7 Best Presentation Tools for Students
One of the best ways to get students using technology in your classroom is through presentations. No matter what the topic, creating colorful slideshows and engaging materials helps students get their point across and gives them a chance to learn best practices for using software to help them organize their thoughts.
But what tech should you rely on to get the job done? There are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best presentation tools for students:
It gets a bad rap for being boring in meetings and a crutch for uninspired orators, but PowerPoint provides a lot of bang for the buck when it comes to teaching students some important presentation basics. Once you learn the ins and outs of inserting and sizing images, PowerPoint offers the easiest way to introduce your students to graphic design tools to arrange pictures and texts in pleasing ways—without splurging on a full Adobe suite or other artist's tools.
Pro Tip: Remind your students that slides are for enhancing presentations, not just reading from verbatim, and you can help break the cycle of dull PowerPoint presentations for the next generation.
If you'd prefer to encourage your students to think on their feet rather than give a rehearsed, orderly PowerPoint presentation, give Prezi a try. While PowerPoint functions like an outline, Prezi works more like a concept map that allows you to toggle easily between topics from the main page. Fun features like zooming make it easy to get professional looking results, and students will have the freedom to tackle their presentation in any order they like—especially helpful for Q and A sessions at the end.
Infographics are incredibly popular online, and for good reason: They help make sense of facts, figures and statistics by illustrating their meaning and drawing connections between them. These are crucial skills for students learning to research, so why not let them create infographics to organize their findings? Easelly provides templates for students to use. Once they've chosen a format, they can type in their info and customize artwork to develop a fun, easy-to-read infographic on their topic.
If you like the look of infographics but want to animate them, Powtoon is for you. Powtoon provides slides like PowerPoint, but makes it a lot of fun to choose images, objects and characters come to life when you run the slide show. With plenty of basic templates and lots of options to personalize the animations, student are sure to find this a fun way to make their presentations more interesting for their classmates to watch.
Teaching your class the finer points of video editing is very time consuming, but Animoto lets you take a major shortcut. This drag-and-drop program makes it easy for students to add video clips, photos and text that they cut together into a short, share video. This is perfect for creating PSAs, trailers, and advertisements as a capstone project, and teachers can get it for free.
Remember the good old-fashioned poster project? This is still a great format for younger users making projects focused on a single topic or idea. Glogster brings the poster into the twenty-first century by allowing you to add clip art, video, audio and images directly to the screen — all while keeping everything on one page for easy navigation (and grading!).
VoiceThread is a platform that allows your students to share their presentations in a brand new way. It's not presentation software on its own, but it adds a layer of interaction to the projects your students have already made. Upload a photo, report, slideshow, video, or other presentation into VoiceThread for others to see and comment on. Once they've seen your work, students and teachers can add video comments and questions for a more personal interaction. This is a great way to foster collaboration and critique via technology — particularly good for asynchronous teaching and learning.
Pro Tip: Be sure to discuss good digital citizenship with your students as part of any VoiceThread projects so you can leave constructive comments online!
Shaking up your presentation style is a great way to keep students engaged in what they're doing, whether it's designing a new presentation or staying focused as they listen to their peers' reports. Before you dive in, it's always a good idea to preview any new software by making a presentation yourself. That way, you'll get a sense of how it works and be able to help troubleshoot any difficulties as they arise. And if you decide against using a new presentation platform with your class, you'll still have a nice new lesson to show for your effort.
Do you have any other helpful presentation tools for students? Tell us on Twitter @Schoology