Just as I am starting this blog, yet another way for students (and teachers) to present information outside of the PowerPoint box was released by Evernote.
For those not in tuned with Evernote, first go to www.evernote.com.Those of you who already use it, skip and ahead and examine the video:
Or, one can read through the new concept via their recent blog post to examine this powerful tool for organizing materials and research, saving web pages, recording audio, highlighting and annotating text, and as of this week, has a presentation mode, complete with pointer.
I have not had time to practice the options it affords as yet, but with this and many more options out there, it is a fun time to be creative and use presentations in the classroom.
Today’s software makes it fun, easy, and clear to produce project based instruction to our students, and also give them the opportunity to do the same.
Yet after watching my students do presentations earlier this week with the standard PowerPoint, it is clear that the dependency on it is something akin to “breaking bad”.
One of my students (Kelly) is an active user of infographics for her projects. She created the following infographic (shown here with permission) for use for a presentation on the history behind Poisonwood Bible. The other two groups used standard power point fare, and they pretty much violated all the no-nos listed on this visual communications site: http://thevisualcommunicationguy.com/2013/09/24/top-12-most-annoying-powerpoint-presentation-mistakes/
Kelli’s presentation constructed with Inkscape and open source photo editing software (GIMP) had more power, as she also used the colors of the Congolese flag and photos to make a brief, but powerful looking information page based on the information compiled by her classmates. In addition, the students read from the screen 50 percent less than my students who had thrown up the PowerPoint.
This might have worked in a paper, but these types of presentations allow a variety of learners to pick up important information, and also have an option to review this before attacking another piece of an assignment.
Infographics may not be for everyone in terms of construction. There is a bit of a learning curve, but the ability to do them has improved considerably in the last year as software developers have added tools and made it easier to construct them. However, I made my first one two months ago for a teacher training (via Piktochart) and was pleased with the result:
Need a place to start: Here is a good source for learning the use of infographics: http://www.schrockguide.net/infographics-as-an-assessment.html.
Other tools can be found here: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/infographic-tools/ Some are free or with subscription one can get advanced features. Others do have a charge, or, by using Adobe Fireworks, one can develop their own, but at $20 a month (academic cost as of October, 2013).