Step Outside the Slides - 5 Alternatives

"We love Google Slides, but we need something new."
I hear this a lot from teachers. Presentations are great for students to demonstrate understanding while practicing speaking and multimedia skills. But you can only grade so many Slides / Powerpoints / Prezis before they start to blur together. These tools are FREE, flexible, easy to learn, and [BONUS!] use Google Single Sign-on.

1. Screencast Those Slides!

Change is hard, and takes time. So if you're not ready to dive into a whole new platform, have students amp up their Slides / Powerpoint presentations by Screencasting them. Students click through their presentation on-screen, and use an app to record their screen along with their audio narration. They can then turn in a video file that can be shared with classmates, the entire grade level, or parents.

Mac users: Quicktime is installed on your devices!
Windows, Chromebooks: Use the Screencastify Google Chrome Extension or Screencast-o-matic.

2. TourBuilder

Create interactive tours with integrated views from Google Earth (including Street View). These geography-enhanced presentations have a familiar Slides-like layout.  Per slide, enter a location, dates, images, video, links, and text. Upload media, integrate your Drive account, or perform in-app Image & Video searches. Perfect for (auto)biographies, timelines, storytelling, and event recap.

But wait, there's more! Have students screencast a walkthrough of their tour!

3. Adobe Spark

Narrate a movie in a few clicks! This tool is intuitive and simple. On each "slide," include 1-2 pics or a video, and a limited amount of text. Then, record up to 30 seconds of audio per slide. There are a few simple templates for themes, layouts, and fonts, but they're limited - and that's a good thing. No obsessing over styles, no text-heavy slides. Students must be selective with their media choices. Create symbolic, meaningful imagery with succinct, powerful descriptions. BONUS: background music!

4. Student-Created Padlet

A dynamic, flexible, open canvas for short bursts of text, images, links, videos, and audio recordings. Students can post to a shared board, or create their own boards. Become podcasters, bloggers, vloggers, content curators, meme generators, quote collectors, and more! Boards can have password protection, moderation, and Google-style read/write control.

5. Chatterpix Kids

This iPad app lets students choose an avatar to do the talking for them. Record 30 seconds of audio, which is read by a picture of your choosing - complete with animated mouth. Save the video to your camera roll for easy sharing. Middle School students can work in teams, recording separately and
then using iMovie (or another movie editing software) to mash up the recordings into a single video.

Find it in the iTunes App Store

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