Thursday, May 14, 2015

Presentation Tools, Edcamp Style!

In January, I had the opportunity to plan a half-day technology professional development in-service for my fellow teachers. After using a Google Form to assess what they most wanted to learn, I wasn't surprised when presentation tools prevailed as the requested topic. After all, we share our knowledge with our students through presentations, and we often ask them to prepare presentations to share what they've learned as well!

I decided that the best plan of attack would be an Edcamp style day, with expert teachers sharing, modeling, and guiding groups who wanted to learn a particular presentation tool. With just a half-day, I wanted to have enough options that teachers could learn more than one tool, but not so many that they didn't have time to play with the tools they learned and actually create lessons they planned to use. I recruited 3 teachers to lead sessions with me, so we taught four presentation tools.

Deb presented PowToon: Create animated presentations and explainer videos! It's engaging and as easy to use as PowerPoint. Templates are available, or you can design your own. She even blogged about using PowToon for IDOE's Web 2.0 Challenge! Free, with upgrades available for a fee.

Leslie presented Thing Link: Add links to all sorts of media--videos, music, web pages, notes, presentations, assignments--to an image of your choice to make an interactive presentation! Browse the gallery for publicly shared ThingLinks on a variety of topics. Free, with upgrades available for a fee.

Ashley presented Emaze: Fluid, 3D templates allow the viewer to glide through these presentations with ease! Multiple templates to choose from, and users can customize. Users can also explore the 2 million+ Emazes already created.

I presented Blendspace: Create lessons with digital content in five minutes! Blendspace allows teachers to collect and curate web content, add their own content, and present lessons, complete with assessments if desired, in one spot. With a gallery of teacher-created content to browse, users can build from a publically shared blendspace or start from scratch. Here's my Blendspace presentation:


Most teachers had time to learn about and experiment with two different presentation tools, and I know they started using them based on the number of questions they were asking me about them afterward. Even better, when I asked students if they were seeing or using any of these presentation tools in their classroom, they could respond affirmatively! However, several months later, teachers and students agreed that most of us had reverted to the tools we are most familiar with--PowerPoint and Google Slides. With this in mind, I gave a friendly reminder of our Edcamp tools, and then designed a Google Slides Tech Tuesday to explore some possibilities of this go-to tool that teachers may not have considered. I'll share my Google Slides Is More than a PowerPoint presentation tomorrow!

What are your favorite presentation tools to use for lessons? Which are your favorites for students to use? Please share!