Technology Integration

Create Engaging Presentations With Free iPad Apps

Whether improving on the traditional slide show or inspiring new adventures in information design, these free iPad tools help you capture attention and share information.

February 12, 2013 Updated December 3, 2015
Photo credit: Hans Gerhard Meier via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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!


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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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