Alternative Presentation Resources

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

School buildings closed for the rest of the year and universities shuttered their doors, but education must and does go on. In my formerly face-to-face classes, presentations we scheduled for live audiences are now going to be online. Alternatives to live presentations are many, and I will share some of them in this post.

First things first, though: How do you choose an online presentation tool?

  1. Determine what aspects of the presentation you will assess and how that will be done. What gets assessed depends on your tolerance for new technologies (or willingness to try them) and that of your students. Remember that many of them will be trying out tools they have never used before.
  2. Are you able to support your students as they try out new digital tools? If not, are they able to find the support they need? Check out this post on the lazy classroom for a few ideas about how much to challenge your students to try new tech tools.

Onward to some curated resources that you may find helpful. Add your own in the comments, and you might enjoy this post by our colleague, Renee Hobbs where she shares examples of some digital tools she uses.

People working

There are a variety of free digital, web-based resources available for instructors, educators, and learners to create useful and meaningful multimedia presentations. Keep reading.

MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATION TOOLS

Tool Options

Glogster: Tool for creating interactive, innovative multimedia posters, glogs, and more. Read more here.

Prezi: Tool for creating visual presentations that allows you or the viewer to zoom in “to the details” or out to show the “big picture.”

VoiceThread: VoiceThread is an interactive tool that permits creators to add video, still images, audio, and text using a variety of tools.  Creators can enable comment features that permit viewers to add their own thoughts to the presentation.

Flipgrid allows users to post short videos to which others can reply asynchronously.

Narrated PowerPoint® posted to SlideShare, AuthorStream, Vimeo, or YouTube. PowerPoint includes a narration/dictate option and can be uploaded or converted for online presentation using one of the tools linked above.

PowToon is a popular and powerful video tool that is user-friendly.

You can also read the following reviews of some of these tools and a discussion of other tools here:

8 Great Free Digital Presentation Tools for Teachers to Try This Summer http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/07/8-great-free-digital-presentation-tools-for-teachers-to-try-this-summer/ *

Teacher’s Recommendation for Academic Uses of 5 Fun Free Presentation Tools http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/01/teachers-recommendations-for-academic-uses-of-5-fun-free-presentation-tools/

Links You Might Have Missed—Presentation Tools http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2009/03/links-you-might-have-missed.html

*  Note that Vuvox no longer exists.

Remember when designing your multimedia presentation:

  1. Simplicity adds value.
  2. Aim for a few words or phrases on a slide (the nugget of information).
  3. Aim for one powerful image on a slide. That image could be accompanied by minimal text, a symbol, or no text at all.
  4. Be creative in capturing and maintaining attention.
  5. Eliminate distraction: use animations, flash, or sound effects sparingly and only when necessary to get the point across.
  6. Avoid slide transitions.
  7. Design artfully:
    1. What does your audience already know?
    2. What do you want your viewers to learn?
    3. Check PresentationZen for more ideas on artful presentation design.

Learn more about Multimedia and Fair Use

Working with multimedia, almost invariably, means incorporating the works of others into a presentation (cf. Huffman, 2010). Teachers and students do have some latitude, called Fair Use. However, it is always an effective practice to make sure that the intellectual property of others are attributed or cited in any presentation. While there can be substantial penalties for infringing on the works created by others, the most important point, arguably, is that attributing the works of others is simply good citizenship. Creators want credit for their work, and any user is a potential creator, as well. In digital environments, creators, authors, and users, take care of one another by properly attributing the sources they use. Though teachers, professors, and students are very familiar with citation of text-based sources (e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago), these style guides often do not provide sufficient guidance when a student, for example, wants to incorporate images, audio, or video created by others in a multimedia presentation.  

An excellent place to begin learning about digital citizenship and fair use is the MediaLab at the University of Rhode Island. Teacher and student resources can be found on the MediaLab website.

Though not exhaustive, these websites provide a place to begin looking for music and image sources that students and teachers might use in their own multimedia presentations while considering the rights of others who have contributed their works. 

#SocialDistance #onlineteaching #COVID-19 #RemoteTeaching

Reference

Huffman, S. (2010, May/June). The missing link: The lack of citations and copyright notices in multimedia presentations. TechTrends, 54(3), pp. 38-44.

