Sunday, February 27, 2011

Interactive online presentation tools

One of the things that always bothers me about presentation software, whether it be webware or computer specific is the lack of interactivity. The new read/write web demands interactivity that is not produced as part of the standard presentation. When we stand in front of an audience we are questioned and, if we are doing things well a conversation develops. Outside of a webinar there is no interaction between internet audience and ourselves, and that ends when you disconnect. My classroom has an interactive white board but once the students leave the room its difficult to replicate the whiteboard online in a way that continues to guide student learning without supervision. Looking around online I found three things that continue to make guided learning possible.

Online note boards such as   provide a good service for students to post conversation points. If you are careful you can craft a lesson through the board by providing resources as well.

Stick boards provide interactivity but when you make them public information can be accidentally erased or can be covered if the board gets to full.

The second site a found that has worked extremely well is Wix is a free website service (with a premium upgrade if you need additional tools) that  enables anyone to build custom websites through a drag and drop interface.  I created the site below in order to give students resources for historic fiction blogs they were writing.  (They had to pretend to be involved in some aspect of the war and they had to post a letter they were writing.)  It does take some time to explore and learn how to use the enormous toolkit that Wix provides but you can embed the pages where you want them (anywhere that will except embed or iframe code.) Any changes you make in your console through the Wix website, because its all contained online much like Prezi or Sliderocket will show up the next time a user loads the page.

The ability to turn the pages and control the information in a compact setting gave it an interactivity that students appreciate.

Last but not least the classic Wiki is a great way to interact with learners.  In the days just after the democratization of North Africa began, I knew I wanted to share what was going on with my students and then bring that back into class. I opened up a wiki and asked them, and anyone to who wanted, to post content that we could discuss in class.  Wikis are wonderful in that a group can build a presentation together.

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