One thing I love about my job is looking for and testing out new toys. I also love a bargain, so I always look for cool free stuff – or cool cheap stuff. This is my list of the coolest free stuff I’ve found lately.
If you want to start making videos, but you’re nervous about your face appearing on screen, this is the tool for you. Sign up with your Adobe account and go to town creating your own videos. You can select from several pre-scripted formats like “Teach a lesson” or “Explain Something”. Select from several formats with preselected fonts and color schemes. Select the visuals you want from the icon library or select photos from Dropbox. The app even keeps track of the appropriate credits for all of the icons and images you use in your video. Choose from several music options, then voice each slide one by one. Don’t worry about writing a script as the app prompts you when you add a slide. When you’re done, you can share to your social media or save it to your camera roll. If you’re concerned about ADA compliance, import the video into Camtasia or other video editor and add a captioning track before you produce and share it.
These two free image sources are my go-to image bank. I use these images for backgrounds, crop them for social media images, and do image-fills that take my buttons and interactions to the next level. Unsplash allows you to download their images any time. Death to the Stock Photo will email you a set of 10-12 images once monthly.
This is my favorite animated video creation platform. If you’ve never worked with video, Powtoon is a great place to start. Their get started webinars and training materials will catapult you to animated awesomeness in no time. Select from their wide range of templates, select a character, add some voiceover and you’re well on your way. The bonus with Powtoon is their overall approach. No animation works without a supporting story. They encourage you to work on your story first. I wholeheartedly agree. Find the drama, the decision point, the deep question – then plan your animated video around that. Other approaches to creating on this platform will fall flat. Easy to use – easy to learn – hard not to come back to time and time again.
I use this to aggregate the content I share on social media. I have papers for all of the social media accounts I manage, which means one paper for each brand or offering we have as a business. It searches the web for the things you tell it to, then creates a newspaper with all of those topics represented. I review everything in my paper, then decide if it’s worth sharing with my audience. This also helps keep me up to date on what’s going on in my field. Your audience members can also subscribe to your Paper to have it sent straight to your inbox after you curate it and OK it.
This one’s purely self-indulgent. I love to learn new things. Highbrow brings me new and interesting things daily into my inbox. There are literally hundreds of courses you can choose from – but you can only be subscribed to one course at a time. That’s the only bummer here, but the course is broken down into such small chunks that it leaves you wanting more – which doesn’t appear in your inbox until the next day!
We all love free toys, especially when they all work really well. I would not put these things on my list of favorite toys if they didn’t work splendidly.
Do you have any favorite toys that should perhaps make the list next time?