Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Alternatives to PowerPoint Part 1

Let's face it, PowerPoint is a very popular presentation platform used by many in the education spectrum, but, it's expensive.  The educational Office suite is over $150 (if you are lucky) and even the most basic version is going to cost you. Why not look at other alternatives.  Sites from the web that do similar things but are just a little different so the outcome changes.

One tool located on the web that does similar things to PowerPoint but is free to use is edcanvas.  Edcanvas offers a lot of sidebar tools to access for research.   It's easy and fund to use for kids and you.  The beauty, after the project is complete, you can add a quiz!  It allows for student accounts where you as the teacher can add students and see all of the boards the kids have made.  It also allows for a built in citation as all links are saved within the canvas.

I saw a presentation about it where both kids were using it to create PBL projects and teachers were using it to create their flipped notes.   Imagine, flipping a class in one tool.   Create a canvas, insert the necessary components you want to use for the lesson and have students follow through all the parts. Voila, end with a quiz. It's be best of the flipped class world!

Here are some ideas for student based projects:

  1. Create a project about a vocabulary word.  Each student develops a canvas about a specific vocab word from the text being read and then they are saved in one teacher account, accessible to all classmates.  Easy study tool.
  2. Create a presentation about a specific point in history.  Each student, instead of doing a long paper or a PowerPoint can create a edcanvas board about their topic.  Within it, they can embed images, text, videos and more.  (And it's FASTER than using PowerPoint).
  3. Virtual Trip:  Each student is expected to make a canvas and insert facts on each tile about a virtual trip.  Each day could be outlined on the canvas and students could be expected to include very specific details. 
All in all, I think edcanvas offers users something new aside from the traditional PowerPoint. It's easy, looks nice and allows access to a lot of outside tools. 

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