By Kim Bates
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
There’s nothing more engaging than explaining an assignment! What? No, really!
You’ve spent considerable time and energy planning the perfect learning opportunity. You’ve considered the learning goals and the skill level of the students (Boye, n.d.). You’ve had success with the assignment in past semesters. It’s clearly linked to the course objectives. It’s going to provide insight into students’ learning. It’s a thoughtful, intentional and brilliant assessment.
You begin to tell students about the assignment, and you hear a heavy sigh from one part of the classroom. A disgruntled groan comes from someone in the back row. You worry about one student who looks despondent, then puts his head down on the desk. Another student rolls her eyes; the look on her face clearly communicates that you have ruined her life (or at least her weekend plans). Finally, at the end of class, another student approaches you and asks you to explain the assignment again.
Does any of this sound familiar? What reactions do you get when you tell students about a new assignment? Maybe there’s another way.
I recently discovered PowToon.com, which offers free cloud-based software for creating animated videos and presentations. There is nothing to download, and the ready-made templates allow users to create high-quality media with relatively little effort.
Here’s the first PowToon I created, which I used to announce an assignment in one of my classes:
I began with the “Mission Impossible” template offered by PowToon and only had to edit the text to reflect the details of my assignment. I found the program to be user-friendly and even fun. Once my video was published, I posted a link for students in Blackboard so they could watch it as often as needed.
Powtoon offers a variety of templates or you can create one from scratch. The second Powtoon I created was used to deliver some content to mentors in the New Faculty Development Program:
It’s simple to create a free account, and for a limited time, the company is offering free classroom accounts. Each account gives access to one teacher and 60 students (normally $96 per year). Simply use this promo code: ToonUp5M.
How will you use PowToon? If you give it a try, leave a link to your PowToon in the comments below.
Boye, A. (n.d.). How do I create meaningful and effective assignments? Retrieved from http://www.tlpd.ttu.edu/teach/TLTC%20Teaching%20Resources/CreatingEffectiveAssignments.asp