Beyond Power Point



Web 2.0 Presentation Tools



I will evaluate two presentation tools that I found interesting and easy to use.
The first is called 280 Slides.  This tool will allow you to create a slideshow directly on the web, no software required.  Professional quality, built-in themes.  All photos and movies to your presentation directly from popular web services like FlicKr and YouTube.  Store your presentations securely so you can take them anywhere in the world where there's an Internet connection.  Download to PowerPoint with a single click.  Put your presentation on SlideShare, e-mail it to a friend, or embed it directly on your own website.  The site is user friendly.

The second presentation tool is called Prezi.  With Prezi you can create maps of texts, images, videos, PDFs, drawings and present in a nonlinear way.  Since everything is in the same space, you can play with the scaling of the presentation, title, different sections, and you can keep zooming to see the details.  Prezi allows you to create amazing presentations on the web.  If you think you've heard that too many times don't stop reading just yet, because this one is just plain awesome.   It's an entirely Flash-based app that lets you break away from the slide-by-slide approach of most presentations.  Instead, it allows you to create non-linear presentations where you can zoom in and out of a visual map containing words, links, images, videos, etc.

To get started, you can use both sites for free.  Simple log in to http://280slides.com/ or http://prezi.com/.


Our school district took part in professional development a week before students arrived for the first day of school. During this training, we were shown a number of technology tools to engage students. Among the technological teaching tools shared with our schools district, were some of the resources listed in our course resources.

I am currently using Slideshare and Animoto. Slideshare offers a number of free slide presentations that are specific to various topics or settings. For instance, I used the slideshow on bullying for my health education class. There are also slide shows for business meetings and other professional settings. On the other hand, Animoto, is an excellent and exciting way to show of pictures and audio. The styles are eye catching and the finished product looks professional. Both webtools are user friendly, however, to get the most out of Animoto there is an annual fee.

Since I am familiar with both of these web tools, I am also aware of the special features and demos that each offer. File sharing with both is simple and the sound quality of Animoto is outstanding.

One other great web tool I may use in the future is OpenZine. I love the high color quality of the program and the usefulness for my health classes. Students could create an original article and use research they collected to share with other students. I tested out the program and used my own photos to perform a test run. It seems pretty easy to use and I like the newspaper or magazine layout of the page.

As a Gmail.com user, I utilize many of the Google products including Picasso. This web tool allows me to store photos on line in albums and add captions and tags. I can also save space on my computer and keep a library of important photos in one place.

If I may, I would like to add more web tools that I use in my class. My students use these web tools for presentations and for creating public service announcements. These particular web tools are very engaging and students share their work with other students:

Edmodo.com: Similar to Facebook. Students can post their assignments, chat with other students, upload links to interesting websites, and create polls. I have each of my classes set up on separate Edmodo pages. I can also add teachers to share in the discussions.

Polleverywhere.com: Students create polls that they can answer with their cellphones or online. I can use this web tool for formative assessments and for debates.

Dvolver.com: This is a fun animation moviemaker type program that allows students to create a scenario, public service announcement, or advertisement. It uses cartoon characters that students select. Once students create their animation, they may send it (with a link) via email


I looked at two presentation tools. The first tool was Prezi and the second was Glogster. I felt that the Prezi was much easier to work with than the Glogster software. In Prezi the only thing I did not like was that I couldn’t add pictures. They had to be saved on my computer somewhere and I had no pictures that could be used. I am not sure if there is a way to use pictures from other sources. You need internet access to use this software. I could not find any animations or sounds to use on Prezi where Glogster had both however they had to be saved on your computer previously.  The nice thing about Prezi is it has online training right on the website where Glogster does not. I found myself getting frusterated with Gloster because I could not figure out how to use the tools on the site. I don’t believe there is a way to share your fileswith other but your presentation can be saved to your computer to presented at a later date. The greatest thing about Prezi is that it is free.  Both of these presentation softwares are very motivational and I can see them engaging my students during projects. I think that for this course Prezi would be a better choice. Prezi has the tutorial that you can watch before creating your own. The pictures and animations on Glogster are definitely geared more towards the teenage audience. If I were using this type of software in my own classroom I would have the students use Glogster due to the choice of animations and pictures.


I am an educator who is into trying new things all the time.  I experimented with several of the presentation tools that were provided to me.  The first presentation tool I used was googledocs.  Because I already use Google for a lot of things, I found that tool very easy to manipulate.  I already had an iGoogle page for an RSS feed so it was very easy to work with the googledocs tool.  I like using this particular website because I am granted access to it at the school where I teach and also it is free.  Our school blocks many websites that has blogging so I am afraid I may not be able to access any of the other tools. 

Even though access to these presentation tools may be denied at school, I can still use them at home, so I decided to try out a few more.  I used the Prezi and found it invigorating.  I loved this particular tool because of how easy it was to set up.  I like anything that is free and the use of this presentation tool was free as well.  I like the circles that move for the changes as well as the different frames that can be used to create a Prezi.  I was really impressed.  I began my project using Prezi.

I tried to use Globster but decided against it since it seemed more like a blog.  I find these types of websites a little bland.  The last presentation tool that I decided to use was Vuvox.  I really liked this presentation tool.  I found it to be quite easy as well.  I went ahead and began a collage channel with pictures from my past.  The link is http://www.vuvox.com/collage/detail/031096f745.  I was really impressed with this tool as well.  I think my third graders would definitely be able to use this particular presentation tool.  I do not know if I have the time for all of this but I am going to try to make the time.  I was truly fascinated as I always am with technology.






