PowToon Review

by 4:38 PM 2 comments
I haven't really done a lot of hard-core reviews, but I thought now was the right time. First, a little background (it's relevant, so we're good):

A co-worker (@kduffek) asked me if I knew of any presentation tools that were different than just the standards, that could make words flash across a screen, other than just what I did for my "Why I Teach" video in iMovie.

My first answer was Prezi, but I would look into it a bit. Before the end of the day, she had contacted me again, but asked if I had ever used (or heard of) PowToon, and I had not.

Boy, was I missing out.
PowToon is an animated presentation tool that gives the feel of those fancy infographic videos (such as "The Internet Statistics" that I'm not going to link to).

The user interface. Simple and easy to navigate.
There is a section geared towards educators and students, but let me tell you about the ease of use:

It's easy to use!

I'm saying that as someone who uses a lot of different software for a variety of things, but this is pretty much just click-and-go; type text; slide a few timing markers and you're done.

I created this video in about 30 minutes from scratch - importing my own photo, and trying different styles, lengths of text/slides, and visuals (while trying to maintain some consistency and continuity). The reason it took me a bit longer than it should have is because I'm a tinkerer, and wanted to keep moving things here and there.

Active vs. Passive Voice 

It was literally within five minutes (no tutorial) that I was able to figure out my groove.

The part I didn't like was a little bit of a lag in the preview mode (I showed to students before I tried uploading to YouTube). I also didn't have a lot of time to get into what else could be purchased: as it is a free site to use, but there are some limitations on graphics and such unless you purchase the packages.

Had I had a little more time, I'm sure I could easily create more. And even better - I think students were intrigued and engaged by the new format of information. A couple of students asked how I did it. My honest guess is they wanted to try, so I plan on letting them.

So, my recommendation is if you're looking for a new way to grab students' attention, try out PowToon.

4 out of 5 peanut butter jars (it's all arbitrary anyway, right?)

If you have tried it, let me know what you thought about it, or link to your projects, in the comments section as well!



I do a lot of things. The best thing I do is fathering (I think). I'm the ol' "Jack of all trades, Master of none." I teach aspiring journalists. I run. I play guitar(s). I also host a running podcast. Oh, and I dabble in drawing. And I dabble in authoring... children's books no less. I just dabble. Sometimes I ramble.


  1. I used this when we were studying Russia. I asked each group of students to produce a Powtoon illustrating one aspect of modern Russian history. They had a lot of fun with it and didn't need any help from me