Do you ever feel your students are suffering from ‘death by powerpoint’? Hopefully not but there are times when you can’t get away from using powerpoint. Whether you need to present something or the students have been tasked with presenting, there are a range of alternatives which could be used to make your lessons more engaging. Or better still, which your students can use to create engaging presentations.
1. Animoto – this is a great way for students to create a presentation video. You need to upload a series of images, enter any text and choose or upload a soundtrack. There is a strict limit on characters for the text which forces students to think about what they want to say (and avoids the page of text read out which is often seen with powerpoint.)
As a teacher, you can use animoto in a huge number of ways. You should also register for an education account (you will need to use your school e-mail) – this gives you the chance to create unlimited length videos and download them too. It also gives you an education code to give your students so they can register and full access too.
Videos are web-based so can be shared easily by copying the web address (into Moodle for example). Please share any great examples (you or the students create) here and I’ll add them to this blog post.
2. Prezi – a fabulous tool to work with (again, you will need to register as an educator with your school email to get the best access but it is free). The whole interface has recently be overhauled dramatically since I first showed it to staff last year. Presentations do take longer than powerpoints to create but they are much more engaging for the students and the students are more creative when putting a presentation together in this way. The best way to learn how to use it is to just have a play around creating and inserting images. You can search for existing prezis on the site that other users have created. You can also download copies of your presentations in flash format and save onto your computer or memory stick to use offline. Otherwise you will need an internet connection to access your presentations. You cannot edit your presentations offline (this is a paid-for feature.) For beginners, there are a set of tutorials here. An example of a presentation is below – I used this about 18 months ago to introduce some new ideas to staff – many of which you will be familiar with.
3. Stupeflix – this is an alternative to animoto which has some interesting extra features. Again, it is fee to register for the basic package and like Animoto, there is an Education option. This is more advanced than Animoto and gives you the ability to access student accounts – a detailed guide is here.
4. Google presentation – this is particularly useful (and easy) for students to use when working together on a presentation outside of the lesson – if they have Google accounts, they can sign in, set up and share a presentation. Because it is web-based, there is no need to email files or share memory sticks – they just need a Google account and an internet connection. This also means that there are no excuses (I’ve lost my memory stick) when it comes to presenting the next lesson.
5. Helloslide – is an interesting alternative to powerpoint. Visually it is great. You can upload a pdf file and it turns it into a presentation. What is completely different to the other alternatives above is that you overlay the slides with text of your choice but when the presentation is run, the text becomes an audio commentary instead. The voiceover is far better than I thought it would be. Useful for independent learning if the students have headphones or are working from home.