Saturday, November 28, 2015

Creating - Rounds 1 and 2

My creation phase did not quite go as planned. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I planned to create my final product in PowToon. I had never used this program before, and found it to be harder to get the hang of than I had anticipated. Certain features are only available in certain templates, and getting the timing of the animations just right is tricky. I also found editing to be hard. I had to start my presentation over three separate times before I got my opening three screens to work like I wanted.

I was also frustrated by the fact that each screen could only be 20 seconds long. In the script I had written, most screens were designed to be longer than 20 seconds. So I had to go back and redesign, finding logical breaks. What I had intended to be one screen often ended up as two or even three, all of which took time to create.

All in all, I found the learning curve to be pretty steep. But I eventually got my presentation up to five minutes, 2/3 done, and I was really happy with everything I had. And then, suddenly, I was unable to add anything else to my presentation. That was when I learned that under the "free" account, my presentation maxed out at five minutes, and I also had very limited options for sharing my final product.

To say that I was SO FRUSTRATED is an understatement. I couldn't believe how much time I had wasted and how I could have avoided it if I had dug into the site's terms and conditions before starting. But at that point, there was obviously nothing to be done but take a short break and then start over from scratch.

I began Round 2 in PowerPoint. I had used PowerPoint before, but never with recording my own voice for audio. I actually wasn't even sure if PowerPoint had that capability or if I would have to couple it with another program to achieve that result, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to do all within PowerPoint itself.

Because I moved straight from PowToon to PowerPoint, I approached my presentation very differently than I have in the past. My previous PowerPoints have relied heavily on text and charts, but in this presentation, I used a lot of images and animations. I basically tried to recreate what I had done in PowToon. The final product looks very different than what I've done before, but I'm very happy with it.

My biggest problem came when trying to figure out how to share my presentation with my class. If we met in person, I could play the presentation and click the mouse to cue each audio and animation at the proper time. But since we meet in an online environment, I had to figure out how to record my presentation with the right timings in place, then hope that those timings would hold when I shared the final product with them.

Creating the final product has definitely been a process. I feel like I wasted a lot of time putting together this presentation, time that I could have spent furthering my inquiry or tackling another project. But in the end, I'm happy with how it turned out (assuming that all of my settings hold when I push it out). Mostly, I am just hugely relieved to have it finally done!!

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