Converting F2F to Online in a Hurry

by Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Today, I am posting a few resources for those in PK-12 and higher education who must convert their instruction from face-to-face to an online format in a hurry.

CDC-coronavirus-image-23311-for-web
Image: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

UNESCO offers a list of distance learning solutions with links here.

Our colleague, Greg Mcverry, has created a series of videos, “Moving Online In Time of Crisis,” on converting to online quickly.

And Peggy Semingson, featured here on Literacy Beat, shared this curated list of remote learning tools during Covid-19 from Laura Pasquini and these tips for remote teaching from the University of Texas.  Peggy regularly shares her own resources and those of others on her LinkedIn profile

TechSmith Corporation, one of my favorite digital solution providers, shared this website full of tips and resources. 

Resources added April 6, 2020

Publishers I work with shared these open access resources:

Guilford: www.guilford.com/covid-resources

Corwin: us.corwin.com/en-us/sam/online-teaching-toolkit

Open Access curated list by The American University in Cairo Main Library (directories, publishers, university presses, databases): libguides.aucegypt.edu/c.php?g=1019058&p=7381638

Updated April 9, 2020

From the International Literacy Association open access resources. https://literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2020/03/16/engaging-learning-through-disruptions

SocialDistance onlineteaching

Writing for Science Learning: Book Creator

by Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Science teacher Kathy Blakemore has inspired generations of seventh-graders to take better care of our planet, to be curious about all its inhabitants, and to learn more about what makes its ecosystems work as they do.

Recently, Kathy and her students at Elsinore Middle School in Lake Elsinore, California decided to take their learning public. Using Book Creator, the students published a book titled, Incredible Invertebrates. Students worked in teams to identify sources about various phyla and then synthesize graphics and their reading. They learned about what it takes to write a book that is appealing to their audience as well.

Amazing Invertebrates

Incredible Invertebrates Click to read this book, made with Book Creator https://read.bookcreator.com

Each chapter is organized describing where the invertebrates live, what threats exist to their survival, and what fun facts the student scientists and authors uncovered. I was very impressed that the students cited their sources and identified key vocabulary that their readers will want to understand.

Congratulations to Mrs. B and her 7th-grade GEMS students on a job well done.

Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

In this post, I share an infographic representing the ideas in the article,
“Accuracy in Digital Writing Environments: Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check”. Access the article by clicking here and scrolling down to the article.

You are welcome to share this infographic in your classroom or for nonprofit educational purposes.

Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

Infographic design by Getty Creations

Creative Commons License
Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check by @TDWolsey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at literacybeat.com/2019/03/26/read-up-ask-around-double-check/.

The Portable Web in a Box: Why You Need It and How to Get It

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

In backpacks, pockets, and purses, students bring their connected devices to school. But “connected” may be the wrong term; perhaps “connectable” devices is more accurate. Bandwidth means that a network can deliver data in a specified amount of time. For many schools, bandwidth may be a limitation. For some teachers, there is nothing more frustrating than planning a lesson that requires students to access the internet only to find that the bandwidth delivers data at speeds at which snails would sneer.

Students at Maya Jaguar using RACHEL









Some educational settings require restrictions on access to the internet, such as those that serve incarcerated youth or adults. Others are so distant from internet connections that it is prohibitively expensive to ensure all students have access.

Click to read the rest of the article on Literacy Daily, Teaching with Tech.

Exploring Digital Assessments: How Teachers Improve Learning Outcomes

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

EduForum 2018 at The American University in Cairo, New Cairo, Egypt

November 3, 2018

Assessment is the fuel of learning. Confronted with mountains of data, teachers can feel overwhelmed.  Particularly frustrating, some assessments interrupt instruction and distract students. In this session, we explore how to make the climb over the data mountain manageable. We will investigate effective practices to align assessments and learning outcomes through technology-driven formative assessment. Embedding assessment directly into learning activities can help teachers adjust instruction and engage students with their learning at the same time.  Learn how to create electronic exit tickets. Make a game your students will enjoy while making real-time use of feedback based on their progress through the game environment. Assessment need not be a tedious chore. Put learning assessment in service of engaging learning environments.

As part of today’s presentation on digital tools for formative assessment, we used Survey Monkey to conduct a pre-assessment of what we know about assessments.

