Research and Exploration of Prezi

Most of us know the importance presentations have in today’s classrooms. Most teachers now present slides every class and even students are sometimes asked to used them for their own presentations. Those slides have taken so much place they started to get boring. It is tru that repetitive slides containing too much information in quick, disjointed succession are not optimal for students’ implication and understanding. But now, with Prezi, presentations are made way more interesting and understandable.

Take a look at this video from the official website to see how they present their product.

What is Prezi ?

Prezi is in its most simple form an interactive, web-based presentation platform, that can be used to creat more engagement among those watching it (students). What differentiate Prezi from other similar tools is that it allows you to zoom in and out from your different canvas. This is  a great way to illustrate big concepts, as well as focus on specific details. Once you are ready to start your project on Prezi, you can either, chose a template from the latest or the most popular, search for a different one, or create your own. Choosing a template will display your Prezi canvas. The way prezi works is that it zooms into specific areas on the canvas by following a path that you need to edit. Then, you can add content or modify your prezi at any moment. Of course, this tool is cloud-based, meaning your projects are available from any device connected to Internet. However, the free service may prevent you from sharing privatly your projects.

For teachers

Prezi is already popular among teachers around the world. It helps them cultivating an atmosphere of engagement and curiosity in the classroom. Also, many projects in different educational subjects have already been made. The most interesting of them, as well as other articles, are shared on the Prezi Education Blog. According to the MELS Reference Framework for Professional Competencies, teachers will show their ability to integrate information and communication technologies during their activities when using prezi in their classroom.

For students

Students will show more interest in their teachers’ presentations if they are done with Prezi. First time they see a presentation done with this tool, they will probally be impressed by how creative  it is and enjoy something finally different from powerpoint. Also, Prezi is pretty simple and could easily be used by childrens of all ages (13 or older)

EDIT (2015-04-15) :

Personal and other teachers’ reflexions

, a college educator and online course designer, described the online presentation maker Prezi in her review. First, she describes how the unique features and stylish presentations of Prezi made it an engaging tool for the classroom. Then, the reviewer described different features of the tool  that made it a good choice for classroom and presentations. For example, users can upgrade to an  »Enjoy Edu » account, in order to have access to logo-free, private presentations, and enhanced support and storage. Moreover, users can login through Facebook and use the same profile on both sites. Those kinds of online interactions made group work easy and kept students goal focused. However, Finkelberg concludes that Prezi was a well-designed tool, but it  »doesn’t hold any intrinsic educational value; it’s the content that students create that will ultimately determine the quality of the presentation »

In his review, the instructional technology resource teacher, Mike R. explained how he used Prezi and gave his reflexions about it. He recommended this tool and used it himself for his presentations, which were all looking  different due to the wide diversity of models available online. Students enjoyed it, in a class where Prezi was introduced to students, 75% of them chose this tool for their presentations. Online collaboration to build their presentation enabled students to work on their project from their home and the ease of use of this website made students more creative. Also, the reviewer tought that students and teachers could take advantage of the zooms and movements during presentations. For example, they could hide information throughout the page to keep the content clear. However, when students used too many rotations, some felt a little seasick.

In their research paper,  Amaal Al Masri, Atika M. Ismael and Fatima Z. Qudah, measured the effectiveness of using Prezi for teaching English language sounds and its effect on the students’ performance. To do so they designed a pre-test and a post-test that the attributed in order at the beginning and the end of their experimentation. For 8 weeks, on group was taught using Prezi and another was taught using traditional instruction of exercises and drills. At the end, the group who learned using Prezi (Experimental) improved significantly more than the traditionally taught group (Control).

panier

The table A. represent results from the two groups on the pre-test and table B. represents their results on the post-test

Research and exploration of Kahoot !

tumblr_inline_n5za5h2ToY1rgp1yg

Whatever your level is or the experience you have, learning is always more enjoyable when it is done at the same time as playing, or at least in a fun way. The website presented in this article is a game based classroom respond system for schools, universities and business. 

First, let me basically explain what Kahoot! is. When you create an account on Kahoot!, you can start create your own quizzes easily with simple tools available. You can also use public quizzes made by other people. Then, you are ready to launch your quiz in your classroom. Use a projector to display the questions at the front. Next step is to have all students register for the quiz on their mobile devices or any device that has web browser. They dont need to install any app or subscribe to anything, they just need to choose the name they want to use and they will see them appear at the front on the players’ list. Then, the fun begins and students start answering the questions. They answer in real-time with their device and they all compete for points and to be at the top of the leaderboard.

