I was explaining to my kids the other day that when I was in primary school, we only had one TV. It was set up on one of the walls in the juniour block corridor, and when our teachers wanted us to watch something like an educational program on the ABC, or a video about Stranger Danger (did we call it that, then?) we’d all shuffle out there and sit on the floor and watch. Luckily for you and I, for most schools in Australia those days are gone and we have all manner ways of integrating multimedia and videos into our lessons. In fact, sometimes the problem is not finding how, but what to show our students, which is where being able to make your own videos can come in handy.

I think that using PowerPoint is one of the easiest ways to make videos that you can use in your classroom. Most of us are familiar with the app, and have been using it since before it was called an app (remember when we used programs?). This familiarity saves you time, because you may need to refresh your memory on a few things, you don’t need to learn a whole new skill set.

Let’s jump in.

The simple video above features in our Natural Disaster resource. It’s not big on bells and whistles, but it gives a clear demonstration to students of the conditions needed to cause a cyclone to form. And, it was all made in PowerPoint.

This very simple animation was also made in PowerPoint, and below we’ll go through the steps of making it.

The simple animation above was made using the following:

Each Slide is a Frame

Each slide is a frame

You can see in the image above that I’ve used 7 slides to create this animation. Each time the watering can moves, the water comes out, or the plant grows, I’ve used a new slide. I do this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I want to use PowerPoints transitions function to help simplify the animation process
  2. I don’t want to have to manage a multitude of animations on a single slide

Although you can see all the slides in the image above, in practice I complete a slide, then duplicate that slide or add in a new slide when I’m ready for the frame.

If you’re practising and you want to following along, go and open PowerPoint and begin with a blank slide.

Slide/Frame One

We now want to add our images to the first slide. The images I’ve used for this animation come from Pixabay (linked earlier). If you’re making a video for your own personal classroom use you could use any images; there’s not usually issues with using copyrighted images because it falls under fair-dealing. Fair-dealing, however, does not extend to selling or widely distributing your video so keep your intentions in mind.

In this animation we’re using two images:

As you can see though, they’re not exactly how we want them. We want to use the pot plants separately, and we want the watering can not to be watering.

Paint 3D – Magic Select

Paint 3D is just a souped up version of Paint. It’s still not good for much more than fun, except now you can go 3D with your doodles. That said, Magic Select is useful when it come to editing your pictures.

Paste your images into Paint 3D, select Magic Select, and go through the prompted steps. You’ll end up with something like this:

Cut and paste these images onto the first slide, position where you want them, and add any effects like the shadow effect. This is your first frame.

Now, duplicate your first slide.

Slide/Frame Two

The duplicated slide is your next frame. Move your watering can into the position you want.

The image on the left is Slide 1, and the image on the right is Slide 2

Now, go to Transitions and apply the Morph Transition. This is what make the animation smooth, without you needing to add multiple animations.

Animated Water

What good is a watering can that doesn’t water? Go back to Paint 3D, insert the watering can animation again, but this time use Magic Select to grab the water droplets.

Cut and past the water droplets onto your Second Slide. Position the water where you want it, then add a fade-in animation to the water droplets. Set this to start after previous. Then add a fade-out animation, and set this to start after previous.

Copy and paste your water droplets twice, and position them one over the other. Your animation pane will now look like this:

Slide/Frame 3

Now we just want our watering can to return to it’s beginning position, so duplicate Slide 1, and move the duplicated slide to it’s correct spot, after Slide 2. Ensure that you apply the Morph Transition to this slide.

Slide/Frame 4

Duplicate Slide 3. Using Paint 3D and Magic Select grab the second biggest pot plant, and copy and paste it into Slide 4 just as you’ve done previously.

Put the new pot plant over the top of the original plant, and adjust the size so the pots (not the plants) line up perfectly. Then delete the first pot.

Morph vs Fade

This time apply the Fade Transition. Using the Fade Transition will give us a different effect than if we use the Morph Transition, as you can see below.

Scene/Frame 4 with Morph Transition

Slide/Frame 4 with Fade Transition

Repeat to Complete

Repeat the steps above to make slides/frames 5 – 7

Transition Timing

The penultimate step is to set your transition timings. Select the Transitions tab and under Advance Slice set it to After: then the number of seconds you want. Test you transition timing (and everything else) by playing the slide show.

Phew! Finally

When you’re happy with your video, go to File – Export – Create a Video. Ensure that it’s set to Use Recorded Timings and Narrations, then click Create Video. You can then save it as an MP4.

Written out like this, it can seem like a long process. Remember that this is just my way of doing it, and you’d probably find all sorts of short cuts and techniques that work for you. Even if you don’t (or my process is also your process) making videos to show your students can add a whole new element to your teaching practise.

Animations and videos engage learners, help us to break down essential content, and opens us up to be able to use teaching strategies such as flipped classrooms.

If you’ve stuck to the end of this post, well done! I hope you found it useful, and I would love to hear about what you’re making, or how you’re using videos in your own classroom.

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Wendy Allott

I'm an educator, mum and wife living in beautiful Victoria, Australia. I make learning resources for passionate, but time-poor, teachers in need of a better work-life balance. I'm a voracious reader, love a good curry, and believe life is always better with chocolate.

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