Formative Assessment

Next, we used Edmodo to create a short portfolio with images. Next, we explored project-based learning using an online portfolio at Dreamdo. Here is an example:  https://edu.dream.do/en/dreams/sciences/the-5th-grade-geology-unit

Games are great learning tools, but they can be very useful for assessment, as well. Three online games and assessment tools we tried out were OLogy, Sim Scientist, and Kahoot!

The power of the teacher’s human voice coupled with images of a student’s own work were the focus of our exploration of screencasting.  Cambridge English videos showed us how to use screencapture and a free screencapture program, Jing,  were demonstrated.

Online tools make generating rubrics a snap. Check these out:

*Teachnology offers rubrics at: http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/rubrics/ but you’ll need to register.
*Rubistar, a project of ALTEC, has a useful rubric generator available at: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php
*Google add-in by dostuffgood.org Create and send customizable rubrics and scores to students by email for any assignment. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/online-rubric/fiiglmgmcodoglllnbfebbhkfidikfbo?utm_source=permalink

Finally, we examined the role and possibilities of Big Data and educational assessment. Read more here and here.

800px-DARPA_Big_Data

Want to join our classroom? Navigate to classroom.google.com and enter the code in the image below. Some of the tasks have expired links, but you can see how the demonstration was set up.

Class Code

Learn more about EduForum 2018:

Link: http://eduforum-eg.com/index.php/sessions/exploring-assessments-how-teachers-improve-learning-outcomes/

Link: https://events.aucegypt.edu/?event=14151038

The Photo Essay Project

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

This semester, I assigned my undergraduates to create a photo essay defining the places that have had the most impact on who they are and who they might become.  Their photo essays are due next week, so this week I am sharing some of the photo essay websites and software tools they are using.  Today, they explored the affordances of each. I provided a list of questions (you will find them below) to guide their choices.

Dear Literacy Beat readers, if you have a site or tool to share, please add it in the comments.

Photos

iPhone Photos

Platforms

  1. Tumblr
  2. Instagram
  3. WordPress
  4. Spark from Adobe
  5. Exposure
  6. Ghost
  7. PowerPoint Online and Slideshare, Youtube or Vimeo (convert slide decks to video), Authorstream
  8. Prezi

Pro-Tip: What’s your statement about the photos you choose? Can you write one (or maybe two) sentences that capture the main idea of your photo essay? Is it unique enough that others will want to view your essay?

 

Photo Editing Tools

  1. Canva
  2. Ribbet
  3. GIMP
  4. Photo Resizer
  5. net
  6. Photoshop Express
  7. PIXLR

A note about intellectual property: Any work you use that you did not write or create must be attributed.  This includes music (and be aware that using copyrighted music could result in your project being taken down by the platform or host).

Pro Tip: Create a rough draft of your essay in order to check out the features of the platform and tools you use.  Try different ways of arranging your photos, text (including captions), and titles.  Later, you can hide or delete the rough draft.

Questions / Affordances

Check out the sites and tools (software) on the first page and review a couple of examples. What affordances does each offer your project?

  • What does it cost?
  • Do you need an account?
  • Can you make the site available to anyone?
  • Does the site privilege images, text, or both?
  • What features does the site or tool have that others may not have?
  • Is the site or tool mobile friendly? Laptop friendly?
  • Does it have sharing tools (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)?
  • Are there advertisements? How intrusive are they?
  • Is the platform easy to navigate and provide tools that make it easy for you to create a photo essay?

Two notes about color:

  1. Don’t overdo it!
  2. Make sure the colors you choose for frames, text, and so on are easy to read against the backgrounds you choose

RACHEL Goes to Northwestern Guatemala

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Try to picture yourself without access to the Internet. The web of sites and content have changed our lives dramatically. When we need to stay informed, we can just Google a topic and voila. Not everyone on Planet Earth has the luxury of Google, though.

Students at the Maya Jaguar Center for Education and Development are used to innovation. They maintain sustainable gardens and go to classes in rooms lit by solar power. The latest innovation at Maya Jaguar is the introduction of RACHEL, a Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning. Internet content difficult to access in the past is now a reality there.

RACHEL brings large but thoughtfully selected portions of the internet to regions and institutions that do not have affordable access to the internet via broadband.  I delivered a RACHEL server to Maya Jaguar early in August. Francisco Pablo is the senior technology instructor at Maya Jaguar. He and I worked together to show the other teachers how to navigate the RACHEL interface.

