Flipping the Classroom with Powtoons

For those that like flipping the classroom, Powtoons is the ideal website for doing so. First, it is free and therefore accessible to all. There is however other paid  premium options that have more animation options. There if for example, a rétro, a mini town, a shadow, a cartoon, and a groovy option, to name just a few. Second, it is very easy to use, with a short tutorial at the beginning, for those of us less comfortable with the site. To make it even easier, there is also the option of choosing an already made template to use as a background. For the background, it is also possible to add a picture of  your own, creating a much more personalized animation. another option to make it easier, is to use a powtoon that has already been made, and simply to edit it.

Now if we look at what there is to do on this site, first, choosing the style of the template. Second, deciding on the style of animation that will be used in your powtoons. A few options are “Pico, Greeting Card, Infographic, panda Haluha, Paper cut, Label, Hands, Mission, and, Marker.”The next step is the  background. Either choosing one of the colours proposed, picking one of your personal pictures or sticking with the background of the template style. Then, there are many transitions that can be used, from slide to slide. You can also add shapes and action buttons in each slide. The action buttons permits you to add a click and many of them have “Enter” or “Click here” written on them, allowing the students to understand that they must go see the link. This is perfect for the ESL classroom, whi9le the teacher, or in this case the animated figure, is talking and giving out the material to study, the students might want to have a website or a document that explains it too. This could be very useful for the visual students.

There is also the options of having text in the slides. This could be used for giving examples, clearly writing the instructions or simply helping the visual students understand better. For the text, there are also many options as to how the text will appear on the slide. The constant options for things to appear and disappear from the slide is a fun way to create an interactive video.Next, the animated figure. Depending on the style that was chosen, there are many different characters to choose from. The animated figure can also be doing a lot of different movements and animation. Ideal for the different use given to the powtoon. Props can also be added to the slides. Once again, the different props vary from one style to the other. It is therefore a good idea to look at all the different style when looking for a specific prop. Finally, a great tool for teachers using powtoons, the markers. These are like marks a teacher would give on a paper, either circling, a check mark or an X. These options can either be in green, red or blue. One last thing, all the tools added to each slide can enter and exit the slide  in a creative way. My personal favorite, the hand. A human hand appears, as if putting the tool in the slide. It is also possible to decide at what time in the slide it will enter and exit.

It was not mentioned before, but it was insinuated, that audio can be added to the slides. In other words, music can be added or in the case of a flipped classroom, the instructions given by the teacher. The animated figure will even move it’s mouth to match the teacher’s voice in the audio. Videos and photos can also be added to the slides.

Why Powtoons a great tool in education? The answer is easy. First,  it is a great tool for flipping the classroom. The teacher creates these small videos and has the students listen to them at home. These videos are about the material to be covered. There should be examples in order for students to understand exactly what the teacher is saying. The following day, when the students come to class, they will be ready to ask questions and do their exercises. Avoiding the usually wasted time on delivering the material. In a language classroom, the use for this type of tool is even more important. Learning the different verb tenses will become easier. Not only will the students have more time to ask the teacher questions, but if they do not remember something, they can always go back to the video, re-watch it and remember what they had forgotten. Another great way to use Powtoons, is having the students do their presentations.  Why not have them do their projects on this site. Once in a while, instead of having them do oral presentations, creating Powtoons could be a good idea. Not only will this let their creativity run loose, but they will be more comfortable and it will take less class time, than having 30 students do a 10 minute presentation. Also, like mentioned above, it will remind students that it is possible to be creative in writing and that it can be fun; writing isn’t always just about essays. Finally, if your classroom is not flipped and that at some point during the year you have to be absent, why not use Powtoons. It will make things easier for the substitute teacher and you can make sure that what is being told to your students is what you want them to hear. No more confusion for the students between what the substitute teacher said last class and what you are saying now.

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