Archive for September, 2011

Presenting, Prezi

Judging by the number of teachers that requested last year that I work with their students on improving Powerpoint presentations, I can infer two things:

1. “Present to the class” assignments are popular

2. And yet, you all as teachers aren’t terribly impressed with your students’ presentations.

So I will offer today an alternative to Powerpoint presentation software: web-based Prezi.

Prezi is a cloud based presentation editor, which means that presentations are created and stored online, rather than on a hard drive PC or student H drive.

Pros:

  • It is different than Powerpoint, which alone can help to break student Powerpoint dependancy (slide after slide of bulleted lists read to the audience)
  • It allows for easy embedding and showing of YouTube videos
  • Because of the way you create presentations, it requires critical thinking about sequencing of the information presented

Cons:

  • Students have to create their own accounts, which can lead to forgotten passwords, etc
  • There is a definite learning curve because it is so different from Powerpoint (which students have used so many times at this point)
  • Free accounts that your students would create default to public, which means that their presentations are open for the world to see
  • Presentations are saved online, which means that if the site is having server issues, students wouldn’t be able to present
  • There is a way to download and save a version of the presentation, but I am fairly unfamiliar with the process and know that it saves in zipped form

Here is a simple sample Prezi presentation that I created to work with Mrs. Sadrakula’s Leadership students:

(the image is linked to see the full presentation)

As always, let me know if you would like me to introduce your students to this tool!

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Helping students save and organize info on the web- Delicious!

I want to highlight the web tool Delicious today and outline potential uses for students. Delicious is called a social bookmarking service, but has so many potential uses in the classroom. Basically, it allows the saving of bookmarks, only unlike doing so in your browser, you can access your bookmarks on any computer- home, school, laptop, library desktop- wherever! Other features that enhance classroom use:

  • You (students) can ‘tag’ bookmarks with descriptors to facilitate organization and retrieval (by unit of study, by paragraph subtopic in essay writing research, etc)
  • Students can discover new websites and resources by looking at what others have bookmarked with descriptive tags
  • You could have students bookmark webpages that you would like them to read and/or visit throughout the year

To give you an idea, take a look at my Delicious account:

I know, I'm a nerd.

My students in Information & Society have set up accounts with the purpose of gathering information about a Personal Interest Topic that they have chosen. Throughout the semester, they will be adding bookmarks, tagging them for organization, reading and learning more about their topic and reflecting on their learning growth within the topic. Those that are seniors are using Delicious to gather Senior Project information.

Already, a number of them are venturing beyond the assignment requirements and are saving and organizing other links beyond their Personal Interest Topic. THEY ARE CHOOSING TO SAVE, ORGANIZE, PRIORITIZE, AND MANAGE THEIR OWN INFORMATION!! ON THEIR OWN!!

As always, please contact me if you would like me to help you make use of this tool with your students!

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