For the vast majority of lecture capture, flipped classroom video lectures, and student presentations, webcam video offers an easy, compelling, and flexible way to share ideas. But every once in a while, it can be fun and refreshing to shake things up by using a new storytelling method, whether you’re delivering a lesson or submitting an assignment.
Enter PowToon, a free, web-based tool for creating animated video that has made waves in schools and colleges around the country. With straightforward tools for authoring videos with animation, color, graphics, music and sound, anyone can create simple video presentations that break free of the PowerPoint slide presentation. In a couple of hours, teachers and students can master PowToon to create fun and whimsical presentations that illustrate their ideas through motion.
On behalf of the thousands of classrooms around the world leveraging the power of the Panopto video CMS to store, deliver, and search their videos, as well as collect student video assignments, we wanted to find out if we could bring the fun and whimsy of a PowToon video to the one-stop video management of Panopto.
Here’s our experience:
Using PowToon, we put together a simple animated video for instructors to explain how a flipped classroom would work to their students at the beginning of the semester.
We started from scratch within the PowToon studio editor by creating a few basic slides. Bold text, motion and animations helped bring the presentation to life, making it feel informal and approachable.
When the animation was complete, the Panopto desktop recorder allowed us to record the PowToon preview at up to 60 frames per second, meaning that we didn’t lose any of the PowToon animation in the recording process.
While the video played full screen on the computer, we recorded the webcam video and narration. A few quick video snips and a table of contents later, we had a PowToon video fully integrated into a multi-source video with our webcam footage automatically synced to the animation.
While students can view the video on the PowToon website or on public websites like YouTube, we wanted to ensure that students always had easy, logical access to the PowToon video content they were looking for. By centralizing the content in a Panopto video library, we were not only able to create a consistent, singular repository for all classroom video, but were also able to leverage Panopto’s rich search capabilities.
While this particular video was quite simple in its content, we can imagine using PowToons to create content-rich video to explain a lesson or make class announcements. One of the greatest benefits of Panopto is its ability to search across a library of video and deeply within the actual content of the video.
Leveraging optical character recognition (OCR) technology, Panopto is able to read all of the copy that appears on screen. This is as true of the text animated by PowToons as it is with text on a more traditional PowerPoint presentation. Panopto also employs automatic speech recognition (ASR) to comprehend and index words spoken by the presenter. In this case, we chose to record the voiceover with Panopto instead of PowToons, but in either case, adding the video to the Panopto video CMS gives creators the ability to leverage this search indexing.
This example highlights how an instructor might use Panopto and PowToon to share class announcements or present a lesson. But what about students?
Increasingly, instructors are employing video as a type of student assignment. Whether its to practice presentation skills, capture a role playing experiment, or share video from a field assignment, video creation is emerging as a popular and powerful way for students to generate and share knowledge.
PowToon videos are no different. Though it takes very little to get going with a basic animated video, PowToon creators have all kinds of tools at their disposal to create an engaging and polished video.
Panopto comes in handy here too, as a way for students to submit their final videos to the instructor for review. With Panopto student dropboxes, students have a private and secure way to hand-in their work, even when it’s something complicated like a video file. When integrated with your classroom’s website built on a learning management system (LMS), students have a one-stop-shop for interacting with your digital classroom. In short, Panopto allows teachers to embrace new tools that benefit their students without worry about the impact on their existing IT systems.
How about you? Do you know a teacher or student who has experimented with PowToon video? We’d love to see your examples