While I am targeting this post to the many teachers who are figuring out how to reach their students through virtual classes, it is good information for anyone working virtually with others. There are a number of free applications and programs. There are even more subscription services. For today, here is a list of things to check out. This list was provided to me by a program coordinator at UNCC (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte). My favorites are in color.
PowerPoint: Yes, I know. We have all experienced torture by PowerPoint. Do not underestimate the power of PowerPoint! It is a VERY simple tool to do so many things. You can create presentations of course, simple and fast infographics, and other things you may not have tried. Sometimes I need an infographic to be animated in my video. Rather than build it in my video program, I create the graphic in PPT, add some animation, then save as an MP4! It cuts the time in half.
ScreenCast-o-Matic: Present your instruction and add yourself in the picture so students feel a little more connected.
Animoto: Turns your photos and video clips into professional video slideshows in minutes. (Animoto.com)
Flipgrid: Students record short videos and can reply to each other’s videos. Educators are 100% in control with video moderation and access controls. (Flipgrid.com)
HP Reveal (Used to be Aurasma): Video; take document and record a video- record a video over text. (Hpreveal.com)
Infogram: Helps with creating infographics (Infogram.com)
Kahoot: Kahoot! A free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn – any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages! (Kahoot.com)
Lucid Chart App that is available in a browser; great for charts to put in presentations or share. Sometimes you just need a good chart. (Lucidchart.com)
Lumen PDF: Allows you to work with PDF documents, sign and edit.
Pixton: Create comics and storyboards (Pixton.com)
Pixtochart: Creating infographics
Post it Plus: Capture Post-It notes on a wall or flipchart with your smartphone, then edit and reorganize your notes in the app.
Takes the momentum from your collaboration sessions and keeps it rolling. Simply capture your notes, organize and then share with everyone. It’s that easy. When you’re finished with an arrangement, you tap to either share the board via text, email, social media or other apps you use like Dropbox or Evernote, or you can export the board to PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, .zip, or the Post-It Plus app’s own file type.
Powtoons: I love this one! Use their free account – takes 5 minutes, can’t change characters, but very user friendly; create animated videos; combine characters, music, graphics; they will do voice-overs.
Sway: Microsoft and it’s free. A simple web-page style. Great to create and share interactive reports, presentations, stories. Excellent for building an assignment and including all resources in one place. While I do not like the limited customization, I found it excellent to use for research type assignments. I used Sway to outline instructions, requirements, share related content and videos, and add questions on the research material- all on the same project page. If you have used Discovery Education’s assignment builder it is similar in look and feel.
Google Classroom and Google’s suite of products. It is much more user friendly than Microsoft and allows you to interact with those collaborating in a document or presentation.
Good luck teachers. I know it is difficult. I know you are being asked to do more with less. What else is new? Just remember a few things: You can do it! You are not going to break it. If it fails, you tried and that is a great lesson to teach too! Hang in there. Stay healthy. Wash your hands.
Live life. Give joy. Be at peace…while social distancing.
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