How to get rid of the boring presentations?

Is there anything more boring than a teacher who’s reading his powerpoint? I don’t remember it happening in elementary school, but it was a recurent problem in high school and college and I still face it every week in University. What to do in order to lose students’ interest? Teach them in a boring way, that is, with a powerpoint on which is written everything you are saying, word by word. This is an invitation to the student not to listen or even not to show up in class since he will find everything he needs on the powerpoint you will send him after class.

The boring and overelaborate powerpoint problem is present in the students’ presentations as well. Often the students are asked for visual support and they see it as an obligation to write all their text down. Moreover, it reassures them when they are scared to forget what they have to say.

How to resolve this frequent problem and make classes and presentations more interesting? By introducing creative presentation tools such as Prezi!

This tool allows you to escape the linear format of the usual presentations and to organize your information on one page only with an inspiring and colorful backgroud!

The time when you would lose the information mention earlier through the slides is over. All the information is gathered in one place. All you need to do is zoom in to focus on some details important for your presentation, and zoom out to go back with an overview of the subject. The links created between the different elements which are strategically positioned facilitate the understanding of the subject.

Where to find time for Prezi?

Of course, you will need time to get use to this new tool. But once you’ve understood the concept properly, you are ready to revolutionize your presentations!

For an oral presentation from the students that starts from nowhere, Prezi is a good start. It offers already made backgrounds which are way different from the traditional blank page. Once they’ve chosen the background, bring in creativity.

In the teacher’s case, however, when the course plan has already been planed in a linear format, Prezi implies a reorganization of the ideas, necessiting a lot of time. Nevertheless, one of Prezi’s advantage is that people have used it before you and created original presentations. You can use them as an inspiration or even directly in your own classroom. Furthermore, you will be able to share the presentation you’ve created and which you are proud of.

How to use Prezi efficiently to keep the audience’s attention?

A fascinating presentation is the opposite of the presentations I’ve give as example earlier. The endless lines of script are over, they don’t have a place in Prezi’s presentations. What we are looking for here is a visual support for our presentation. Keywords are best fitted since they allow listeners to follow and afterward is a good revision. Another way to do it is to use only images which represents the concepts to mention. What is important to remember is that you must not be able to do without the presenter which would encourage the students to do something else instead of listening or even miss the class.

To link it with my last post about IWB, Prezi can also be used in an interactive way with the students. Why not create a revision Prezi about all the material you’ve seen in class which they could use at home to revise. By participating to the elaboration, they have a better chance to remember.

Of course there are disadvantages to the use of Prezi. First of all, it takes a lot of time to learn how to use it and it is hard to fit in a teacher’s planning. Moreover, you need to pay to use it outline. Finally, the creating options are limited and the zoom can make your audience dizzy.

I might be talking only about the advantages of Prezi, I’m not saying the traditional powerpoint is not good anymore. The powerpoint is easy to use (at least, the basic features) and the students have learned how to use it at school. Also, it has useful options like builds, transitions, animations, hyperlink, syncs with SlideShare, charts, tables and many more. The biggest disadvantage is its boring linear format.

Naturally, it doesn’t all depend on the tool you use, but especially on the person who creates the presentation!

 

Visit Prezi’s website to learn more or watch tutorials.

If you wish to read more about the subject, you can visit those blog where I got my inspiration from.

The Budding Educator

Practical Teaching Advice, Ideas and Opinion

Presentation Panda

*** I know I said I would talk about Google again this week, but I thought Prezi was more interesting for the moment. I might come back to Google later! ***

 

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The IWBs: a great tool or a burden for the teachers?

