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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Create Engaging Presentations with Free iPad Apps

If you are tired of PowerPoint and Keynote, it's easy to change up your normal routine. As much as I love these presentation tools, it's important to keep my audience engaged, and often a quick deviation from the usual is the perfect trick.

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

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is perfect for the classroom and extremely student-friendly. This app allows you to create slides with a photo background and a small amount of text (think haiku). It 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 to upload 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 make one, and students can use it to create their own presentations, too.

Prezi

Another free presentation tool I love is Prezi. Prezi 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 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 the app alone.

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.

Screencasting: Educreations, ScreenChomp and Doceri

There are a few free iPad apps that I love using for screencasting. It's 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 that's taking place as users write on the digital whiteboard as well as the sound of the user speaking while he or she writes.

I use Educreations in the same way that I'd use a SMART Board simulator. Educreations allows you to use your iPad screen as a blank canvas to write on while recording your entire session. I might take a picture of a word problem on a student handout, open it in this app and circle keywords or underline important information for the class. I can record what is happening as I write on the screen, and these short videos can be played back for the whole class.

ScreenChomp is perfect for students and teachers. It has a very user-friendly interface and also allows users to record their writing and voice as they work on the screen. Videos can be saved in the app, uploaded to social media or emailed. I like to have students create tutorials using ScreenChomp and present their work to the class.

In Doceri, not only can users write on the screen, there are also some features that set it apart from other screencasting apps. Doceri has lots of choices for colors, shapes and lines, but the best part has to be the option to save your video directly to your iPad's camera roll. This makes it easy to save and share your Doceri screencasts with others, and it's perfect for creating presentations that will be used when there is limited wireless access.

SnapGuide

If you're looking to create simple how-to presentations for your class -- or want them to create their own step-by-step guides -- 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 to present instructions, directions or expectations to your class, and it's simple enough for students to create their own.

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

This blog is part of a series sponsored by Herff Jones.

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