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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Engaging an audience is an important part of getting your message across. If you're tired of your normal routine, try sharing information with your class or sparking a discussion with one of the free iPad apps in this post. Introducing a topic with embedded video clips and sharing graphics or images to convey information are some of the ways to keep students interested in content and engaged in your presentation.

There are so many fantastic free iPad apps that are great for the classroom. Whether you have access to a single iPad for creating presentations or your students are creating their own presentations in a 1:1 or shared-device classroom, you'll want to add these to your must-have list!

Keynote

The iPad app for Keynote has come a long way since it was first introduced. Simple slide-based presentations can be a thing of the past thanks to the dynamic, iPad-friendly tools built into Keynote. You can choose from dozens of themes to set the tone of a presentation. Students and teachers can add graphics, layer images, and customize the font for every slide. In addition to what you see on the screen, the Keynote app gives users the ability to add animation and transitions as well as include presenter's notes. This is free on all newer iPads but may have to be purchased for older devices.

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is perfect for the classroom and extremely student friendly. This app was originally designed to create slides with a photo background and a small amount of text (in the spirit of haiku, the minimal Japanese poetry form). The current version gives options for bulleted lists and more text. This app provides a gallery of images to choose from, and uses words on your slide to help you find the ideal background. However, you also have the option of uploading your own photos. I've used Haiku Deck to share teaching points, give short writing prompts, and just switch it up from my usual presentation style by focusing on images as opposed to text. It doesn't take long to build a presentation, and students can use it to create their own, too.

Canva

If you create slide-based presentations, you can easily change up your slide design with Canva. This online graphic design tool lets users make posters, calendars, and more. Both the iPad app and website feature a presentation slide option, and you can also design slides with custom dimensions. Canva provides tons of images, shapes, backgrounds, and text options to design individual or master slides for presentations.

ShowMe

There are a few free iPad apps that I love using for screencasting. This practice is a great way for teachers to present material to their class, and it's simple enough for students to create their own presentations. These apps allow users to record their screen and voice as they write, draw, or annotate an image. It captures the action of users writing on a digital whiteboard as well as the sound of the user speaking while he or she writes. ShowMe is a wonderful free choice for iPad users.

Nearpod

Nearpod is a fantastic BYOD (bring your own device) resource for educators. Teachers can design interactive presentations that students can view on their iPads. When you embed elements like a quiz, poll, or drawing response, students can digitally interact with teacher-led presentations. It's a powerful tool for iPad classrooms and provides tons of free options for teachers.

SnapGuide

If you're looking to create simple how-to presentations for your class -- or if you want them to create their own step-by-step guides -- then you must try SnapGuide. This free app allows users to create their own multi-step guides that include text, images, and video. Snap pictures or take video straight from your iPad camera or import from your camera roll. Add text to each slide and publish. This is a fantastic tool for presenting instructions, directions, or expectations to your class, and it's simple enough for students to create their own.

Prezi

Another free presentation tool that I love is Prezi. This app uses a single canvas instead of swipeable slides. All of the information for your presentation goes on one page. You create pathways around your canvas so that your text, pictures, and video clips appear in the order that you decide. The Prezi iPad app allows users to access presentations that they've created on the Prezi website, or you can create your own using just the app. It's is a great way to change your usual routine, and it's not hard to learn. There are lots of pre-made presentations to use as inspiration or to modify for your classroom. My favorite part of Prezi is the way it wows a crowd.

Have you used these apps before? Are there other presentation tools that you love? What's your favorite way to present to your audience of students and/or staff members?

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Erin Merritt's picture
Erin Merritt
Secondary English Teacher

I am very interested in working with ScreenChomp. My students are working on grammar - complements and verbals. They are struggling and I am looking for a way to differentiate instruction and involve a greater variety of activities and strategies. My school uses BlackBoard as our primary resource. Am I able to use this in combination with that? I would like my students to at least see me going over homework examples (yes, part of the "drill and kill") on worksheets before they apply it to their own writing. Any ideas? Thank you!

The Edumicator's picture

It sounds like Educreations is similar to ShowMe. ShowMe is a free whiteboard app that allows you to record the "lesson" and insert photos. Plus, you're able to upload the videos to their site and watch/download those to your computer.

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of ClassTechTips.com

ShowMe is fantastic too, and definitely falls into this category - thanks for sharing! [quote]It sounds like Educreations is similar to ShowMe. ShowMe is a free whiteboard app that allows you to record the "lesson" and insert photos. Plus, you're able to upload the videos to their site and watch/download those to your computer.[/quote]

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of ClassTechTips.com

You could post links to your ScreenChomp creations (upload them straight to YouTube) that show off these different grammar strategies. [quote]I am very interested in working with ScreenChomp. My students are working on grammar - complements and verbals. They are struggling and I am looking for a way to differentiate instruction and involve a greater variety of activities and strategies. My school uses BlackBoard as our primary resource. Am I able to use this in combination with that? I would like my students to at least see me going over homework examples (yes, part of the "drill and kill") on worksheets before they apply it to their own writing. Any ideas? Thank you![/quote][quote]I am very interested in working with ScreenChomp. My students are working on grammar - complements and verbals. They are struggling and I am looking for a way to differentiate instruction and involve a greater variety of activities and strategies. My school uses BlackBoard as our primary resource. Am I able to use this in combination with that? I would like my students to at least see me going over homework examples (yes, part of the "drill and kill") on worksheets before they apply it to their own writing. Any ideas? Thank you![/quote]

SouthShoreEric's picture
SouthShoreEric
Improving student engagement with Blended Learning & Digital Storytelling

Since this post was made, we have released our 30hands photo storytelling app that is free on iPads, iPhones and iPods. It allows students and teachers to create stories or presentations based on photos, images or slides and add audio narration and drawing annotation to them. It's a different paradigm that allows for some unique types of creativity.

Try it out here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/30hands/id605013231?mt=8

Thanks!

jgilgus's picture

I am applying for a tech integration specialist position. As part of the interview process, they are requiring applicants to submit a training video created on an iPad. The video must highlight how you would showcase your training skills. They ask for us to create a video demonstrating how you would work with teachers learning to implement Explain Everything, Notability, iPhoto, or GarageBand. Anyone have suggestions?

SouthShoreEric's picture
SouthShoreEric
Improving student engagement with Blended Learning & Digital Storytelling

Show them your creativity and ability to iterate and create a great story/presentation using the free 30hands mobile app on your iPad.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

I'd be sure that you're modeling the use of the tool to solve a problem that really exists for the teachers you'd be serving. Start with the problems you know exist, then talk through the process of sorting through a variety of options in order to select the best one.

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