sexton1441

Month: April, 2014

Prezi

Prezi is a fun alternative to Powerpoints. It is a dynamic platform for the students to engage with. Having them discover something, a new way to work, will get them excited about it and also force them to engage with the material, seeing as they don’t know how to work with it yet. They won’t be able to simply slap together a Powerpoint like they’re used to doing. This is a great new tool to use for oral presentations in the classroom.

Prezi is describe as an “virtual whiteboard” on their website.

(http://prezi.com/about/)

 It’s aims is to create a more engaging dynamic for presentations, allowing, for instance, students to talk WITH their classmates, instead of talking TO them.

There are many different fonts and functions for the students to play with. You can have your presentation zoom in and out bringing to different parts of your page and presentation instead of the typical page by page layout of Powerpoint. Like I just said, you can have it zoom in multiple times, going deeper and deeper into different sections of your point. You can also have it move and focus on different oatrts of the same page once zoomed in, without having to backtrack to the original page. This makes it all seem a lot smoother and professional, and will be fun for students to play with!

(http://prezi.com/6-mlygdgup4s/what-is-prezi-really-and-how-to-create-a-really-good-one/)

You can also add sounds, music, images and colorful charts that come in all shapes and sizes.

The only downfall is that you must pay to have access to the services.

WordPress

WordPress is a platform which allows the user to create his or her own blog. You can even create a website.

(How to create a website with wordpress)

This is a different and original way of getting the students interested in their work. You can simply have them create their own blog on whatever subject they want, or even an imposed subject, and let them explore the web and develop. Maintaining a blog will require for them to read and research, as well as write, practicing these facets of their English learning.

They can work at it from home at any time, they can even work on it from their cell phone with the app.

(The app)

You can also choose from many different backgrounds. And if you are more involved in the project you can even pay for some extra features.

(Different themes)

You can also add different media to it, pictures, videos, and more with links leading to the original website or captions under them. You can also link content directly from twitter or youtube.

The layout is incredibly simple. Everything is well indicated. But just in case, WordPress offers an online tutorial on its website guiding step by step.

(step-by-step)

Here is an online tutorial video (just in case!)

(Tutorial video)

Students will get to feel like their work leads to something palpable. They will get to see the fruits of their labor and take pride in their site. It also allows them to add personality and get involved in the project. You can also have them comment on each other’s blogs as an extra assignment, having them interact. This could lead to some problems, but generally if the teacher monitors the blogs the students should behave.

WordPress is another way of having the students practice without feeling like they are working!

WriteRoom; the minimalist

WriteRoom is a virtual tool with the purpose of facilitating focus when writing. Other tools, such as scrivener (see previous blog post) focus on organizing what has been written. WriteRoom, however, focuses on first getting the material out of your head and onto the page.

The basic idea behind the platform is to extract distractions out of the writing process. Most works intended for the classroom are not hand written anymore. This, although generally positive, does hold its own set of particular problems. The main hindrances is the distractions that come with the computer; games, internet, videos, friends, etc. It is also available as an app for iphone and other handheld devices.

(WriteRoom and Notational Velocity)

WriteRoom removes all of these elements and leaves the student alone with his screen. This way he can focus on his work. The distraction free area created in beneficial to both the creative and reflective process necessary for anything from novels, essays to research papers.

“But if, when it comes right down to it, full screen is your holy grail, and the ultimate antidote to the bric-a-brac of Word, then you must enter the WriteRoom, the ultimate spartan writing utopia.” — Virginia Heffernan, New York Times

(WriteRoom)

Microsoft word does not hide the tool bar and all opened programs and tabs. WriteRoom does not, however, allow for page layout or insert tables and graphs. This can be a negative for the writing process as a whole. However, WriteRoom focuses on the basic writing itself, somewhere between brainstorm and first draft. It is a minimalist program, simplifying the work.

(Going minimalist with my notes)