For my design challenge I decided to critique a digital storytelling tool. This was important and relevant to me because there are so many different tools that can be used to tell a story. I want to become most familiar with the tools that my students use and I feel like I need more practice in this area. Elementary aged kids love to tell their stories in animated form. I decided to try out two different programs for animated stories - Animaker and Powtoon.
I started with Animaker which is used to create animated infographics, along with a variety of videos. I started out small and used a template to create an online course introduction video for another class I am taking. Using a template to create a short presentation is easy enough but when I went to create my own digital story from scratch, I ran into some problems. Access to characters, properties, and backgrounds was limited on a free trial. My biggest issue came with trying to import my own images. Many images needed to be sized just right or they would upload horizontally and once loaded there was no way to edit the image. This created a lot of frustration on my part. I also found the video timeline to be difficult to manipulate.
This led me to try Powtoon instead. Powtoon is also used to make animated presentations and I personally found it much easier to use. Powtoon was easy to manipulate, had a broader range of characters, backgrounds and properties in the free trial, and the video timeline was simple to add audio and change the time segments if needed.
I created a video titled “Jessie’s Day-It’s A Dog’s Life.” I have spent a lot of time with my dog Jessie this summer and have been paying special attention to how structured her day actually is. She has basically the same routine day in and day out. I was able to capture her “must do activities” in a cute mix of animation and reality.
These are my thoughts on both products. Keep in mind that an amateur video creator was using both programs. I would recommend playing around with both to see which one feels most comfortable to you.