Educational Technology: Hand-drawn Videos


A few years ago, I sat through an in-service during which we watched a video. All I could remember about this video were two things: one, it was one of those hand-drawn videos; two, it talked about what motivates us. I typed in “workers not motivated by  money” into YouTube and, what do you know, I found the video. Bless your giant heart, Internet.

Anyway, when I first saw this video, I felt captivated by the hand-drawn quality, which is probably because I am a visual learner. Any time someone showed one to me during an in-service or a graduate class, I could not.stop.staring. Mission accomplished, presenters and instructors.

When I started this blog, I said to myself, “Let’s make a hand-drawn video. How hard can it be?” Well, hard is not the issue. Expensive is the issue. I scoured the internet for free ways to create hand-drawn videos. I may or may not have found the end of Google that day. I decided to try a trial version of VideoScribe, which is what I used to create the video in yesterday’s post on the pronouns me, myself, and I.

What’s a hand-drawn video?
A hand-drawn video is a video that draws the text and pictures (and you can see the hand itself as it draws/writes) as a voiceover tells the viewer about what is being written and drawn on the screen. Mesmerizing. I also watch far too many Instagram videos that feature creative lettering.  To each her own.

Why use it in the classroom?
Well, if you’re making a video, it helps your visual learners process the auditory information that you’re presenting. It’s also cool, and you can never be too cool for school.

Where else can I use it?
These tools are not for just classroom use. If you are in any profession (or even have a side job) that requires instruction of any sort, then you might want to try out one of these programs to see if it helps others understand your content. Maybe you want to tell people more about your side business, LuLaRoe or Rodan + Fields. Maybe you want to tell people more about refinance loans because you’re in real estate. What’s great about so many educational technology tools is that they work for anyone who teaches, in and out of the classroom.

How can I use it in the classroom?
Since it takes some time to create, it would be great for concepts you review every single year like grammar, author background information, or the parts of an essay.  Or, if you teach the same material to five class periods a day, then you might want to have a video that can play on repeat instead of your playing on repeat.

That whole flipping the classroom thing (having students learn material outside of class and then come into class and practice what they learned; that way, you are there to answer questions and guide them as they work more at their own pace) can be done with this tool.

Where can I find software that lets me create hand-drawn videos?

Pricing — $144 for a year’s subscription, $29 a month, or $665 one-time payment. Try the free trial before you beg your school to pay for your subscription. The free trial lasts for 7 days. They offer education pricing (must apply for license), but the numbers are in pounds, which I don’t know how to convert.
Advantages — Easy to use, pretty big library of images, you can upload your own images to use, can download in a variety of formats, you can choose how long you want it to take to hand-draw an image, you can choose to have images/text just show up on the screen instead of being drawn, you can add music, and you can record your voiceover easily, most well-known for hand-drawn video
Disadvantages — Can download only as YouTube video or PowerPoint on the free version (not as a file on your computer); if you’re not careful, parts of your video will move around, so make sure to play the video before creating a voiceover or uploading it to YouTube; it takes awhile to upload.
General Impression — If you make a lot of these videos (or your department does), then I think it’s worth the money.
Tutorial — Find VideoScribe’s YouTube channel here.

Explaindio Video Creator:
Pricing — $59/year (you can’t sell videos) for 9 years (or whenever you cancel); no free trial because it’s computer-based (not cloud-based), but there’s a 30-day money back guarantee. If you want to sell the videos you make, it’s $69/year.
Advantages — Choose from 2D & 3DAnimated, Doodle Sketch, Whiteboard, and Full Motion Videos; pick from their library and add from your own computer as well; unlimited commercial use available; not cloud-based (which means you don’t need an internet connection to create videos)
Disadvantages — You have to pay up front to use it. There’s no free trial. Of course, you can get money back after 30-days, which I guess is like a free trial?
General Impression — Since I haven’t used it, I can’t provide it. However, this option seems really appealing for the price and features!
Tutorial — Find Explainido’s YouTube channel here.

Pricing — They offer education pricing ($169), a free trial,
Advantages — Offers far more than just the hand-drawn aspect; much more control for the creator; on top of incorporating hand-drawn elements, the program also allows users to record their computer screen
Disadvantages — Since it has many more features than something like VideoScribe, it is not as user-friendly. That does not mean it’s incredibly difficult though!
General Impression — It feels like Garage Band meets iMovie meets Screencast-o-matic in terms of user controls. Getting the hand feature to show up takes a bit more effort than a program like VideoScribe, but you have much more choice as a creator in Camtasia. This option might be better for someone who is already relatively tech savvy.
Tutorial — Find it here.

Other Options:
Easy Sketch Pro — Like Explainido, Easy Sketch Pro is a program that you download on your computer. It has a money-back guarantee.
Tutorial — List of tutorial videos here.
GoAnimate — Kind of expensive. I think the other ones might do what you want for less.
      Tutorial — Find one here.
PowToon — This one has a free version (records up to only five minutes). Here are the education prices.
      Tutorial — Find one here.

My suggestion would be to try out different free trials before you commit to one program. Before you do, however, consider making a plan of all of the videos you want to create so that you can make them all during the free trial period and have them saved on your YouTube account.

Questions or suggestions about other tools to use? Sound off in the comments or send me an email at As always, I’d love to hear from you.




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