PowerPointLabs add-in

Using this free PowerPoint add-in, you can save time creating image effects and animations without effort. It includes more than 20 built-in features in the menu, not only for image edition but also for creating audio narrations, animations with motion paths, spotlights and highlighted text among others.

I found it particularly useful the options to cut out an image, and to stand out an element of the image, like a magnifying glass, or to blur the background.  The auto-animate option creates motion paths between shapes, which don’t work well when the slide is imported into Storyline.

If you use PowerPoint I recommend you to check it out this free add-in. Below, some of the slides I created using this tool:

PowerPointLabs4web

Create free animations online with Animatron

Animatron is a simple and powerful online tool that allows you to create free HTML5 animations and interactive content. Creating your first animation is a very easy process:

  • In the Design Editor, upload your own assets like images, characters and backgrounds or create them using the site’s vector drawing tools and libraries
  • In the Animation Editor, add cue points in the timeline to add motion paths and change the size and shape of your figures. Or, you can create multiple scenes with different images.
  • Finally, publish your project in html or download it as video or GIF image.

If you’re using the free subscription, you can only create 20 projects of a maximum of 10 seconds each one, and they’ll have public visibility.

Highly recommended online tool!. Below, a simple animation I created to illustrate the glacial abrasion process:

Glaciar_abrasion

 

Drawing with Artweaver: my first digital paintings

When I was a child I took drawing classes for some years and learnt the main drawing and coloring techniques such as using pencils, pastels, watercolors, charcoals, etc. That was a long time ago, it was a hobby I had left behind, but now that I decided to design e-learning, sometimes I struggle to find the right images to illustrate the content.

So I thought it was good getting back to the basics and try to create my own artistic drawings. Nowadays we can easily convert a picture into a drawing applying filters and photo effects. But I think having basic graphic skills allow us to create and customize our own images.

Searching for free a illustration software, I found Artweaver; a full-featured painting tool recommended in various threads of ELH Community.

After having created my first drawings I can really recommend this tool. Artweaver comes with a huge set of predefined brushes, which are very realistic, they reminded me my pencils and brushes and I quickly started sketching and painting as in the old days.

Check some of them in the slideshow below:

It also lets you control layers, create transparent backgrounds, and apply filter effects, so it not only works great for painting, but also for image edition.  Check all the features for the free and paid versions.

Explain with Powtoon animated videos

Animated videos have become in one of the most useful techniques to explain concepts, principles and processes a very easy way.

If done well, they can add interest to the content, reducing the reading load for learners and making the information easier to digest and remember.

Some time ago, producing this type of videos would have required specific tools and expertise, but now we can easily create them with PowToon, an online software that offers a free and a paid version. I use the free version which allows you to create the video and share it on your YouTube channel.

The process is very simple; just insert text, images, characters and audio to a slide. You can upload you own images or you can choose objects in the libraries of shapes, characters and hand-drawn animations. There’s a time limitation of 20 seconds per slide, and in the timeline, you can manage objects entry, exit and duration.

You can create professional-looking animated videos for your courses with Powtoon.

Dynamic quizzes with Kubbu

Kubbu is an e-learning tool to create online activities and track student’s progress. Similar to Educaplay, this platform offers creating and sharing exercises like: Crosswords, Quizzes, and Matching elements. Every type of activity has it owns print-out module for offline homework.

An useful feature is the option of adding feedback to the quizzes answers, so if students choose the wrong choice, a prompt box reveals the correct answer and explanation (image below).

Kubbu

Quizzes (Slider and Composer) are the only activities where  pictures and sound files can be embedded.

In the shared activities section, you can find samples built by teachers and grouped in categories. Check them by clicking on the image.