February Online Module

February’s online module is designed to explore presentation software in more depth as well as introduce you to a few additional advanced SchoolCenter editing tools.

Topic 1: Presentations with Prezi

During January’s all-day session we discovered some extra features of Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint has become such a fundamental software program in schools that we often forget that there are many other programs that are designed to help present information to other people. As new Web 2.0 sites emerge, there likely will be many more ways to create presentations online, rather than with software that you run on your own computer. Perhaps the biggest problem with PowerPoint and other presentation programs is that they are often misused in education. Often, when teachers are making an effort to integrate technology into the curriculum, the first inclination is to have the students use presentation software to present topics to the class. This is fine, as long as the presentation software is not the focus of the lesson. The focus of the lesson should be the content that is being taught. Presentation software is simply a tool to facilitate communication. Jamie McKenzie coined a phrase for this type of misuse of PowerPoint: PowerPointlessness.

Your first task is to read an article by Jamie McKenzie, which does a good job of summarizing the precautions you should take to avoid PowerPointlessness. McKenzie uses an "iceberg" analogy to describe the role of PowerPoint (and we can extend that to include other presentation software) in a learning unit. When students create a PowerPoint, it should be the culminating activity at the end of a much larger project. It is the very small part of the project that is very visible to others (tip of the iceberg). But most of the student learning actually takes place BEFORE they get their hands on PowerPoint.

Unfortunately, presentation software is often used to display TEXT only. You have probably had to endure those presentations with slide after slide of bulleted lists of text, right (remember “Death by PowerPoint”)? Well, that is not a very good use of multimedia presentation software. Text can easily be printed on paper and given to your audience, and then they have a copy to keep. Presentation software tools (such as PowerPoint, Prezi, and many others) are made for a different purpose. They were designed to present multimedia, such as animations, photos, diagrams, charts, videos, music, and other types of sounds. If you do not incorporate multimedia into your presentations, you are not taking advantage of the most powerful functions of this medium. We will look at how to do this with Prezi.

Prezi is an innovative tool which goes beyond standard PowerPoint presentations. This free tool lets you create web presentations that are non-linear. Prezi presentations can include pictures, videos, hyperlinks, and more.

To help you get started with Prezi, you should check out the Prezi tutorial page:https://prezi.com/support/ and the attached document, "A Small Byte of Prezi."

This page includes video tutorials and "cheat sheets" for learning how to use Prezi. And here is a brief article that discusses why Prezi is such a powerful tool:

http://www.schooltechnology.org/2010/06/04/school-technology-websites-i-like-prezi/

Please include at least three important points you learned from the articles, tutorials, and attachment in the appropriate space in the February Module Feedback Form below.


Topic 2: Online Presentations

Conduct your own research online to learn more about how presentation software in general (PowerPoint, Prezi, or other software you discover in your research) is being used by other teachers of your specific subject area and grade level. The main idea is that you focus your research on YOUR specific grade levels and/or subjects. 

Summarize your research in a healthy paragraph and include this paragraph in the February Module Feedback Form below. Please include at least TWO links found while researching.

(For starters, you can check out emaze and PowToon: http://www.emaze.com/ and https://www.powtoon.com/)

 

Topic 3: Presentation Creation

Create a Prezi or other type of online presentation that you can use as an example of what you want your students to create in your class, or that you can use to teach concepts to your students. If it is an example for your students, try to make the student project one in which they communicate to an AUTHENTIC audience. Your presentation should model all FIVE of the features for making a great presentation:

- Grouping
- Multimedia Elements
- Size
- Colors and Fonts
- Use a Logical Path

Now, create a new Scrapbook page in SchoolCenter, embed your Prezi (or other presentation) into a new content box on the Scrapbook page. See the attached document with instructions for working with embed codes in SchoolCenter.

* If an embed code is not available, please paste a link to your presentation.

In a healthy paragraph, describe how you plan to use this presentation with your students and include this paragraph (with a link to your SchoolCenter page) in the appropriate space in the February Module Feedback Form below.  


Please use the February Module Feedback Form below to submit your module. You should have three healthy paragraphs and three links.