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

by Kelly Walsh on January 11, 2012

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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
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

[SADLY, VUVOX IS NO MORE ... THEY SHUT DOWN SERVICES IN 2013 - Ed.]

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.”

OneTrueMedia
“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.”

Voki
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
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)

About 

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 EmergingEdTech.com. 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 Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Prezage January 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Hi,

Thought I’d introduce prezage. It’s cloud based, and HTML5 driven.

prezage.com is for free and open content (accepting producers now).

prezage Enterprise is a licensed, custom dedicated deployment for delivering restricted content within an organisation.

Thanks.

Billy Meinke January 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I’ve gone through most of the tools in this list and I can say that most of them are worth looking into. My heart belongs to Prezi, however, which is easy to learn and makes presentations that stand out above the rest!

Jennifer January 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Mary – I just wanted to clarify that there IS still a free educator account on Glogster EDU. Teachers and students can sign up for a Single Free account: http://edu.glogster.com/register. As before, students are “walled off” and can create private Glogs only. When students sign up with a Teacher Code, they don’t need to provide an email address and can choose their own username and password.

More info here:

http://blog.edu.glogster.com/2011/10/27/edu-glogging-for-free-5-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-single-free-account/

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Lalla January 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I highly recommend the next Emerging EdTech Workshop to you if ou are interested. I am one of the teachers who participated in the above workshop and it was great for multiple reasons: being in a class forced me to try tools and really think about potential for classroom use, collaborating with others through sharing of projects and discussion forums generated even more ideas, and last–it was fun!

Glad to see you were able to share some of our ideas in a post, Kelly! I’d been on the lookout for it to show up. :)

Robin Green January 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I had not heard of a few of these so I went and checked them out. These are very cool and useful! I wish I had these resources when I was in school. I recommend this to any student!

luis January 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Computers and tablets are only assistants and a good teacher’s will always be needed.
However social networks such as facebook and YouTube as well as great resources including Wikipedia and Wolfram-Alpha are here to stay so that educators must use them in the teaching process.

Some time ago YouTube moved a lot of their educational content to a separate domain giving people access a broad set of educational videos. However, some complaints include the variety of the content found there as well as the need for schools to register on YouTube under the academic section in order to show their videos, leaving out many academics, professionals and students not formally associated with mainstream schools which contribute with great videos.

Many academics are posting great educational videos and materials online. The only problem is to sort the good ones from the rest and present them in an organized manner.

This effort is being done by: http://Utubersity.com which presents the best educational videos available on YouTube in an organized, easy to find way to watch and learn. It also links the videos to related content in Wikipedia or associated websites.

They are classified and tagged in a way that enables people to find these materials more easily and efficiently and not waste time browsing through pages of irrelevant search results.

The website also enhances the experience using other means such as recommending related videos, Wikipedia content and so on. There’s also a Spanish version called http://utubersidad.com

Mary McGlasson January 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

I’m sorry to say that I can no longer endorse Glogster, since they changed their pricing scheme for educators (there is no longer a free educator account of any kind). There is still the free basic account, but I much preferred the fact that the educator’s account was sort of a “walled garden” — students could see the rest of the class, or even search other educational glogs, but weren’t subjected to all of the other material out there.

Katy Berner January 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

I love Prezi. In my school district I teach teachers how to utilize the software in their classrooms with great success in an after school professional development course. My students use the software for almost every presentation in my high school English classroom. This year my students researched human rights issues and presented their information to the class using prezi. The benefits were amazing, stunts no longer needed to log me off the computer to access their information (because everything was online). Students could seamlessly add videos to help explain their ideas in a visual way, and students remained interested because of the movement on the screen. I created a class page on our school website so students could post, review and share their projects with their peers. Following the completion of the project I received a few emails from parents in the business world who asked me to teach them how to use the software as well. I love the fact it’s free and the learning curve is much shorter than the new PowerPoint.

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