The students in general really like how Kahoot! works and it is full of advantages for them and their teachers. This tool could also be called a classroom engagement tool. The game-base of this website motivate the participation of students who are excited to play. Also, students can ask questions to their teacher and become leaders by taking control of their own learning. Students improve their learning and become more succesful learners by involving in a topic. The statistics compiled after each quizzes can be useful for teachers and students to get to know their weakness and strenght. Teachers and students can adapt to their current understanding and also keep track of the results on long terms.

I used a Kahoot game for the first time with my grade 5 Core French students (all boys), and I don’t think I have ever seen them more excited or engaged in an all French activity as they were during the game. Sylvia Duckworth, Core French teacher in Toronto, Canada.

Many teachers have tried Kahoot! and said the activity was a success. Some of them even wrote blog articles and you can find some interesting ones on the Kahoot! pedagogy blog. If you go there you will learn how other teachers chose to use Kahoot! which is interesting if you want some ideas and suggestions.

Another idea of activity teachers could do with their students would be to challenge them to create their own Kahoot! quiz. This will switch the roles of learners and teachers and will help students remember what they ask in their quiz. The learning pyramid graph explain that fact.

To conclude, if you are looking for a motivational, engagement tool, which is easy and fun to use in your classroom, you should probably try the game-based classroom respond system Kahoot! and, its infinite possibilities of activities.

This is where I got introduced to Kahoot!

Research and exploration of Evernote

evernote

Evernote his at its most basic a note taking tools. But, its in fact a lot more than that and some even call it an extension of your brain. Here is a video showing a basic overview of the application.

What is it ?

Evernote is the software that allows you to take any kind of note, in different ways with many tools included, at any time. Evernote also organize all those notes in a database for you to be able to find anything you search later on. The application also offers the possibility to share your work instantly with anyone. It can be access anywhere because it is a cloud based application. You can create a note on your phone, then, edit it on your computer (MAC/PC) and finally share it from your tablet. If you don’t have access to Internet you will be able to create notes but they won’t be synchronized with all your devices. Free users can upload up to 60 MB of data each month, with unlimited storage. Which I think is enough except if you want to save many videos.

Evernote for teachers

For ESL teachers, this application can be used in many ways to improve organisation and communication. For example, teachers could use it to keep track of past and future teaching activities in one notebook. Also, they could organize with keywords a bank of useful websites, for themselves and for students. E-mails from parents, from colleagues and from students could all be saved and organized so that teachers dont have to worry when they clean their mailbox. The audio recorded note tool  can help teacher when they evaluate oral presentation or they can even use the voice recognition (audio to text) to quickly have what they say written. This tool can save a lot of time for people who type slowly. As well, teachers could create lesson plans online and share them with their students. Afterward, they could include to their plan some picture of the white board and some scans of the papers with their cellphone.  Evernote recognizes text in photos, even handwriting, so they can be searched within Evernote notebooks.

Evernote for students

For students, the benefits they can get from this application are pretty much the same as for the teachers. Organisation is easier with electronic documents and communication with the teacher is fast and not only at class time. For the students, Evernote become an electronic binder where they put all the works they do and all the notes they take. If they miss a class or need to revise, they can have access to other students’ or to the teacher’s note. Collaborative works are also made easy with Evernote because only one document can be shared and edited by everyone. All of the three MELS’s ESL program competencies can be practiced with activities on Evernote, but it is firstly an organisation tool.

EDIT (01-04-2015) :

Personal and other teachers reflexion

Nicholas Provenzano a high school English teacher and edublogger experimented a complete Evernote Environment in his classes. He reported his experimentation in his article  »The Epic Evernote Experiment ».  Upon completing his experimentation the blogger reported observations and suggestions. First, he explains how doing lessons’ planning on Evernote helped him store all his old handouts and notes as PDFs. He also loved to have access to his lessons at any time because he could add ideas he might have when he felt inspired. Then, Provenzano describes how Evernote enhanced communication in his classes. For each class, he created a shared notebook regarding assignments. He daily placed in it days’ work and notes explaining the upcoming classwork. Consequently, students were more aware of what their assignment was because they could rely on Evernote. This also saved alot of the teacher’s time as long as he no longer had to use class time to review with students what they missed. Evernote replaced their agenda in a nonesuch manner. Moreover, observations on how Evernote provided access to students’ work  are promoted in Provenzano’s article. Instead of having to carry a bunch of books to complete their assignments, students had all their documents online and they could work wherever they had Internet. Access to students’ work was also allowed to their parents so that they could keep track of their child’s work from anywhere. The teacher had student place all their finalized work in a personal portfolio so that he could leave private feedback to each student. This dialogue on their work allowed students to improve and revise their writing. The last useful thing Provenzano found in his experimentation is to set up notification reminders on notes. For example, he could set the reminder before an assignment they might have forgotten about or before they left the school without something important. These kinds of digital reminders were really advantageous for students who tend to forget work.