April 19

The Top 5 Automated Presentation Tools for Students with Anxiety

The Top 5 Automated Presentation Tools for Students with Anxiety

For students and professionals with a fear of public speaking, giving a class presentation can be scary. By learning how to create an automated presentation, it’s possible to decrease the bulk of this anxiety. Here are my 5 favorite presentation tools for students and professionals: 

  1. “Talking Head” Pre-Recorded Videos
  2. Classic PowerPoint Presentations with Added Audio/Video
  3. Screen Recording Tools (Like OBS)
  4. Toonly for Drag-and-Drop Animated Videos
  5. Doodly for Intuitive Sketch-Style Instructional Videos

These are my favorite automated presentation tools for anxious students and professionals. Each option is intuitive, easy-to-learn, and can be used to create attractive and effective presentations.

Before you even think about reaching for your wallet, be sure to read my review of each. The best option for you will depend on your own strengths and what kind of presentation you’re creating.

Let’s dive in.

Who Can Benefit from Automated Presentation Tools for Students?

When I was in high school and college, I was one of up to 75% of students with a fear of public speaking. I probably spent more of my time coming up with tricks to avoid presenting than I did studying.

And what’s the most stressful thing about speaking in front of the class?

For most of us, it’s that feeling of being under the spotlight; the awareness that dozens of sets of eyes are fixated on us, spectating our every move. Worse yet, we don’t know how to conceal our fear. How can we hide our shaking hands, trembling voice, sweaty forehead, or rapid breathing from our peers?

The answer should be obvious – We take the focus OFF of ourselves.

Most students watching a presentation are bored and drifting off. They’re tired of staring at us, and we don’t want their eyes on us anyway! So why not give them something else to look at?

That’s where automated presentation tools for students come in.

These automated presentation tools not only help you to create beautiful and effective presentations – they also take away the pressure of public speaking. Rather than failing your presentation or totally choking in front of the class, just hit “play” and walk away. Seriously, I wish these options existed when I was in school.

The best presentation tool for you will depend on your comfort level, budget, and presentation topic. I have demonstrations of each throughout the article.

Here are some reviews of my absolute favorites, with links to purchase provided where applicable.

“Talking Head” Pre-Recorded Videos

Let’s start with the absolute easiest option.

A pre-recorded “Talking Head” video is the most basic type of automated presentation that anyone can make. Better yet, most people today can produce this type of presentation at no cost. It probably won’t be as high-quality as the other options on this list, but it can work in a pinch.

Basically, you’re just going to record a video of yourself talking to the camera. Whatever script you’d be reading in front of the class, read to the camera instead. With some practice, you could even shoot the whole video in one take to skip editing.

Since this can be done with a smartphone or webcam, most people won’t actually need to purchase anything to do this. For a higher quality video (and better grade), you could always invest in a quality camera and editing software.

 "Talking Head" Video Demonstration:

Pros:

  • Easiest Option
  • No Cost to Start
  • Saves You The Trouble of Creating Presentation Slides

Cons:

  • Lower Quality Than Other Presentation Tools
  • May Come Off As “Lazy” To a Teacher
  • Peers May Realize You Were Trying to Avoid Presenting

What You'll Need:

  • Smartphone or Webcam
  • Professional Camera (optional) – I use this m50 and love it
  • Editing Software (optional) – DaVinci Resolve is free and great

Classic PowerPoint Presentations with Added Audio/Video

This next option is really just a new spin on a classic presentation tool.

Traditionally, most class presentations are done on Microsoft PowerPoint. While this is a premium presentation tool, fortunately, most students already have access to it. Let’s use this to our advantage.

Normally, we’d stand in front of the class and manually present each slide. Instead, we’re going to pre-record videos of us presenting the material and drop one into the corner of each slide. "Talking head” videos would work great here. Alternatively, we could just add the audio.

Once each slide is prepared and narrated, we can export a rendered version of the whole thing in video format.

This is a great option for anxious students. You can get your point across just as effectively as if you were actively presenting; with none of the risk of choking or panicking. Just make sure you practice a few times to minimize the risk of technical issues.

PowerPoint Presentation (with A/V) Demonstration:

Pros:

  • Most Students Already Have These Tools; No Cost for Most
  • Higher Quality Than “Talking Head” Video Alone
  • Shows That You Still Put in As Much Work as Other Students

Cons:

  • If a Technical Issue Arises You May Be Expected to Read Aloud
  • Peers May Realize You Were Trying to Avoid Presenting

What You'll Need:

  • Smartphone or Webcam
  • Professional Camera (optional) – I use this m50 and love it
  • Editing Software (optional) – DaVinci Resolve is free and great
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (or comparable software)

Screen Recording Tools (Like OBS)

Depending on what you’re presenting, screen recording tools may also be an option here.

This kind of software is pretty self-explanatory. Screen recording tools are used to record a specific area of your computer screen. This can be great for instruction-style videos about anything one might do on a computer. Many videogame streamers and tech-support gurus utilize this kind of presentation software.

