Remember last week when I talked about how I always had to be “that kid”. The kid who has to prove things to themselves in order to be convinced of things …. WHY! Why must I be that person!! Why don’t I learn from my mistakes!!! As you know, my group and I were convinced that we were going to be able to successfully take on and use Moodle. Well, we took it on but weren’t successful. We had our butts handed to us on a plate by King Moodle. We failed – miserably. So I’ve admitted it and I’ve moved on, hopefully, to a better place.
Anywhooooo…. moving onto today’s topic!
This week I looked at a few of the content creation tools listed in the course outline from our January 31st class. I took an interest in two specific tools in particular, Powtoon and Adobe Spark. I looked at these two tools for a specific reason- I was told they were good! See, I’m staring to learn and I’m trying not to be “that kid” anymore.
First I looked at Powtoon. Students of mine have used it in the past and it has always impressed me- if my students can use it, I should be able to use it as well, right?? Powtoon is a free animation video presentation builder. Pre-built storyboard templates are provided that you can use or you can start from scratch. I used one of the pre-built templates and easily edited the content to match the content I was presenting to my class. The tool allows you to choose the specific look you are looking for, build your story and then finish up by editing your content. I did find building my story to be somewhat frustrating as the options of characters, for example, was limited. Furthermore, the editing was somewhat cumbersome at times but that might of just been due to my lack of “techieness”. Overall the tool is straightforward and easy to use and I will use it again. Most importantly, my students loved it and it increased engagement and excitement in the classroom.
I also looked at Adobe Spark this past week. Last week when we were in our breakout rooms one of our classmates( I’m sorry, but I forget who this was) spoke passionately about Adobe Spark. Furthermore, Stephanie, who Melinda and I are working with for our course prototype, developed a short video for our course. She did such a great job and talked about how easy and straight forward the tool was.
Adobe Spark allows you to create animated videos. You can embed photos, videos and audio record your story. You simply import your photo or video and record a description of the content you want to convey. Each slide or photo is allotted a 10 second audio recording. Although this was ample time for my slides, this may be problematic for others with more detailed content to cover. The user picks a background theme and music that best suits their presentation. Text and icons can also be added to presentations. The original presentation that is presented to the user includes 10 slides. It was easy to add additional slides and I could move things around by simply dragging and dropping individual slides to where I wanted them. Another nice feature of Adobe Spark is that it automatically saves your project. I was grateful for this feature as for some reason as I got close to finishing my video, my screen went blank (4 times!!!) and a warning came up stating that something had gone wrong and I had to reload the page. I have to admit, that initially I panicked as I thought I had lost my entire presentation. Luckily, like I said, there is a built in “save” feature built in and all my hard work had been saved. I will defiantly add Adobe Spark onto my list of teaching tools and use it in the classroom. I wont say I’m a pro in using it as of yet but it is definitely fun, user friendly and i believe it will increase student engagement in the classroom. If you feel like it, check out my first attempt with Adobe Spark!