Tag Archives: presentations

How To Think Visually — Infographic

How to Think Visually

One of the most effective ways to present data and information is by using visual aids.  This is why infographics are so popular!  Did you realize just how many options there are, however?  I am sure you and your students are familiar with many of these methods presented below. We tend to fall into a rut sometimes however, sticking to those visuals we find comfortable while there might be better methods to present the data and this might give you some alternative ideas.  Anna Vital has created this wonderful visual to present different visual presentations (talk about meta!).  Make sure you visit her page here as she also summarizes each of the 72 visual analogies presented and how to best use them in presenting information.

Click image to enlarge

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Posted by on November 30, 2016 in Infographics


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Toontastic — Create Your Own Cartoons


Today I thought there might be a little change of pace and come back to some tools and tricks after a short hiatus.  Today I’m going to delve into the land of apps.  First up is Toontastic.

Toontastic: Free is a fun tool that allows students to create characters, stories and cartoons on the iPad.  You can use as an alternative assessment in class or for those students who do not have permission to, or may be reluctant to perform in video projects.  While the Toontastic app is geared more toward younger grades, it is easily adaptable and fun for higher grades too.

All you have to do in Toontastic is select or create your characters and move them on the screen to animate while recording your voice to tell your story.  Toontastic even helps students create their stories by waling them through a simple story arc where they can individually create a setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution to their stories.

From the iTunes description:

Making cartoons with Toontastic is as easy as putting on a puppet show – simply press the record button, move your characters onscreen, and tell your story. Toontastic records your animation and voice as a cartoon video to share with friends and family on ToonTube, the app’s global storytelling network for kids.

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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Apps, Tips & Tricks


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myHistro — Interactive Timelines & Maps


I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting presentation and storytelling tools, and myHistro definitely fits the bill for today!  With myHistro, you are able to create interactive timelines of any event in history, both major events and personal!

Create myHistro stories that integrate text, photos, video, and Google Maps to take students on a journey through the actual events of history on a virtual fieldtrip through the places that influenced the events.  These presentations can be left to play on their own or can be manipulated by the viewer as well.  If you don’t have the inclination or time to create your own, then you can choose from hundreds of already made myHistro timelines that cover almost every time period in history.

Another benefit of myHistro is that with creating your own timeline, you could have students build their own personal histories or stories, pinning actual locations on a map to correspond with the events in their timeline.  This is a perfect way to work in a cross-curricular setting, either having students research historical figures from other disciplines, creating their own life story, or writing creatively about a person’s life.  Integrating the writing component while using myHistro to organize and bring actual geography into the story can address several needs and standards at the same time.

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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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Free Large File Transfers — DropSend

DropSend: Large File Transfers

I was asked this morning by a teacher about the ability to have students share a large video file that they were turning in for a project.  Unfortunately no one in the student group had a flash drive and it was too large a file to pass through our e-mail filters.   I recommended DropSend as a great free site to use for these transfers.

The interface is simple as the only thing you need is your own e-mail, the e-mail address of your recipient, and the file location.  Simply enter this information into DropSend, type the verification code they provide and click submit!  The recipient will receive an e-mail with a link to the file stored with DropSend and can download it up to 10 times within a week of it being sent.

DropSend is a very simple, and (more importantly) free way to send large files up to 2 GB via e-mail.  A 2 GB threshold is probably much larger than anything your students might create, but helps alleviate the pesky problem of those project files that may too big for a student’s flash drive – if they have one – or too large to have them e-mail or submit the file electronically another way.  One more tool for your belt! J  Happy First Friday!

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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Tips & Tricks


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Citrify — Free Online Photo Editing


As students become more involved in creating digital media projects, the greater the need to have a quick and easy way to edit the photos they want to use in these projects.  While there are many paid or downloadable options available, sometimes it’s easier and quicker to have an online option and Citrify is a prime example of a great, easy photo editor that works in any web browser.

All you need to do is open the Citrify website and then click on the “start editing” button.  A new window will open that contains the photo editor:

Citrify will walk you through the editing of your photos, from simple resizing and  the removal of red-eye and freckles all the way to more involved color saturations and glare adjustments.  Citrify works on a very simple point and click interface and each option contains a slider with easy to follow labels for all edits.  Once the photo is how they want it, students can click on “save” and the new image will now be available for their projects!

While lots of the options that would be available to users in a more involved editing program such as Photoshop are not available in Citrify, the simple edits that most students would need are.  This is a very viable option that you would want to share in all classes with students to allow them to edit, adjust, or enhance photos as they find them and save a step in their work.

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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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Tagxedo — Word Clouds with a Twist!


Many students are visual learners and the benefits of using word clouds and sites such as Wordle are well known.  A student being able to create word clouds and maps to see the relative importance through frequency of words in a document, or their own overuse of words in a paper or essay is a fabulous tool.  But is there a way to allow them to change it up a bit, and perhaps allow a little more customization?  Yes – with Tagxedo!

Tagxedo allows students and you to copy in text from anywhere and customize your shape, font, theme, and size.  Students can upload their own images to use as a template, or choose from the pre-set templates within the program.  The cloud at the top of the post is taken directly from the text on the front page of NJBiblio, and this is the Gettysburg Address:

Try using Tagxedo as you would any other word cloud.  Have students create character summaries of books with a picture of the character or key trait, create a keyword visual of important news events, check their own writing for overused words or phrases, compare two pieces of writing, or even have them use their own picture to create a personality trait map.  All clouds can be saved as images, shared with many common Web 2.0 and social media programs, or printed out.

If you need ideas on how to Tagxedo (or any word cloud program) check out the 101 Ways to Use Tagxedo through Google Docs.

Feel free to post and share any clouds you build, or share how you’ve used them in your program here, on my Facebook, or through my Twitter!

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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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Tips for Creating Digital Stories

Digital Story Telling

Don’t be alarmed or scared that you’re running across a new term and trend in education with this one!  In fact many of you have been doing this already throughout the years when you have your students create PowerPoint or Keynote presentations for the class.  Even if the purpose of their report or presentation is to provide the class with facts about a topic, these students are still telling a story.

Too many times when assigning these projects, are given a topic, allowed to research, and then they create slides for their presentations.  What do they generally focus on when they’re building their slide show?  They all love pictures, of course, so there are tons of those; visual effects and swooshing sounds for text are usually next, but sometimes we are left with slides that are “walls of text” that the students will read out loud verbatim to the class.

We need to work through the process of building an effective digital presentation, or story, with our students.  The first time through this is a tough process:

  • How do you help students organize information effectively so that they are telling a story and not just reading facts?
  • When are too many pictures too many?  Too few not enough?
  • How should the slides be organized and laid out?  (Not just the order, but to be visually appealing)
  • What’s an effective use of sound so it’s not a distraction?
  • What’s the most desirable way to show off the work to the class?

This article by Jon Orech can help you with those, and many other questions about how to help students build an effective presentation.  Now they can create those PowerPoints or Keynotes that not only will allow them to help teach their peers, but also will allow their creative juices to flow.  Try some of the tips, use some of the guidelines and hopefully the next time you have students create a digital presentation, it’s more storytelling than lecture with pictures!

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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Websites


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