 
I’ll start this post by telling you a little anecdote. This week at the school where I am doing my first practicum, the director had bought interactive white boards (IWB) for the classes and he would give them randomly because no one requested them. So he called a meeting after school. I heard my teacher wishing she wouldn’t be picked because she hates interactive boards. She would prefer to get a simple projector.
That just confirmed what I’ve read about IWB, teachers perceive them as a burden while schools are spending a lot of money on them. So they find themselves being force to integrate this tool in their teaching with no training provided. The case of my teacher is just one among so many others.
Fortunately, there are kind people who master the use of IWBs and create short videos as a Survival Guide! Here are the ones from Matt Granger and the Smart Board Revolution. 
Because they want to please the director who bought these tools the first reaction of the teachers is to use the made-up activities which comes with the IWB software. According to the technology bloggers, there is so much more you can do ! And their ideas are very inspiring for my future teaching. Even if I don’t know yet at what level I want to teach, or even in which country, one thing I know is that I could make a good use of these boards! The IWB gives you access to internet, use it ! Internet signifies unlimited possibilities. You want to practice your students’ reading skills, make them annotate a recent article from an international news network. You can also present multi-level presentations with documents and videos using original presentation tools. It is not enough just to know how it works. Teachers need to be able to plan lessons using the IWB and as the third step, make those lessons interesting and engaging.
As Patty Grayson says, the interactive whiteboard is like a window to the world. Since it is equipped with a camera, it allows you to connect with anyone using Skype. You are free to do activities with other classrooms from anywhere which will bring new point of views to the project you are working on. You could also connect with the author of the book your students have to read, or the actor playing in their favorite TV shows. The possibilities are infinite, and foundations have been created to approach these people for educative purposes.
Another advantage of the IWB is that there is a lot of websites where you can download material from. You save a great amount of time that you would lose on creating your own. Suddenly, IWB won’t look that much like a burden. You can find these activities on blog like Teachers Love SMART Boards, Online White Board Tools and so on.
To end the discussion, lets just remember the main points. To use the IWB efficiently, teachers should receive a good training, they should keep in mind the goal they want to achieve using a smart board and BE CREATIVE!
Sources

Google

GoogleGoogle has a large range of products available nowadays. Google is mostly known for its Web Search, which enables you to search about anything through billions of web pages. However, if you are looking for medias, you could look in Youtube, Books or Image and Video Search. For something more specific, you can have a look at Blog Search, Google Scholar or News.

Other products are also available outside of the searching field. Google + is a social network. Google Maps helps you find places or get directions. Google Calendar allows you to do time-management and to receive notices on the day of an event. Gmail is an email service. Google translate is a basic translation tool.  Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service.

This post will focus more on Google Drive and how it can be used effectively at school.

What exactly is Google Drive ? 

Google Drive is a free file storage and synchronization service. What does that mean? A file storage is also called cloud storage because it is accessible from any computer or mobile device with connection to internet. For example, if I create a document on my computer and save it in my Google Drive account, I can later have access to it on my mobile device or on the school computers. What about the synchronization service? It means that the file will be update with the latest modifications, wherever you modified it and have access to it. Here is a video about it.

The creation of a Google Drive account

To connect to Google Drive, you need to have a Google account (if you don’t have one, you can create it in just a few steps!) The advantage of using the Google account is that everything you have with Google is shared between the products. Once you have got an account, you can install the desktop app to have an offline access to the files. This last step is optional, if the school computers don’t allow you to install apps, the web account is enough. Here are some tips and tricks to help you along the process.

How Google Drive can be useful for the students?

There used to be a product called Google Docs which is now included in Google Drive. The files that can be created with Google Drive are documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, drawings and you can add more to the list with the many applications available. The files can be shared with many users and modified by any of t

hem at the same time. This is a way for students to work on a group project from their home.  Furthermore, if they are not working at the same time on the file, as one connects on his account, he can see the latest updates. Furthermore, the teacher could have access by Google Drive to the students’ homework.

How Google Drive can be useful for the teachers?

This product by Google can be useful for teachers in many ways. First of all, they can use it to share documents like homework, readings and results with their students by creating a Google Group. Moreover, instead of using checklists, they can use Google Forms to easily see if a student has handed in a homework, camp money or a signature from the parents. All the assignments can be kept in Google Drive; this way you save space and time not searching among all the mixed papers. There can be a file for each student or each term.

In conclusion

This is only one of many products by Google that can be integrated in schools. This file storage and synchronization service, as I demonstrated, is easy to use and is a great tool wether for students or teachers.

As for the other products from Google (which I listed above), I will discuss more about them in my next post!

Have a good week !