This week I was asked to evaluate presentation tools and share them on my newly created science blog. I flipped through a few of them and nothing really compared to Prezi (the suggested presentation tool). The Prezi presentation tool was very user friendly and offered several tutorials that walked you through the applications of the material. The main control unit on the Prezi was the zebra. In this navigational tool, the user can move, scale, and rotate the text in the presentation. Another tool available is the main control, located in the upper left hand corner. Through this control you can also incorporate multi-media uploaded files, provide a directional approach to the presentation, add color, and frame text. This presentation tool is available from any internet access location and also offers the ability to download a presentation when internet access is not available. This presentation tool is free and easy to use.
Another presentation tool that I took for a test drive this week was PreZentit. In this glorified version of Microsoft’s Power Point software, you can create slide shows using vibrant images and text. This free tool allows you to work at the same time with a team of people with public or private settings. The work is downloadable so you can access it when internet access is not available. The one thing I didn’t like about this presentation tool is that it was hard to manage text with images. Every time an image was brought in it would void out any existing text. There was not an available tutorial but the similarities to Power Point give the user a sense of ease in the familiarity of the programs.
The last presentation tool that I examined this week was Google Sites. This free tool advertised that it was easy to set up and control information but the three different times I tried to access the information it was unavailable. Speaking from a reliability standpoint, I would not recommend a site that cannot offer consistent service.





I looked at Google Docs, and found them somewhat difficult to use. Even though the interface is intended to be similar to other familiar user interfaces and therefore intuitive, I did not find this to be so.

I also looked at VoiceThread. Here the user interface is simple, and the time to learn how to put together a presentation is also fairly low. The presentations I found seem simplistic, however, and I do not see a lot of advantage over a regular PowerPoint presentation.

The third tool I looked at was Prezi. I found it to be not so much intuitive as just plain simple. There are also tutorials on the site if I get stuck. Most of all, I found myself going back to Prezi as I had ideas to try out. I also kept getting “stuck” on the Prezi site looking at presentations previously created. I find the presentations there catchy and artistic as well as clean and easy to follow.

In general, I am wary of new technology tools that are used in the classroom just because they are new. I have a curriculum that is already overly full, and I have to think long and hard before adding something that could take a considerable amount of time. I always have to consider the balance of student learning time and engagement along with the planning time I have to give. Given this concern, I can see where these presentation tools can be useful, both for teaching and for learning. I can see the possibility of me developing presentations for my students. Even more important, I can see the possibilities of student-developed presentations that can be used to share and assess student learning. Because of the ease and artistic nature of Prezi, I would be most likely to introduce this tool to my students than any of the others I have previewed so far.


As an aside, I used the Nintendo Wii this semester during my physical fitness unit. First, students were taught movements without the Wii and they applied these movements using the video game. Students reported that the Wii was much more fun even though they were doing the exact same movements prior to using the Wii system.


Podcasting is one of the latest trends that the digital generation uses to access information online. Using this digital tool in the science classroom would capture students’ interest in technology while applying it to scientific concepts. One application of using podcasts in the scientific setting would be a podcast scavenger hunt. Given any scientific topic (such as the phases of matter), the teacher could prerecord a series of podcasts that offer up clues to the next podcast in a series. As students piece together these scientific clues, they will be led through a series of information related to the scientific topic. The first podcast could show several phases of matter and pose questions about the different phases an element, such as water, could take. The final question would be open-ended so that it guides them toward an inquiry led approach to learning. This method of intertwining technology, science, and a scavenger hunt will capture the attention of learners that are typically disengaged by the traditional lecture approach to teaching.

To add differentiation to the activity, students would be given choices within the scavenger hunt. Some choices would allow for them to practice the scientific concept in a traditional paper pencil manner, others would guide them toward an interactive web based activity, and another might facilitate them in creating their own extension podcast to share with the class. By adding in this choice you are addressing the different learning styles within your classroom as well as the multiple intelligences. Choice in learning allows the students to take ownership over their learning and engages them on a deeper level.


One great idea to make science projects more interesting is for the students to create video interviews of experts (well rehearsed co students) about the project’s subject matter (Edutopia, 2010). Another idea that will prove to be a curiosity enhancer is creating avatars (cartoonish caricatures with human-like dimensions) (Edutopia, 2010). These animated creations can act as de facto masters of ceremonies in conducting a video presentation of the concept under investigation.


The tool I use to engage and motivate my students about science is the interactive technology Turning Point. Turning Point allows questions to be asked during whole group instruction. I often use Turning Point to review a topic I'm covering. Students use the Turning Point clickers to answer questions. Turning Point allows me to receive instant feedback on how my class is understanding a topic.

Turning Point audience response system integrates 100% into Microsoft-PowerPoint and allows students to participate in presentations or lectures by submitting responses to interactive questions using a Response Card Keypad.

Using a Turning Point audience response system, your PowerPoint presentations become powerful data collection and assessment tools that collect real-time audience responses and dramatically improve productivity and results for the students.

Teachers can ask not only multiple choice, but also alphanumeric, multiple response, short answer and essay questions. (Turning Point, 2010)

The technological skills used will be that of reading and assessing content with instant feedback and results.

The learning experience meets the diverse needs of the students that enter my classroom everyday. Many of my students are audio/visual learners. They are more successful picking up a concept because they can see a visual with the explanation. Also, many of my low-level learners need the added repetition of the content, this is a great way to engage the learner.


Other ways that I use the technology that I have in the classroom is to set up the computers as a web quest station in the class. The students rotate into the station and complete a web quest on a subject and complete a simple research questionnaire on the subject. While this seems rather simple for the students to complete I have found that using the computer for more than entertainment is something new to the students.


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