Maestro RACHEL screen

Francisco Demonstrates RACHEL

Teachers were encouraged to create their own sites on the server with content they upload that is specific to their classes. In the coming months, they will work on methods of helping students to be inquirers and critical users of the content they encounter on RACHEL.

Teachers Maestros Computers

Teachers Exploring RACHEL’s Possibilities

For me, it was gratifying to see the teachers’ excitement as they found materials on the server that could really enhance their teaching.  For some months, Alan Crawford, Frances Dixon, and I have been working on ways to bring simulations to the students.  Simulations provide a way to explore ideas and phenomena that can’t be visited and observed in the physical world (or at least not easily).

With content from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s PheT project installed on RACHEL, students can now explore atomic interactions,  create semi-conducting diodes, and learn the principles of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  All of this is available in Spanish, of course.

20180807_094052.jpg

Using RACHEL

The RACHEL server has proven so useful that Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala, the Foundation that sponsors the school and outreach programs, is now exploring the possibility of a second device. Two RACHEL servers would make it possible for each of the two main school buildings to have RACHEL availability all the time.  Want to help make that possible? Please visit https://www.adoptavillage.com/donate

Learn more about RACHEL here: https://worldpossible.org/

Adapted version cross-posted on Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala.

RACHEL is an Intranet Superhero

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Access to the internet is almost the same as having access to air or water for students in our schools.  Often, that is the case, but not always.  What do you do if you have students who are eager to learn about the world beyond their schoolhouse doors but the internet is expensive or non-existent?

Today, as ubiquitous as internet access seems, internet penetration has not reached many parts of the planet.  Even when it is possible to access the internet via satellite connections, the cost is very high and the speed is very slow.  There is, however, a solution.

That solution is RACHEL, an acronym that stands for Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and LearningRACHEL is a server with open-source software and content that delivers large sections of the internet to a school or other educational organization.  Schools do not need access to the internet for RACHEL to work.  Content modules from Khan Academy, Wikibooks, MedLine, and much more to the school site.  Once installed, students and teachers can access simulations, learning games, and the entire Wikipedia for a given language (as of the date it was downloaded).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some expertise is required to install RACHEL.  Installers will need to be able to plug in the power unit to an electrical outlet and then push a button.  Yep, that’s it. Users who can connect to a wifi connection will be able to connect to RACHEL.

The RACHEL unit you see in the photo above is going to Central America next week to provide internet content to some incredibly talented students. They do have internet access, but it comes at high cost via satellite.  RACHEL will relieve the pressure on the available bandwidth so that more students can use the content.  I will post more about this project once the students meet RACHEL.

 

 

 

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Guest Post by Jack Milgram
Jack Milgram is a freelance writer and editor who agreed to share his words and an infographic about words with Literacy Beat. I hope you enjoy this vocabulary challenge!

Find your own vocabulary subpar? Can’t keep your audience listening to you with interest for more than two minutes? Do you use words like “nice,” “good” and “new” way too often?

Well, we might have a solution for you.

Make your first step toward improving your speech by replacing some of the words that are responsible for very boring conversations.

And you know what?

We have exactly what you need: an infographic with some super helpful synonyms to 28 dull words that overpopulate our conversations. It’s time to realize that these words have overstayed their welcome in everyday use.

Moreover, when you vary your speech, you improve your thinking. Words are our most frequently used mental tools, and the more of those you have in your vocabulary, the quicker your thinking will become.

Everything’s quite obvious when you think about it.

All those common, dull, and boring words just sit on the tip of our tongues, and using them requires no effort whatsoever. On the contrast, bringing something new into your vocabulary involves thinking quite a bit harder.

That’s another reason we’ve made this infographic. The most difficult part has already been done. All you have to do is to start including these word alternatives in your everyday life.

Scroll down and see how you can give your vocabulary a significant boost!

28 boring words

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Meet Jack:
Jack Milgram is a writer at Custom-Writing.org. He started his freelance career when he was a student. Jack has been interested in writing since he first took pen and paper in his hands. And he never stopped writing ever after. He loves combining his job with traveling around the world.

Jack Milgram

Jack Milgram

 

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