Powtoon presentations

French FilmWe decided we wanted to create a final year 10 assignment where students could take responsibility for their learning, decide how they would present it and build into it a way of revising key French language. It is important when you are learning a language to know how to say you are sick, ask for directions and generally manage yourself when you are lost. We wanted students to have choices with technology so they could use mobile technology, their laptops or a website. We have used Moovly and GoAnimate before but some of my students came back to PowToon which I had taught them how to use in Year 8. The site has improved considerably and they were able to complete their complex videos and have lots of choices of backgrounds, persona and other animation props. PowToonsThe PowToons animations were very good graphically , in terms of sequencing and the voice recordings were clear. Students had clearly had a lot of fun making these animations and it had made them very confident in their oral abilities. You can download a copy of the French short film creation1 here which is linked to the National Curriculum requirements. We also connected our learning to our online language learning site. When you can tie things together like that you can see how much progress we have made in classrooms in terms of promoting technology use, national curriculum and personalised learning. Some students used the LMS to send me the script and others had a voice recording for me to listen to. They were the ones choosing the ways in which they would improve their work and that is what we wanted as teachers. All year we had been filling them full of good things, we now wanted them to be confident learners. I was not disappointed with the results.

How to give a great lesson

This PowToon presentation gives you food for thought about how to organise content for a classroom. The students we teach now are visual.They do learn more quickly and better with animated and visual presentations. They do learn more efficiently if you keep the board clear except for two or three things and then move on. I have also used PowToon with students and they really like it. I didn’t use it last year because we were looking at other animation software to use in class. PowToon was easy for them to use and they produced some really good assignments with the content we were learning. Using a more visual approach needs rethinking and making the most of a visual approach need practice. Using a graphic organiser like the one I put up in my last post helps you to rethink materials and resources for lessons. This video has reminded me to think about something else again. It’s how you start a lesson. The first 5 minutes are critical. Once you have their attention by using technology, it rarely wanders off in my experience but you have to get those first 5 minutes right. I am going to focus on improving that and this video demonstrates when you keep the conversation going, you move the information and you build a narrative, you can gain attention quite easily and then deliver worthwhile content. I could do worse than decontruct this video to see how I could improve my presntation skills in a lesson.

PowToon review

web app reviews I am so impressed with PowToon I am going to work on it until I get really good at it. I know the students will love it. I need to use it a bit more first so I can see what it can do and then I shall allow the students to try it out. There is a really good review of it  with videos on the Web App review site. Web App review is dedicated to bringing useful and helpful reviews of educational apps and extensions for Chrome. PowToon will work in any browser , though. I have been using Firefox. It is always good to find a site which gives you real information. I started playing with PowToon last night and it is easy to manipulate but it will take a while to ensure the final product is really good. It is a matter of being really familiar with software. I always start with something I want to teach in class. I find it easier if I am problem solving and purpose building. I am going to teach pronouns with it. I plan to show whatever I have done on Friday. It may or may not be a good product to show. The thing is, if you are working with your students as partners in learning you can choose two tracks. You can go in as the clever role model and show them what you can do and then what they can aim for, or you can go in with a semi baked idea and work with them to complete the process. It depends what you are trying to achieve. In this instance , I want them to have a chance to be familiar with PowToon but I also want them to learn pronouns. We started that on Tuesday and I was teaching them to present their own learning material in a visual way. We were putting in speech bubbles and arrows and other visual text boxes to get them to understand the function of direct object pronouns and the part they play in sentence construction. They were picking it up quickly so I need to capitalise on this. They have had a 10 minute PowToon look and see so now I can go back with my plan. If I present them with my own clever PowToon on direct object pronouns they will go one better. If I take in my half baked one because I haven’t had time to finish it, it will be presented as a work in progress and “a bit of an idea” so we can grow the whole idea together. I want them to create their own little teaching video on direct object pronouns. It will consolidate our learning and using PowToon means they will really have to think of what they are doing linguistically as they create their animation. I’ll use the link I have here the the Web App Review site because it gives a clear set of instructions for start up. We shall also have to spend 10 minutes finding and sharing the direct object pronoun sites on the Net so they can use that research as well as our class and book work. Since this is new, I shall be monitoring whether they can learn this way. I am confident they can or I wouldn’t try it and these students make a really genuine effort to get the best out of their laptop learning.

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