Categories: Animation Software
Availability: Browser
Uses: Encourage Creativity, Facilitate Understanding

What is it?
PowToon is an online, browser based tool for creating animated, engaging presentations. It offers a free solution for individuals - albeit with some limitations, including storage space, video length and privacy - and monthly subscription plans for additional benefits. The free account would still suit a lot of cases, particularly if you want to create short animations to explain difficult concepts or ideas. 

How can I use it?
PowToon can be used by lecturers as an enhancement to traditional lecture presentations or to explain key concepts or difficult processes. Students, in turn, can demonstrate their understanding of particular topics by creating an animated explainer or can enhance their assignments or presentations by using animation or creating media-rich presentations.

To begin developing an animation based around a particular concept or sequence, you could base it on existing Powerpoint slides which you have covering this concept/ sequence and look to introduce movement or transitions.

To get started:

  • Go to https://www.powtoon.com/account/signup/ and sign up to create a new account or log in to access an account.
    When you log in for the first time you will be asked under what theme you will be creating animations - Work, Education or Personal - your choice here isn’t too important, but the help will be somewhat targeted towards that theme.
    You can create a PowToon from scratch (i.e. a blank project) or use a template to get started.
    • The templates are particularly useful and can include a step by step guide to creating your PowToon or the ability to preview and customise pre-made animations.
  • The basic PowToon interface looks a bit like powerpoint in that you work with slides and can add text and images to these slides, but you also have characters, objects and other assets to add to your slides and a timeline for moving through the slides chronologically.
    • If you select an item on the stage, you can change when the item enters and leaves the stage by dragging the blue bars at the start/ end of the timeline
    • You can also change the style of the assets on the slides but clicking on the top of the menu on the right
  • You can add audio files or record audio straight to PowToon to enhance your animated presentation and help to promote learning
  • When finished, you can export your PowToon to save to YouTube to share with your students (unlisted or private will still work) or as an MP4 to your computer.

Why should I use it?
Animation can make your presentations more dynamic, help emphasise certain points, and make content more memorable. In particular, animations excel at illustrating specific concepts and processes in a step-by-step, attractive and dynamic way. They do this by easily introducing movement as opposed to a single image or series of flat images.

PowToon can be used by both lecturers and students to quickly create engaging material to explain concepts or to enhance presentations. Animated presentations are great for presenting content to students outside of the classroom, as a learning support resource. This can be offered to students as a means of further explaining concepts covered in-class.

Animations can also work as an alternative to standard powerpoint presentations, adding movement and engagement to in-class lectures, or presentations to peers. While this can amount to a large workload, you could develop a series of smaller animations and talk around these or use animation to explain very specific topics/ concepts or sequences and mix these in with static slides.

Top Tips
Before you create your PowToon animation, it’s a good idea to plan what you want to achieve. A good place to start with this is to create a script and a rough storyboard for your animation - this way you know what you want to say and how you want it to look.

The PowToon website offers templates and a host of tutorials that can help you get up and running with PowToon as quick as possible: https://www.powtoon.com/tutorials/

Where can I find it?
Unless otherwise stated, all reviews and recommendations are solely those of the Department of Technology Enhanced Learning team and do not reflect the views or opinions of any organisation, including Cork Institute of Technology. The Department is not responsible for any inappropriate, offensive or illegal content viewed or accessed through the tools and products reviewed.