connecting educators & enhancing learning
This semester I had the pleasure of working with a Child Development class in a high school. Instead of creating a PowerPoint or making a poster I had students use PhotoStory. Students created a video describing what first time parents could expect in a child’s development. The students seemed to really enjoy using PhotoStory. PowerPoint sometimes gets overused and boring. PhotoStory was a fun and different way to engage students in a project.
Slide is currently a free program with a slide show feature that allows users to display multiple pictures in a fun, engaging way. I used this particular program to display pictures that I took during a class project on my blog. The program allows you to upload the different pictures and use various animations or styles to “spice up” the final presentation. With three simple steps, educators can upload pictures, decide on the style, and instantly be given a code to embed into their blog or wiki.
Have you heard about Wordle? If not, you should check it out (www.wordle.net). It creates a colorful word cloud based on the text you input. The more frequent the word occurs, the bigger the word appears in the cloud. Well I found out of a new alternate to Wordle called Tagxedo (www.tagxedo.com). This free application produces colorful word clouds based on the text provided but will also create the cloud in various shapes. The website provides different shapes for users to pick, or they may upload their own pictures. I thought this would be a neat introductory activity for students to do on the first day of school and use their own pictures for the teacher to hang around the room. English and Social Studies teachers can probably find endless uses with this program.
This year I was presented with a new science curriculum and very minimal materials with which to cover the new material. A colleague introduced me to science gizmosand I was hooked. Science gizmos provide students with online experiements with which they can view, manipulate, and design. There are many different gizmos for each possible topic (e.g. states of matter) and each one comes with pre and post gizmo questions. There is also an online quiz that the students can take once they finish the activites and you can view the results and alter your teaching to address any topics that might need to be covered again.
Because this is an online experiment students can also complete or work through the experiements again once they get home. My students were hooked and loved to go home and show their parents what experiments we were doing in school.
The uses of PowerPoint in kiosk mode are awesome. I only used it to type text and show pictures before. I never realized it could be used for a stand-alone lesson. In physical education, we are looking for ways to cover content without losing activity time. The kiosk mode makes this possible. We can put content, pictures, rules, procedures, quizzes, and videos in one PowerPoint. The students control the movement of the PowerPoint, record their results, and can learn at their own pace. This is a great tool for covering content for an online portion of your class.
This tip isn't the most technologically jaw-dropping thing I've ever seen, but it is certainly useful. readwritethink.org has a plethora of useful graphic organizers for students to use as they write various essays. Each one can be used online and saved as a .jpg or printed. Here are a few of the ones I liked:
I totally agree with your view on Prezi Presentations. Students are so used to using PowerPoint that they get bored with it. They do the same thing over and over again. There is no excitement when creating a presentation. But Prezi allows you to play with the way you want your presentation to look like. I have used it a couple of times with my students and once they get over the idea of not using PowerPoint, they really get into it. I have had students turn in some pretty creative presentations that make you want to keep reading. Definitely a cool tool in introduce to students.