In whatever work environment you are in, you gain lessons from your experiences every day. From learning about a new resource to finding an innovative solution to a common problem, lessons learned from personal experiences can be shared with colleagues to help them in their own work and in the service they provide to customers. With that being said, what are some solutions to help you communicate lessons learned or new resources to others? Three tools for you to consider are PowToon, Animaker, and Emaze. This post will focus on the free aspects of each of these tools, all of which also offer paid plans.
PowToon: Telling Your Story with Video
PowToon is video and presentation software that provides users with the opportunity to make use of free and paid plans. I have been making use of this tool recently to develop videos for a library association division that I have been a part of and a recent contest the association held. While I currently make use of the free account, I have been impressed with the free video shorts made available by the royalty-free stock images service Storyblocks, which allowed me to develop my contest submission.
PowToon provides options for users to develop an explainer, marketing, infographic, or presentation video. You can choose to make use of free music to include with your video or not. There are also options to develop YouTube ads or make a Powtoon from scratch. A planned upcoming feature of PowToon is the ability to import PowerPoint presentations into the site. Once the finished project is published onto PowToon, viewers can choose to view it as a movie or in slideshow mode.
If you would like to gain additional features in PowToon, there are paid plans available. But from my experience, you can do quite a bit without having to spend a cent. Keep in mind that with the free plan, you will have the PowToon logo emblazoned on your finished work, and you are limited to 100 MB of storage.
Animaker: Focusing on Animation
The second tool I would like to mention is Animaker. Animaker, like PowToon, allows users to develop animated videos. Depending on the lesson or audience that you are developing content for, this might be just the right tool that you need. Like PowToon, this tool provides users with both free and paid plans. If you make use of the free option, there are a limited number of items and templates you can make use of when you are designing your video. You can publish your video onto YouTube, as in this example.
Helpful tutorials are available to users so they can get the skills they need to get started on designing their own story.
As with PowToon, some content and options are only available to those who upgrade from the free to a paid plan. In Animaker, the templates are separated by free and premium plans and are further subdivided into categories that range from a video greeting to a lyric video. If you do select a free template option, some of the characters for editing the template may only be available to those with paid plans. This will be evident when you roll over the character and a teal Upgrade sign covers the character you have selected.
The site requires that Flash be installed in your browser. If you make use of a browser like Chrome and don't have it, you will see a message indicating the need to install or update.
Emaze: Improving Your Presentation with Amazing Graphics
Emaze is a tool that allows you to make presentations, websites, e-cards, blogs, and photo albums. What I have been most impressed by is the graphics associated with the presentation option of the site. Some of the presentation options allow you to include movement similar to what you might see in something from Prezi. Here is an example available on the website. Do you have an existing PowerPoint presentation? You can import and modify it in Emaze.
With that being said, with the free version, you are currently limited to making three presentations and five websites, along with unlimited blogs, e-cards, and photo albums.
While the video solutions do require more time to get the hang of in comparison to Emaze, the products you'll come up with by investing the time needed will be worth it. In conclusion, give one of these tools a try to engage your audience.
About the Author
Sophia Guevara is co-chair of the American Evaluation Association Social Network Analysis Topical Interest Group. She serves on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Connect editorial committee and 2019 NTEN conference committee. She is a columnist for Information Today and has also been published in Computers in Libraries, Online Searcher, and Information Outlook. She has also been a guest blogger for Soutron Global. Sophia received both her Master of Library and Information Science degree and Master of Public Administration degree from Wayne State University.