Six [totally awesome] Web Presentation Tools for Teachers at a Glance

I’m giving a session during my district’s aptly named “Summer Technology Extravaganza” entitled Six [totally awesome] Web Presentation Tools for Teachers at a Glance. If you’re a teacher like me, you get bombarded with periodic e-mails that tout these lists of “great” web resources for teachers throughout the school year. And we mean well when we get those e-mails, don’t we? We flag them to follow up on later. We might mention the e-mail to a co-worker at a department meeting, saying, “Hey, did you see Greg’s e-mail?” and “Oh, yeah, that stuff looks really cool. I definitely am going to check that out.”

But we almost never end up using those resources, for three main reasons: (1) We don’t have time, because we’re up to our ears in grading, lesson planning, collaborating, meeting with students, going to grad school or professional development seminars, and running extracurriculars. (2) Maybe we do make a little chunk of time to check out the list, but there are thirty-five items, and we get frustrated dealing with so many unfamiliar resources, some of which seem like a waste of time since we have zero idea about how to connect them to our own teaching. (3) Even if we do actually find a resource that seems usable, we realize that we have to put in a ton of time before we’ll be able to use it… which brings us back to reason #1, and we say “maybe next year.”

However, as teachers, we cannot allow ourselves to back away from new technology. We can’t afford to be afraid of it, since our students are pretty much capable of inventing some of these resources on their cell phones during our study hall! As someone once said, you can’t outrun a tidal wave… and that can be what technology feels like: a scary, overwhelming tsunami moving at the speed of light, ready to flatten us and our traditional ideas about teaching. However, I’m challenging us as educators to ride that dang wave, and turn it into something not so threatening, but rather, something TOTALLY AWESOME! Go with the surfer mentality. It’s all good, my friends.

But where do we start? Here’s where my session comes in. I’ve done the work for you–I isolated six web presentation tools that met a set of criteria that I established for total awesomeness. I wanted only tools that were immediately applicable to all areas of curriculum. I wanted things that would be fairly simple and satisfying for teachers to create, modify, and share. I wanted things that would retain their usefulness over time. Here are six.

Below, you will find a link to a table I’ve made that puts information about these sources into an “at a glance” format. You’ll be able to easily reference what the tool is, what it does, and how it could be used in the classroom. You will also get access to links for the actual websites so that you can sign up and start creating! Before you do that, though, I’ve also got links to some examples on the final page for your perusal. (Keep in mind that these are just samples, not Pulitzer or Golden Apple material.) It is my hope that my own hours of time narrowing the field of free web tools will help others in their teaching, and help some new surfers to get up on that wave. Try to learn and implement one new thing this year… even that is a huge accomplishment. Come on in, the water’s fine! At the live session, you even get me to come around, assist you, and personally answer your questions about how these contraptions work… :)

Click HERE-> Web Presentation Tools

Enjoy!

 

Shoutout: I owe many thanks for my preparation to Picky Reader. She gave me an amazing, and already annotated, list of web resources to start from. She’s an absolute guru when it comes to such things, so check out PickyReader.com.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Josh Przybylski

    I must add two such tools without which I couldn’t teach:

    The first is prezi, found at http://www.prezi.com
    It’s free to use and easy to sign up for, provided you have a facebook account. It’s as cloud-based as SlideRocket, and while not so conducive to building a media base, it IS easy to incorporate any type of media your heart desires, and the style is incredibly slick. Check out this one I made to guide my freshmen through some of the allegory in “Lord of the Flies”
    http://prezi.com/jwlw3h2lpmxk/allegory-in-lord-of-the-flies/
    Furthermore, students LOVE to use this for their own in-class presentations.

    The second is good ol’ Google Docs (now Google Drive)
    While definitely less impressive than anything else you mentioned, it’s incredibly reliable, incredibly flexible, and cloud-based, and therefore everywhere. It’s where I keep all my lesson plans, all my daily powerpoints, and really all my documents in general at this point.

    The stuff you have all looks awesome, too, by the way, though I’ve never had much luck with Glogster.

    • admin

      Josh:

      I completely agree with your additions of Prezi and Google Docs (Drive) as must-have tools in a teacher’s arsenal. I left these two out because our district has already fully integrated everything Google and Prezi was the “it” resource last year, so I wanted to provide them with something new. You are right, though, that these should not be overlooked, especially Google Docs, which has completely revolutionized my own work with students on their writing. Thanks for stopping by, and happy teaching. Let me know if you stumble across anything else amazing! :)

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