Beyond PowerPoint – Prezi and Glogster

JoyThiefBy Ashley McFadin — Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

That is never more true than in education.  I am highly guilty of saying to myself, “I was never like this in 9th grade.”

While that may be true, it’s humbling to remind myself that I was not part of this global generation of which my current students are a part.  The current 9th graders and I do have something in common, however.  And that is the art of eyes glazing over during a PowerPoint presentation.

Students, especially adolescents, have to be engaged visually during a presentation in order to pay the remotest attention.

Glogster – Teachers love posters.  That’s a fact.  Glogster is a web-based program that let’s students design interactive posters.  We have had many teachers to digital gallery walks in computer labs so that students can learn from their peers.

Prezi – This web-based presentation maker is similar to PowerPoint.  You type in your information on slides with a header and bullet points.  But, that is where the similarities end.  Prezi is highly animated, making it difficult for students to predict where on the screen the presenter will is going next.  Not only is this tool visually engaging, but it can also stretch a student’s creativity in trying to engage their peers. For example, students can even design the shape of their presentation.  I once had a student give a presentation about an element on Prezi.  When he zoomed out at the end of his speech, the presentation was the shape of the atom’s nucleus, with each subatomic particle being a talking point of his presentation.  Needless to say, his peers were very impressed.

The best part about both of these programs?  They’re free and intuitive for students to figure out on their own.  So, not only are you having your students create an engaging presentation, they are also thinking critically in navigating new sites and troubleshooting issues.  And that is definitely a win-win for teachers and students alike.

What other types of presentation software do you use in your classroom?

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