What is Powtoon and How Can It Be Used for Teaching? Tips and Tricks

(Image credit: Powtoon)

Powtoon is a presentation tool designed for both business and school use, based on the idea to take otherwise standard presentation slides and make it more fun and exciting using video animations.

This is a great tool for teachers hoping to engage the class more digitally. But it's also a really powerful way for students to express themselves in a more creative way. The fact they're learning a new tool while doing that is just a useful bonus.

With ready-made templates, online access, and teacher-specific features, this is a very appealing tool. But is it what you need to help your class?

What is Powtoon?

Powtoon takes presentation slides, from the likes of PowerPoint, and allows you to animate it all so that it presents like a video. So rather than clicking through slides, this offers seamless integration with video effects and more to help bring everything to life.


(Image credit: Powtoon)

Powtoon comes with a wide selection of templates to get you started, however, it is also full of images and videos that can be used to personalize the end result. The idea being it can be used by teachers and students alike without taking too much time and without a big learning curve. 

This can be used in the classroom as well as for remote learning or even as a resource to be shared for viewing outside the class. Perhaps as a way of setting assignments so you have more time free to spend on what you need in the class.

How does Powtoon work?

Powtoon primarily lets you take slides and turn them into rich content video. But it's also possible to work the other way, taking a video and adding more media over the top of that. That could mean teaching a class over video, pre-recorded, which has links to reading, overlaid images you can point to virtually, text on screen, and more.


(Image credit: Powtoon)

Start a free trial and you can begin creating videos right away. Select that you're a teacher and the grade you teach, and you'll be taken to a home screen filled with education specific templates.

Pick the type of video you want -- be it animated explained, whiteboard presentation, or more -- to start and you can select from a wide pick of templates to edit and personalize as you need. Or begin from scratch and build using the simple tools to mold your presentation. 

Once you select the Edit In Studio option you'll be taken into the editing program, right there within your browser. Here you can personalize the project and, ultimately, export as a video file ready to share as you need.

What are the best Powtoon features?

Powtoon is built for class, so it allows students to build a project and then send to the teacher account for review. It can be a useful way to have students build a project to turn in digitally. Or to build to present to the class, but with a teacher there to check over and support the effort ahead of a presentation to the class.


(Image credit: Powtoon)

Freedom to edit is fantastic, with the ability to add images, text, animations, stickers, videos, transitions effects, characters, props, borders, and plenty more. It's all available quickly or you can search to find even more options to suit specific needs.

You can also upload your own media, including images, voiceovers, videos, and GIFs to make a project personal. This could be a great opportunity for students to present an experiment or a personal body of work. It also is saved for future use, making it potentially useful revision tool later in the year.

Online storage is available in all plan levels, which can make creating and sharing projects easy without it taking up room on your device. However, video length is limited based on your lan and there are a lot of features that only become available at the more premium tiers. Worth noting in the next section.

How much does Powtoon cost?

Powtoon offers a free trial of a few days but to really get the most out of this platform you'll need to pay. As you go up each tier, the music and objects available become more varied and better.

A Free account is available and this gets you exports with Powtoon branding, a three-minute video limit, and 100MB of storage.

Go for the Pro account at $228/year and you get five premium exports without branding per month, 10-minute videos, 2GB storage, download as MP4 video, privacy control, 24/7 priority support, and commercial use rights.

Up that to the Pro+ plan at $708/year and you get unlimited premium exports, 20-minute videos, 10GB storage, all the above, plus character outfit customization.

Go Agency, at $948/year, and you get 30-minute videos, 100GB storage, all the above, plus free character face customization, upload custom fonts, advanced animations, and third-party resell rights.


(Image credit: Powtoon)

Powtoon best tips and tricks

Animate science
Take the class through scientific discoveries with home-made video animations that bring the process to life as if it were really happening live.

Get concise
Set word limits and have students communicate an idea using images, videos, animations, and more to tell the story visually -- while picking their words wisely.

Set instructions
Create a template that you can use to set homework assignments, class guidance, and planning, all with an engaging video format that can be easily shared and edited for use year-to-year.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.