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Teacher’s recommendations for academic uses of 5 fun free presentation tools

by Kelly Walsh on January 11, 2012


Course participants offer their ideas about ways to use these fun free tools in instructional situations and other academic applications.

One of the most meaningful and informative types of communication that happens through education technology blogs like this one is when teachers share their experiences and ideas about how to use technology in the educational setting.

Last summer, EmergingEdTech ran an online workshop in which participants learned about a variety of free digital presentation tools. With each tool, we got hands-on and created brief presentations, and then discussed our experiences and shared ideas on how we might use these tools in our professional roles. The participants shared a lot good ideas, and I’ve been meaning to share some of them here.

Following are some of the tools we used, and some of the ideas offered for how to put them to use in education. For brevity, I limited the comments to a few per app, but some of the comments offered had quite a few different ideas packed into them. Hopefully some of these suggestions spark some creative thinking for our readers, and inspire them to try some of these fun presentation apps themselves!

Glogster is a tool for creating unique, interactive digital “posters”, to share ideas, pictures, videos, and more. Learn more about Glogster here (on their “What Is Glogster?” page).

“I have been eager to create a wiki-based Glogster gallery that would showcase student work on a project, i.e., assemble thumbnails of student Glogs for an assignment on Battles of World War II, for example, so that everyone in the class — and beyond — can review and learn from the work.”

“We are starting a new early college high school program. The consensus was it was a great way to publicize our new endeavor. I think this is a great way to publicize new programs. It was easy to use.”

“… classroom ideas for Glogster use:

* advertise a word or concept
* illustrate an oral presentation
* create a Glogster for an historic or current day pivotal/key person related to a time period, movement, development, etc.
* back to school ‘introduce yourself’ project”



Vuvox allows users to mix text, pictures, sound, and video, to create a couple of different presentation formats – a scrolling ‘collage’ presentation, or their ‘express’ format. Learn more about Vuvox here (on their ‘About’ page).

“This could be used for digital storytelling, much like a storyboard. Any activity with a sequence or timeline could be built for history lessons (i.e. battles of the civil war, or science – phases of moon, rock cycle, water cycle). Really anything goes! It can almost work as a graphic organizer, it is so visually rich.”

“I can recommend Vuvox to the classroom teachers with whom I partner on instruction for a variety of projects, including portfolios of students work, timelines, country brochures, properties of chemical elements, biographies, and reader response to literature. In the library, Vuvox could be a fun way to provide book recommendations by featuring books related to a theme (similar to what I’ve done with my summer reading collage) or new additions to the collection.”

“Make amazing videos by mixing your photos and video with our effects, text and music” with OneTrueMedia. Learn more here (on their ‘FAQ’ page).

“With the ‘old time’ video effects, students could use this tool to create ‘You Are There’ style news reports about historical topics, using primary source images that they research and scripts that they write, record, and upload. Although the 30-second limit may seem like a drawback, it could actually force students to synthesize and condense information, thereby enhancing learning.”

“This tool can be used to convert short writing assignments or projects into videos. For example, a science project on the layers of soil could include images of the three layers and a paragraph about each layer.”

“I would like to use a program like this for an online yearbook. It may be a more affordable way to offer pictures from the year. Acceptable use would be an issue, but definitely something to think about. I might also use the program to have the students share information about themselves to help me get to know them better at the beginning of each new class.”

With Voki, you can create a speaking animated avatar! Learn more here (on their ‘About’ page.)

“I use Voki to personalize some of the web sites I create. For example, I have a Voki on my blog to send a greeting to students, and I have one on my resume/portfolio wiki to explain the site to potential employers/ collaborators. I have also used Voki as part of a sub plan; if I’m going to be out for the day, I use my avatar to send a message to students with goals for the day’s class. [Could also] be used for reading instruction (record students reading aloud) and world language pronunciation exercises.”

Prezi is an app where you can create those cool visuals with images and text that zoom in to specific content elements and then  back out again to see the bigger picture, and then zoom in again, etc. These have become popular in television commercials lately. Learn more here (by watching the video on their home page).

“…  four other faculty members and myself were to present information to the faculty that we learned at a workshop. Everyone e-mailed me the outline of what they were talking about and I was able to create one seamless Prezi for us all to refer to. This was much better, in my opinion, than five different people hooking up to the projector and using different tools for visuals.”

“Prezi could be used as a getting to know you tool. Students could write their first name and tell us about themselves and their family. There are numerous charts (timelines, flow charts, etc.) that could be utilized in the content areas as well.”

Thanks to all course participants who offered these ideas (everyone had given permission to share their feedback, but I did not provide names here, as I had not specifically requested permission to do so).

Do you have some ways in which you’ve used these or similar tools in the classroom? We’d love to hear about them!

Keep an eye out for EmergingEdTech’s next 4 week workshop (we will be charging a small fee for this one), which will focus on using Facebook in instruction. This four week course will debut in the next month or two.

And a special “Thanks!” to Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, for having me out this week to participate in their Professional Development Reading days!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
8 Great Free Digital Presentation Tools For Teachers To Try This Summer
Breathe New Life Into Your PowerPoint Slides With Dozens Of Exciting Free Tools & Resources
Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer and a faculty member at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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