The program I am exploring is called Powtoons. https://www.powtoon.com/my-powtoons/?#/ It is a web based animation software that lets you create an animated presentation. You are able manipulate objects, import various images, use a voice over and use music in your animated video. Powtoon is a free online resource, but with certain restrictions.
Ease of use:
I made a Powtoon for another course I was taking. It was the first one I had attempted and it was rather easy to complete. It would be very manageable for a junior high or high school age student. I did a lesson on the Particle Theory of Matter where I had a different character present each part of the theory with me providing a voice over. I also used text so that students would be able to copy each part into their notes. I am in the process of creating a lesson where my students will have to make a Powtoon to show the difference between pure substances and mixtures. I did, however, notice that Powtoons has changed since the last time I was on. It has become more commercial and it’s now only free for 4 days, after which you are required to pay.
Confidentiality of content/discussion:
Powtoon will collect different types of information depending on how site is being used. The site can be used anonymously without having to log in or purchase a subscription. In this case no personal information needs to be provided. If a person signs up for a free subscription they would have to provide name, email address, job description and reason why this website was chosen. There is an option to buy a subscription, however this would not be and option for students. When students access Powtoon for a school project, they have the opportunity to provide the contact details of their teacher, instead of their own personal data.
After a Powtoon is published the text in it is made available to search engines. If you have a paid subscription you can make your Powtoons private. You can upload your Powtoons to Youtube, however that work is easily accessible by the public unless you change your settings for that video to private within youtube. I haven’t seen a discussion feature on the site, I can’t see a way to comment on someones Powtoon, however when posted on youtube comments are allowable at the discretion of the publisher.
You are able to delete Powtoons very easily, you simply go to your Powtoon page, locate the one you want and press delete. I’m unsure as to Powtoons policy regarding deleted files and ownership. This information would be contained in their 400 page EULA. With Powtoons paid service you can download your work as an MP4 video which is a transportable private document.
Appropriateness for academic use:
I think that Powtoons is an excellent tool for junior high age students and older. I have no experience with elementary age students, but depending on their level of technological skill, it would be appropriate for certain students. It can be used in any subject area to help a student display their knowledge in a dynamic format. As I have mentioned earlier I am in the process of creating a lesson for my grade 8 science class using Powtoons. However, after some further investigation I have discovered that the students will have 4 days to complete their assignment due to the changes in purchase agreements with the company. Previously there was a free subscription portion to the site which provided limited access but now there is a 4 day trial period and beyond that students would have to pay for the service.
Questions to discuss:
Is 4 days enough time to finish assignment?
Is the process of teaching students how to use this site to make a video a good use of my time as a teacher, considering it could take at least 4 days to cover a relatively simple concept?
How could you use this tool in your subject area?
Has anyone used Powtoons with their students? What was the age group and subject area? How did it work out?