business woman drawing  a security plan for a firewall systemA few years ago, I was teaching an online technology class and was sharing some examples of presentations to get feedback from the class. One of the presentations used a hand writing/drawing the information along with a voice-over. This type of presentation is sometimes called a whiteboard presentation. Some of the participants really responded to this type of presentation and wanted to know if there was software they could use to create a presentation of this type.

After a bit of research, I found that the best program for the best price and ease of use was VideoScribe by Sparkol. The cost is $144 for a year, but you can also pay monthly. There is a free trial so you can check it out and see what you think. It helps to have a project in mind.

The first presentation I created was pretty funny due to my being a novice. I timed it incorrectly for one image and it looked like a drawing on steroids. Otherwise, it was a pretty easy to learn process.

Here’s what I like:

  • You can upload your own image and it will create an SVG graphic from it or you use one of the provided images.
  • There is background music to add to your presentation.
  • Once finished, you can either upload it to YouTube or download a video version and choose to upload it wherever you wish.
  • You can work on a project from any device when you login and when you keep a copy in the cloud. You can also keep a copy on a portable drive/hard drive, etc.
  • The timing is relatively easy once you get used to it. It does take some time to get it just right, but easier as you get more comfortable with the program.
  • You can pick the hand you wish to use as well as the writing instrument. You can also choose no hand and you can erase a section so there is more room for more information.
  • Sparkol has an excellent blog and their support is wonderful.

Here’s what I don’t like:

  • Objects can be hard to control. When you click on them, they are hyper-sensitive to movement. The might flip around, shrink, grow, etc. and there is no back button to return you to the previous state, which necessitates playing with the object until you get it right. I suggest you are very careful about which object you are touching and to only click once so nothing goes haywire. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.
  • Sparkol gives you the option of recording within the presentation, but it is a one-time thing. If you don’t like it, you don’t get to edit it. You must start all over again. This is extremely frustrating. You may also upload a recording. This is what I do. I create the presentation, then I open it while recording on Audacity, the free audio program. Once finished. I upload it to the presentation and tweak it for timing within the program. This can take a bit of time, so be prepared.

I use the program on a regular basis, but I am careful not to use it too much. A little goes a long way. I also try to mix it up so that I am not always using a hand or the same hand, so it has visual interest to those who have seen my presentations before.

Here’s an example of one I created recently about brain facts:

Give it a try and let me know what you like/don’t like about the program and if you think you will use it.



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