Have you ever given instructions in class only to find out that moments later very few of your students remembered what you said? Do you spend lots of time trying to make lessons interesting and engaging, but have a hard time accomplishing this with the part of your material that is boring to even you.
Using music in the classroom is one way to make less than exciting material engaging and memorable. PowToon is great for this.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to use your own music or pick from a large library of royalty free music for your PowToon presentation. This is a great way to get the most out of PowToon if you don’t have the extra cash to pay for the premium membership.
Confused about what Powtoon is. Check out this article.
Why should you use music in the classroom?
In my last article, we talked about PowToon and why it’s a great way to create self-contained, highly engaging lessons. Whether you’re a school teacher or someone who teaches adults, there are some parts of your lesson or presentation that are just hard to make interesting.
In many cases there are instructions, rules, or standards that you need to get across quickly but at the same time, need your students to remember.
There are lots of ways to use music in the classroom, one fun way is to incorporate music into your lesson. There’s a mountain of information supporting the idea that music enhances learning. On the Johns Hopkins school of education website, they reprinted an article from a book titled Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom, by Chris Boyd Brewer.
Brewer makes the point that music is useful for everything from improving concentration and attention, to improving memory and developing student rapport.
If you think using music is going to be distracting to your students, consider how many movies you’ve seen with soundtracks. Can you remember the music that was played in anything except the most iconic movies? In most cases, it was done in a way that added to the mood but didn’t distract from the story. It’s the story you remember, but it’s the music that helps make it memorable.
“Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”
–Ludwig van Beethoven
You may have already considered this, and in some cases, you may already be doing it.
One perfectly acceptable way to do this is by playing music from your own music player (iTunes) or streaming service (Spotify)
while your students work. This is great because you can pick from lots of different choices and the programs are already familiar to you.
The only downside is that you only get the benefits of music when you’re physically with your students and are in the mood for setting it up. You’re not likely to play music when you’re giving instructions, and you’re probably even less likely to use it for short activities.
Honestly, speaking over music could make us feel a little cheesy, like we’re trying to be a rap star.
Music is often used in the classroom to set a mood when no one is speaking, but it is not as often used to play under written or spoken instructions. This is unfortunate because this is the time when music can help your students the most to focus and retain on what is presented.
This is where PowToon comes in. It allows you to create a self-contained engaging slide style video with a soundtrack. It’s pretty quick to create, and there are tons of templates you can modify for your needs.
The best thing about PowToon is that it’s completely reusable and automatically sharable. That means when next year rolls around, you can make some small changes and use it again, saving you tons of time.
In the rest of the article, we’re going to focus on changing the soundtrack. If you’ve never used PowToon before, take a look at this short video tutorial by Stacey Roshan, who does an excellent job of showing you the general ins and outs of PowToon.
Changing from the Default Music
Let’s start with changing from the default music. The full version of PowToon has a pretty reasonable selection of music to fit the mood of many presentations. If you have the free version then the selection is much smaller, but there is probably still something that will serve your needs. Later I’m going to show you how to get a larger selection for free, if the free options on PowToon don’t work for you.
- If you don’t have a PowToon already, I recommend you start with a pre-created template.
- Once you’ve got your PowToon open, make sure it’s in the Customize mode.
- From there click the icon that says sound.
- Now hit the icon that says soundtrack.
- A screen like this will appear, allowing you to pick a song that better suits your personal flavor. You can also narrow your search a bit by using the genre drop down menu. You can test each song by clicking the green arrow next to it. Once you’ve found a song you like, hit the add button then the Apply button. If you don’t hit apply your changes won’t take effect. Now be sure to click save at the top of the screen toward the left.
Finding More Free Music
There is a pretty good chance, you won’t find the perfect music on the free version of PowToon. Don’t fret there is plenty of royalty free music on the internet under the Creative Commons license.
If you want to use some of your own personally made music, they need to be in the .mp3 file format. If their not .mp3 you’re going to have to convert them. If that’s your situation, leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Let’s get started!
- Go to Bensound. The really awesome thing about Bensound is that you don’t have to signup or create an account. You can just listen and download.
- The website is pretty self-explanatory. After you find the music you like and have clicked download. Another download window will appear. This window also shows you an example of how to credit Bensound. Now just click download again and you’ll have the music already in .mp3 format.
I’m using chrome so the download shows up in the bottom left corner of my browser window.
- Now go back to PowToon and click the same soundtrack button you clicked before. Then click import file.
- Powtoon is going to ask us if we’re sure we want to overwrite the previous soundtrack. You can click yes here. We can always reload the original from PowToon. If you’re worried, write down the name of the previous soundtrack so you can find it if you change your mind about the new one.
Be sure to hit apply when you’re done so the changes will take effect.
That’s it! You’ve done it! You can now use music in your classroom without too much trouble. You have the power to put any music you like to a PowToon. You also know how to find your own music beyond what the free version of PowToon offers. If you want to know my top 5 tested places to get royalty free music like we did from Bensound. Join my email and shoot me a note. I’ll send it right over
I’m not affiliated with and receive no benefit if you use PowToon, so let me know how it goes. If you’re interested in learning about another software let me know that too.
And don’t forget
Connect, Engage, and Enjoy!