Why Multimedia Presentations?

Successfully developing multimedia presentations is an important academic and occupational skill for the 21st century learner. These tools aid students in thinking critically about the message they are presenting and further enable idea linking, content revision and dynamic choices for representing their understanding. An exciting benefit to computers is that they make it possible for you and your students to create and modify your own multimedia presentations based on your passions, tailored to state standards, or focusing on connections to your local community. In many classroom, the only computer in the room belongs to the teacher, but even a single computer attached to a projector can help teachers and students create more engaging presentations that reach out to learners with a variety of learning styles. Great teachers use different media because the more ways you try to sneak information into the student brain, the more likely it is to actually get in and stay there!

Keep in mind that if we simply replace our own droning on in front of the blackboard with new droning on in front of a PowerPoint slide, then we haven’t made any educational progress. As we experiment with the exciting possibilities of new media, we must remember that the fundamentals of great teaching—mastery of our subjects, compelling questions for students, and passion for learning—have not changed much since Confucius was keeping students on their toes in China. Combine these fundamentals with the immersion and engagement made possible by digital media, and teachers have at their hands a potent recipe for excellent teaching and learning.

Technology in Social Studies Classrooms: Student Presentations

How have student presentations changed in the 21st Century? EdTechTeacher’s Tom Daccord discusses the “evolution of a participatory culture” and the multitude of ways that students can use technology to present their knowledge and understanding.

Multimedia Presentation Tools

  • PowerPoint is ubiquitous in the business and education worlds. It is a powerful and easy-to-use program that can be used to create engaging and visually enticing presentations. It creates opportunities for student creativity beyond the written essay. Of course, PowerPoint presentations that contain too many slides, too much text, and frivolous special effects can actually detract from student learning.
  • Apple’s Keynote software is an excellent alternative. If you’ve ever seen a Keynote slide show then undoubtedly you’ve been struck by the simple elegance and clarity of its themes as well as its impressive 3D transition effects. Keynote also syncs smoothly with other Apple multimedia products such as iTunes, iMovie, and GarageBand. In other words, students can incorporate audio and video into a Keynote presentation almost effortlessly.
  • Prezi is an impressive web-based presentation tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides and users zoom in-out and pan across to reveal elements of the canvas. Text, images, videos and other presentation objects are placed on the canvas and grouped together in frames. A path for the presentation can be defined. You can download and present Prezi offline and Prezi offers both a free basic service and a premium subscription service. Prezi also offers two educational services. EDU Enjoy is free. EDU Pro costs $59/year and allows you to create Prezis offline. If you want to change your existing license to an EDU license, you need to sign in first and choose Upgrade on License and Settings page.
  • Animoto – This intuituve and powerful web-based application provides basic but impressive multimedia features. Animoto offers music and professional-looking special effects to add to your photos and text. Teachers can sign up for a free account upgrade in the Education section and students can use the teacher sign up code to also upgrade their accounts. Animoto also has a free iPhone application where presenations can be made on the handheld device and will be uploaded to the Animoto online account when complete.
  • VoiceThread is a great Web-based digital storytelling program that enables users to upload pictures or documents, record accompanying audio (or video) commentary, and invite others to record commentary as well. Its simple combination of visual and recorded media is perfect for creating multimedia presentations in a relatively short time frame using simple tools. With VoiceThread teachers and students can create virtual tours, report on books they’ve read, comment on historically significant photographs, debate a topic, and more. Its uniqueness lies in the ease in which audio commentary can added to images and documents and the ability to add multiple commentaries to a single artifact.
  • Glogster is a powerful online poster creation platform with an easy drag-and-drop interface and enables students to create interactive, aesthetically appealing, and media-rich posters. With Glogster students create “Glogs,” an online multimedia poster made with text, images, graphics, music, video and more.Glogster EDU is an advertisement-free educational community wherein educators set up a ““virtual classroom” for their students. By default Glogs are private unless a teacher designates them as “public,” and students are assigned randomly generated login information and passwords. No student is identified by name. As such, Glogster EDU helps address issues of inappropriate content and undesirable contact with those outside an educational community.
  • Capzles is an attractive multimedia platform for creating timelines. Events can contain images and descriptions, and Capzles allows for files and media to be added to the timeline. The background of the timeline can be customized, and a music playlist can be added. Other users can collaborate on a Capzles timeline with a public setting, inviting friends, or by creating a group login.
  • Kerpoof Create fully animated comics online with Kerpoof. Choose from a library of scenes and characters, add animation, movement, as well as music and speech bubbles to bring a story idea to life. Extremely intuitive menu bar and helpful video tutorials make this tool quite useful. A key feature is a Teacher Account that allows teachers to register students and create classes where students can collaborate on creations.
  • Canva is a simple, drag-and-drop, design software that’s completely online and free to use. Students can make images, infographics, posters, and more! Canva’s presentation maker makes it easy to create stunning infographics by proving a suite of professionally designed templates.

Multimedia Presentation Tutorials

How to Use Animoto in 60 Second

Animoto Tutorial – Part 1 of 3

Animoto Tutorial – Part 2 of 3

Animoto Tutorial – Part 3 of 3

VoiceThread Tutorial

VoiceThread.com also features a What is VoiceThread? introduction directly on their homepage.

Virtual Posters with Glogster — 4th Grade Social Studies (YouTube)

Glogster EDU Tutorial (YouTube video)

Multimedia Presentation Examples

How to Integrate Multimedia Presentations

Multimedia presentions can be integrated in any number of ways:

  • Create a virtual tour of a country or historical place.
  • Create a public service message on an important local or world issue.
  • Comment on editorial cartoons, historical speech, law, or other document
  • Analyze and comment on economic charts and graphs.
  • Create a presentation based on images of local artifacts and architecture.
  • Publish an existing presentation online to share with a broader audience using VoiceThread, Animoto or Glogster.
  • Connect classrooms by having one class publish their presentations online to be viewed and evaluated by another class.
  • Create an ongoing, asynchronous discussion between students within a VoiceThread presentation with the commenting feature.