Teacher Review For PowToon

Wonderful Concept, but Does Not Function as Promised

Kacie R.
Classroom teacher
Schalmont Middle School
Schenectady, NY
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My Grades 6
My Subjects English Language Arts
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 3
Learning Scores
Engagement 3
Pedagogy 3
Support 4
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It No
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Student-driven work
How I Use It
I wanted to use powtoon as a quick, but fun way to present ideas from a project that we needed to review. My students already completed a large programming unit, so I thought that this was a much more simplified way of using animation, they would love it and it would not take me a long time to teach them how to use it. The concept of powtoon is wonderful! Students know how to make slideshows, so they are familiar with the sequencing of slides. This program gives them so many more opportunities to animate, illustrate, and narrate their presentations. We were using it to animate and tell stories about copyright. While it was such a great product in concept, students would use simplified animations and each slide represented one scene in their story, it did not live up to expectations. The website lagged for most of my students. They became frustrated because they had trouble clicking on various objects because the timing was off between the click of the mouse and the site responding to that click. Students encountered a myriad of problems with the website as they worked. Many wanted to record their voices to narrate and attempted to use the voice over by slide feature. When doing this, they would receive error messages and the program did not respond consistently to all students. (Some students would record and be able to play it back with no problem, other students would not get the play back screen to show up.) Other buggy issues included characters that were placed on the timeline (each slide has an editor, much like movie maker, so you can have characters and objects appear/disappear at specific times) would not show when the slide was previewed. When I went out to preview the entire slideshow from the student's dashboard, the characters did appear as the students placed them in the editor.
My Take
As a teaching tool, in concept, this is a wonderful program! I love the options and the idea that this slideshow can play more like an animated movie. It is a simplified way of creating an animated story. The kids did love this program, but became very frustrated when it did not save their work properly (even though they clicked the save button multiple times before closing.) Overall, the performance for the program was inconsistent. I would say that the program worked well for 50% of my students. I was wondering if the problem was from my school's end, but we just updated our internet service this past summer because we have so many new computers and devices. I teach a digital class (we are paper free) and I use many programs throughout the year, so having so many problems with this program was a big disappointment.