Screen recording software often allows the user to record their face, so they can talk their audience through each step. Most people tend to put the recording of their face somewhere in the corner, similar to our previous presentation tool for students. Alternatively, you could overlay an audio recording alone.

This can be a great way to present or instruct certain topics, but it won’t work for every subject. In general, techy instructional videos work great here.

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) Demonstration:

Pros:

  • No Cost to Start
  • Higher Quality Than “Talking Head” Video Alone
  • Great for Tech-Related Instructional Videos

Cons:

  • Won’t Work for Every Topic
  • Peers May Realize You Were Trying to Avoid Presenting
  • There May be a Bit of a Learning Curve with Recording Software

What You'll Need:

  • Smartphone or Webcam
  • Professional Camera (optional) – I use this m50 and love it
  • Screen Recording Software – (OBS is free and works great)

Toonly for Drag-and-Drop Animated Videos

Naturally, I've saved the best couple of options for last.

I wanted to cover the free presentation tools for students first, since I know money can be tight in high school and college. If you have a little bit of money to spend, however, these next few presentation tools are fantastic investments.

Toonly is a drag-and-drop creation software for animated video presentations. I already know what you're thinking: "isn't an animated video going to be hard to make?"

That's the great thing about Toonly – you wind up with a beautiful presentation that looks like it was hard to make. In reality, their drag-and-drop system is intuitive enough to learn in under an hour. (Seriously, I made this demo video in an hour and I skipped the tutorials).

Using Toonly, you can create different scenes using various pre-made landscapes, characters, and objects. You can customize these characters with a number of animations like "sitting," "walking," "waving," and more. 

Once you've created all your scenes, you can string them together into a complete animated video. From there, it's easy to add text or music, or to record audio over the video. If you've edited videos before, Toonly will come with practically no learning curve at all.

This is a fantastic automated presentation tool for students because come presentation day, you can simply hit “play” and walk away. Best of all, you’ve got the most impressive video in the class.

Toonly Presentation Demonstration:

Pros:

  • You Never Have to Speak in Front of the Classroom
  • Your Face Doesn’t Even Show Up on the Screen
  • The Result Can Be EXTREMELY High Quality vs Other Options
  • Your Teacher Will Assume You Did MORE Work; Not Less
  • Teacher More Likely to Accept This Format Over Other Options

Cons:

  • Initial Investment Cost
  • Very Niche Topics May Not Have the Animations You Need
  • There May be a Bit of a Learning Curve with Toonly (not bad)

What You'll Need:

Doodly for Intuitive Sketch-Style Instructional Videos

If you liked Toonly, you’ll love Doodly as well; they’re actually made by the same company.

Doodly is a lot like Toonly in that it’s used to create drag-and-drop style video presentations. However, with Doodly, the videos are sketch style with the images being drawn in front of your eyes. This creates a simple yet visually appealing way to grab the focus of your audience.

Given the simplistic style of these videos, the customization options are surprisingly deep. The advantage of Doodly over Toonly as an automated presentation software for students is the fact that, with Doodly, you don’t have to focus on the background. Doodly really places an emphasis on the subject matter; perhaps making it a better option for class presentations.

Of course, like Toonly, Doodly allows the user to record audio over the video. This makes it a fantastic option for presenting any subject to the class without having to be actively speaking.

Both of these options work great as automated presentation software for students. The main differences come down to visual preference for the most part. I prefer Toonly for presentations when background/environment are important, and Doodly for focusing on more specific subject matter. Ultimately, it may be worth owning both.

Doodly Presentation Demonstration:

Pros:

  • You Never Have to Speak in Front of the Classroom
  • Your Face Doesn’t Even Show Up on the Screen
  • The Result Can Be EXTREMELY High Quality vs Other Options
  • Your Teacher Will Assume You Did MORE Work; Not Less
  • Teacher More Likely to Accept This Format Over Other Options

Cons:

  • Initial Investment Cost
  • Very Niche Topics May Not Have the Animations You Need
  • There May be a Bit of a Learning Curve with Toonly (not bad)

What You'll Need:

Additional Resources for Beating Presentation Anxiety

Regardless of what kind of automated presentation tools for students you decide to use, it’s awesome that you decided to face your stage fright and present! You’re far from alone when it comes to the fear of public speaking; it’s often cited as a phobia more common than the fear of death itself!

Check out our article on how to overcome a fear of public speaking if you’re interested in beating this long-term. You’ve got this!

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About the Author

Years of personal experience with anxiety disorders and panic attacks have led me to devise some pretty creative ways to keep my anxiety in check. In the past, anxiety and panic attacks felt like something I'd have to live with forever. Nowadays, panic attacks are a distant memory for me, and I'm free to pursue passions like writing and traveling the world. Hopefully, the information on this website can help you achieve the same. I do all the writing here myself, so don't hesitate to reach out with questions!

Tyler Ellis

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