As distance learning becomes part of our “new normal”, teachers are working harder than ever to implement effective online teaching methods and to make good use of tools for online learning. It can be hard to decide which new tools, if any, are worth investing time in, and time is of the essence.
Today, I’ll be sharing my favorite tried and true distance learning projects with Genially, an all-in-one tool for creating interactive and animated presentations, quizzes, interactive images, escape games, infographics and more. The major advantages of this freemium tool are that it allows students and teachers to make an unlimited number of creations and the same tool can be used to make almost anything, allowing you to save on time.
Plus, external content such as Youtube videos, audios, Google documents, maps, images, widgets, social media posts, gifs, etc. can be painlessly inserted into anything you make. The ability to insert just about anything allows students to quickly embellish creations.
Three types of projects my students make with Genially
As promised, here are my big 3 for student projects:
1. Class Newspaper: I’ve tried every version of this project, and my students always love it. I’ve had each student focus on a certain month of WWII, an animal, stage in photosynthesis and events revolving around a specific character from a book we’ve read. Here’s a short example of a newspaper with three events from the beginning of June 1944 of WWII: https://view.genial.ly/5f587ce6fb459312f090388c.
You can find the newspaper template in Genially’s Presentation category.
2. Interactive Research Poster: My students jump at the chance to use Genially for their presentations and posters. They get a kick out of animating elements and adding in videos to show me and their classmates. Again, I’ve had students make interactive posters when studying different countries, species, places, books, landforms… you name it. Check out these examples:
While you can use tons of templates for these, many of my students choose the Interactive Image format where they choose a single background image which they add buttons to.
3. Review Zoo: I always reserve some class time for students to add to the “Review Zoo”, which is a Google doc where students can paste links to resources that have helped them review class topics. By the second half of the year, I ask them to make their own creations to help classmates review a section of what we’ve learned that they’ve chosen to be Experts in. I’ve been blown away by what they’ve made: everything from escape games to infographics to video presentations. For example: https://view.genial.ly/5f50db6145f5d40d66ce5b1d.
Taking Your First Steps with Genially
In order to introduce Genially to the classroom, I suggest learning how to create an interactive image yourself and then walking students through the process and asking them to create one on the topic of their choice. This can be a fun activity for the start of the school year and gives students a chance to share a bit of who they are. They pick things up quickly from there.
For your own first steps, here’s a full tutorial on making interactive images. You can consult the Help Center as needed. If you’re looking to learn more, check out the Genially Academy, a platform filled with free online courses on topics ranging from the Genially basics to more advanced topics like learning landscapes and visual storytelling.
When I’m learning to use new tools in the classroom, I remind myself to start small and build from there, and I’d encourage you to do the same by investing a little bit of time in the tools you think are most likely to add value to your lessons. As always, I hope these ideas help you in your teaching.