One of the signs of true technology integration is choice. When students have a choice to explain their learning in a variety of mediums, we’ve empowered them to take risks, add rigor and be unafraid to try new tools. It may be safe to say that the majority of students have created a PowerPoint presentation by the time they have finished middle school. It’s time to make sure we give them more options. Some of the latest presentation tools are Google Docs, iWork for iCloud, Haiku Deck, Prezi, Emaze and more. No matter what medium a student chooses, the best plan is to storyboard the presentation first. This “tuesdays” is to encourage you to give your student options for their presentations this year.
A creative website
Although any of the online presentation formats above are worth putting on an option list for your students, the one that is catching everyone’s attention these days is PowToon. This clever never format is a cross between “POW”erPoint and car”TOON”s. It’s intuitive interface looks just like any other presentation software when you first log in, but you can quickly find a variety of cartoon images to make your presentation one that no one has ever seen before. Perhaps the feature that caught my eye the first time I saw a Powtoon was the realistic hands grabbing and sliding pages across the screen. This fun way to explain a concept will take a little time to master. Don’t be fooled by its seemingly simple interface. It’s quite advanced. Your presentation can be in movie mode or presentation mode and then exported to any online channel (You Tube, Teacher Tube, etc). Unfortunately, you are only able to download your presentation if you upgrade to premium, but it is more than adequate to create and present online in the free version. You just have to put up with their snappy little commercial at the end. PowToon is a great way to add a refreshing change to any presentation. Warning! PowToon can be addictive!
An image to share
A Powtoon I am working on
“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.”
Sometimes it is very difficult to let our students use tools that we do know how to use or perhaps have never even heard about. However, I would like to encourage you to think about this for a minute. If we give our students options to use any type of presentation software that they like, we remove the need to teach the tool! Teaching students each step of the process rather than concentrating on the quality of the content can waste so much instructional time. If a student wants to choose Prezi or PowToon, they are on their own to watch video tutorials or other help manuals. It is just amazing how much students learn from YouTube today. It’s a normal process for them so let’s give them the opportunity to teach themselves some innovation forms of presentation and if they can’t figure it out or have no desire to push themselves, they can always return to PowerPoint. Just remind them that PowerPoint is so – 90’s!
How do you do that?
How do you use PowToon? After creating a FREE account, I highly recommend taking a pre-made presentation and tweaking it. This will afford you the opportunity to change the text, add/subtract characters and edit the slides. The most interesting part to me is the slide bar timeline at the bottom of each presentation slide. As you slide the red triangle, you can see each of the animations on the screen. When you add a new character, text or image, it may not seem to be where you want it, but sliding the timeline reveals all the moves on your slide. You can play each slide individually or from the beginning. It’s quite ingenious. Make sure you look at the variety of characters and sample what others have made to get an idea of what looks good (and what does not.) Most importantly, make a rough draft storyboard of each of the slides before constructing your presentation. Good luck and please consider giving your students options, options, options!
As always, I am