Online Slide Shows for Teaching and Learning

What tools do you use when you want your students to create a slideshow, with narration and of course, images? We all know about the uses for PowerPoint, but even the 2007 version doesn’t seem to offer many options besides saving as a PowerPoint file or PDF. If you are an Apple user, then you probably know about Keynote, which is very cool, and offers export options to save as a movie file, pdf, flash, or html. And iPhoto (another Apple tool), offers an easy way to prepare a slideshow which can be saved as a movie file. (Remember, if you want to put these on the web, you’ll still need some sort of video compression software, such as QuickTime Pro to make these files smaller.)

But still, these tools are just one-way transmissions–they don’t offer much interaction or ways for viewers to comment. And the files are tethered to a computer or removable storage device.

There ARE some other options, however. I am just starting to review and play around with these, so I would appreciate any comments or feedback. But I wanted to get their names out so that you could also start investigating their potentials for teaching and learning. Some of these might work for you.

My favorite one at the moment looks like flip (http://www.flip.com/), which creates flip books from your pictures. You can insert text on each picture and then publish your flip book online. But the really great thing about this service is that others can comment on your images. Think about the potential for student interaction, feedback, and editing that could occur from this feature. In fact, students could use flip for creation of their rough draft of a photo story and then maybe use a more full-featured program such as PowerPoint or Keynote to put together their final work.

As you begin to look at these online photo albums and other video services, ideas will naturally come to you. How about creating a picture book for younger students, where they can edit and add to it? How about a project displaying and discussing the development of a painter, for an art history class? You can also add audio, which opens up even more possibilities. And I believe you can also embed the code in your website.

Here’s another slideshow application that creates code that you can insert in your website, blog, wiki: http://www.picturetrail.com/. It’s called Picture Trail and was recommended to me by one of my colleagues. These slideshow creators might be a great way to start a class, by asking students to create and post their custom slideshow, telling everyone a little more about them. It might be a good ice-breaker activity, as well as giving you the opportunity to get to know your students better.

I also want to talk in more detail about flickr.com in another posting, but just know that this service also provides a very nice way for students to display and post writing about each photo in a convenient (and again, free) online repository. Photos can be grouped and displayed in various ways.

Take a look at these tools, and as always, please comment or send me a personal email about how you might use these tools and what you think. Comments, good or bad, are always appreciated.

Have a great weekend.

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