Tech In Pedagogy

Tech Resources For Your Teaching

Presentation Resources and Options for the Classroom

The school year is approaching, and we will be back in the classroom soon.  I have added a few links to the Resources Page so I wanted to mention them.  In this post, I write about the links for presentation resources.  I will also refer to some better-known presentation tools that are still worth mentioning.

Let’s start with the common tools since I will be referring to them later to add context for the newer resources.

Google Slides: Slides is definitely a solid go-to presentation tool.  It is familiar to most of us because of its similarities to PowerPoint.  Although PowerPoint has many more bells and whistles, the biggest strength of Slides is its collaborative capabilities.  It is much easier to work with others in Google Slides that with most other presentation tools.  One positive feature of Google Slides is that it is easier to embed videos into a slide that as a simple link.  In addition, Google Slides offers web-publishing options and can be accessed on any device with an Internet connection.

Canva: Canva is an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop design platform that’s online and free to use. They have been around for about two years. The presentation templates are made up of images you can layer text, icons, band banners.

Prezi:  I will be honest, I have never been a big fan of Prezi.  I do think that it was one of the first big new presentation tool since it had distinct differences from PowerPoint and Google Slides.  Yes, Google Slides is much newer than PowerPoint, but the similarities are close enough that many view them as pretty much the same.  Prezi, however, has a much different look to it.  This quality can be both a strength and weakness.  On the one hand, it offers something different for the audience to look at.  At the same time, the learning curve can be a bit slow so the presentation may not be optimal since many users are still learning how to use the program effectively.

Emaze: Emaze is a presentation tool with many similarities to Prezi.  The program offers templates for the user to choose from and create interesting and original presentation tools.  Several templates are free, but more templates are available with a paid subscription.  I didn’t make it to the paid templates, but one of the free templates I really liked was the newspaper template.  This option is just as it sounds, a presentation laid out in newspaper format with a Prezi feel so the presenter can move from “article” to “article” on the front page.  Understanding that the same issues as found with Prezi still exist, this Emaze is worth looking at.

Haiku Deck:  A Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry.  A haiku has 17 syllables in three lines.  Each line has a prescribed amount of syllables. Line one has five syllables while line two has seven and line three has five.  I am not sure why the designers chose the name Haiku Deck.  I am guessing that it relates to the desire for Haiku Deck to be seen as a program for creating terse summary presentations.  I am not sure if I saw this shine through when I looked into this program.  I saw a resource with simply less features.  There does not seem to be any advantages to Haiku Deck that could not be found in another resource like Slides.  Still, it might be worth looking at.

Some things to consider: All these tools are worth looking at.  I am only giving my opinion of these tools.  Here are some things to consider with whatever presentation tool either you or your students use.

  1. Whatever resource you choose, remember that content comes first.  I have mentioned that many students will spend too much time on the visual aspects of a presentation to the detriment of time spent working on content.  Talk with your students about what a goes into creating a proper presentation, what the qualities of a good presentation are, and what a good presentation looks like.  (Unfortunately, this issue sometimes applies to teachers as well.)
  2. If you are requiring students to use a particular resource, take the time to take a tour of the tool with your class. Students are often less intuitive with these technologies than we think, and confusion can often lead to frustration.
  3. Building on bullet one, exercise the same principles in your own presentations.  Whatever presentation tool you choose, remember one thing.  Something original and refreshing will increase engagement, but something busy and gimmicky will reduce engagement.  One book I read recently that had interesting information about educational presentations is They Snooze, You Lose: The Educator’s Guide to Successful Presentations by Lynell Burmark.
  4. There are solid connections to the ISTE technology standards with the use of these resources.  Take advantage of this.  My first thoughts here go to the Creativity and Innovation and the Communication and Collaboration standards which can be found in the previous link.

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educational technologyEmazeGoogle SlidesHaiku deckISTEpresentation toolsPrezitechnology standards • August 10, 2015

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