App awesomeness: Adobe Voice, Prezi, Google Slides, and Explain Everything

And we’re BACK!

After a luxuriously long and restful three weeks of Winter Break, the staff at my school came stumbling back yesterday morning. We got right to business with our third EduCon, dubbed the WinterCon. We’ve received so much buzz around the district about these events that we had visitors from the district office who wanted to witness firsthand how we run things. The idea is that it will spread, and that other sites will choose to hold their own teacher-led professional development on in-service days.

This time around we featured the following sessions:

  • Presentation Apps: Adobe Voice, Prezi, Google Slides, and Explain Everything
  • Google Apps for Education
  • App Smashing: Pic Collage, Tellagami, Funny Movie Maker, iMovie, and Aurasma
  • Desmos
  • Maker Spaces
  • EdPuzzle

As you can see, we had quite a few amazing options. Based on staff feedback, they were very pleased with the content of the sessions they attended.

I led the session about presentation apps. While these are useful for educators, they’re particularly useful for demonstrating student learning. One of my favorite summative assessments is a brief presentation (no more than 5 slides and/or one minute) explaining a concept or idea that they learned during a unit. The students then submit a link to that presentation. Just think: if they can teach it, then they obviously understand it. And if they didn’t understand it before, they definitely will after creating a presentation!

Here’s an overview of the apps I covered:

Adobe Voice

I was excited to feature an app that’s new to us this school year: Adobe Voice. This app creates beautiful presentations within a simple interface. There are so many customization options, including themes and music. I REALLY like it, and I’m hoping others will give it a try with their students.  Here’s my tutorial: http://bit.ly/1OYSJwL.

Google Slides

I also covered Google Slides, which is updated with templates for the iPad. This is a really simple but elegant app as well, with the option for students to collaboratively create a presentation. For this tutorial, it’s more of a step-by-step method that leads participants through creating a presentation, rather than just basic information about the features: http://bit.ly/1Q2j4J5.

Prezi

Prezi has been a popular presentation program for computers, but they have a simplified version for the iPad as well. This is another simple app with customizations. However, I feel the learning curve is a little bit higher on this one. That being said, if your students are giving an oral presentation, this is a good one to use: http://bit.ly/1ONbT6S.

Explain Everything

Finally, we spent some time exploring the many features of Explain Everything. This app is LOADED, and gives the use the ability to create outstanding presentations and screencasts. This was another tutorial that required participants to do different steps in order to explore all of the basic features: http://bit.ly/1ONc0zc.

Using them in the classroom

If I want my students to give an oral presentation, I prefer to have them use Google Slides or Prezi. These apps don’t allow them to record their voice, although they can show a video within a slide.

If I want them to narrate their presentation and submit it to me, then Adobe Voice and Explain Everything are the best options. However, since both apps produce a video, I could have them press play if I wanted them to use it for an oral presentation.

Either way, I’d have them submit links to me so that I can watch them on my own and grade them. Be sure to set parameters in terms of number of slides, photos, length of time, etc., otherwise you could be setting yourself up for many hours of grading!



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