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The Magic of Prezi

Oral presentations can be quite boring at times, especially for teachers who have to listen carefully to every student’s presentations. Let’s forget all about the boring PowerPoints and let me present you Prezi.

Prezi is an online tool that helps you create attractive presentations. What is special about Prezi is the “zooming function”. You can drag from one point to another by zooming in or out to another point, by doing so it catches students’ attention more easily. In addition, students that are more visual will particularly like this tool because it favors visual learning with motion and colors. It can also be used as a visual learning tool for teacher as we can create our own documents to support what we want to explain. If you want to know more about how to start creating your own Prezi click here.

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Another thing that is particularly fun about Prezi is the fact that it can be used collaboratively. Two students which are respectively at their home can work collaboratively on the same project with the help of Prezi. Whether it is only for brainstorming ideas or for their actual Prezi creation, they both can work on it simultaneously. In addition, what I particularly like about Prezi is the fact that it is an online tool, so no need to save it on a USB key and bring it to class. As we know students often tend to forget their USB key at home. With Prezi, problems like this won’t happen because they only need to log on to the website to access their Prezi.

I can hear other teachers tell me “I already have my PowerPoints, I don’t want to recreate all my documents on Prezi, it will take too much time!” I am glad to announce you that if you already have your PowerPoint documents, you can easily convert them into Prezi files with the PowerPoint import function on Prezi. Consequently, there is no reason not to use it now.

As a teacher, I gladly recommend this tool to my students because it allows oral presentations to be more interactive and fun which is often not the case. And most of all, my students can use this tool collaboratively if they have to work on team projects. I hope you know more about Prezi than you did before and that I might have convinced you in using it in your future class with your students.

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Storybird

Since my childhood I have always been fond of books, even to this day I like to spend my free time reading a good book. When I decided to become a teacher I always envisioned myself sharing my passion of literature and books with my future students. Recently, I discovered a tool that could help me reach this goal. It consists of a website called Storybird.com. Basically, it is a website specialized in storytelling that can be used for education. On these two websites, you can learn more about what Storybird is and how you can use it in your classroom. Moreover, there is a possibility that allows teacher to create an account as a teacher which create interactive classes and allowing the administration of student accounts. What is even more appealing for teachers is the guaranty of online safety for children. Consequently, there is no fear of having students see anything inappropriate. For example, if the kids decide to publish their story publicly, the name of the child or the school that he or she is linked to, will not be named. As a teacher, I find it particularly important to know that my students can use this website safely.

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I would mostly use this tool to evaluate or to practice competency 3(writes and produces text). By creating their own story, my students would be able to practice and improve their writing skills as well as being introduced to the writing process. Also, there is a possibility to use this tool in group, as one student can continue the story of his friend or give feedback. By working in team, students would have the possibility to learn cooperatively. Therefore, Storybird can be used in various forms for the purpose of different activities.

I particularly like this tool because it allows students to use their creativity as well as improving their ability to write text. And most of all, with the help of this tool they can create their own book which they can show to their parents after and feel proud of it. Consequently, I do recommend this tool to other teachers as it can be used for the creation of original projects.

If you would like to know more about Storybird, here is a video that teaches you how to use the tool. It helped me greatly to understand more fully how to use the tool as a beginner.

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Facebook, an educational tool?

Many students have difficulty believing that Facebook can be used as an educational tool for their classes. Some teachers have decided to use this tool for their class and have seen the benefits of it. Nowadays, Facebook is mostly known for friend’s research and the sharing of pictures, links, articles and many more with a group of friends. But we need to remind ourselves that Facebook was originally created as a social networking website exclusive for post-secondary students. Therefore, even though many do not use it for this purpose today, teachers still have the opportunity to use it for educational purposes.

As a teacher, I was surprised that some teachers use Facebook for educational purposes. On this website, I found pros and cons for using Facebook in an educational environment which helped me set my opinion on the subject. Also, I found another website that states why it should be important to allow students to use social media such as Facebook in class. I would use Facebook with my students to have the opportunity to share information rapidly and to be able to help my students more easily with the network. Group work becomes often difficult for students who do not know well their team mates which makes communication harder. With the help of Facebook, my students could share files and information more efficiently as well as informing other class’ students about their project. One important benefit of Facebook is that teenagers are always on it. Whether it is on their computers or on their cellphones, they have access to it quite easily. Consequently, students could not avoid or ignore the group conversation as it would be in their notifications. As a result, homework, exams or oral presentations could not be avoided since they would see the posts about it on their Facebook account which would remind them of their school work. I believe that I could use this tool to post homework and to answer particular questions from my students. Often, when students are home they can get confused about the homework or what was being asked to do. With Facebook, they would have a fast and efficient tool to contact me for any questions or clarifications. In addition, if for some reasons I do not respond rapidly, other students who understood well what was being asked could also help the student. What is primordial for a teacher who uses this tool, is to understand that he or she needs to respond rapidly and be aware of what is happening. As teachers we have a job to do and we are responsible of our students. Therefore, if we see students being mean to one another or we see a student who seems to suffer from depression we have the obligation to help or reach out to them. We are responsible of them and we have the duty to take actions if we see something inappropriate on Facebook, even if it does not concern school. Some teachers are skeptical to use this tool as it implies other types of problem and creates even more obligations for them. However, the benefit of using this tool in class is something that we have to take in consideration too.

Based on these arguments and the discussion I had in class with other teachers on the subject, I believe it is up to every teacher to decide whether or not they want to use it in their classes. However, one cannot deny the positive effects that technology has on students, has they become easily motivated because most of them like everything that is new and unusual for class. By using Facebook in class, let’s challenge the meaning they have of the network and make it useful for something other than their social life.