Hi Carolyn,
    Have you tried Moovly. I think you’ll love it. It’s also an animation platform that comes with even more animated objects. It allows you to create animated videos, tutorials, banners and of course presentations;
    The tool is very intuitive and above all… it’s free.
    check it out @ http://www.moovly.com
    cheers
    Thierry

  2. Love this!! I’m going to have to rethink my beginning of the year stuff for next year. Maybe I’ll need to do a review in January. Thanks for sharing.

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