Each year, our science students write science research reports, and then present or share their reports in class. These reports can be a bit dry, so the science teachers asked me to share a few digital presentation tools with students to enhance these sharing sessions.
I knew the reports had the potential to be media rich, so I suggested 5 tools students could use to enhance their science research reports. I wanted a tool that would support a variety of media types, clearly labeled the order to view posts, and was easy to use. I didn’t find a tool that met all of my requirements, but I each tool offered students a unique way to present their information.
Option 1 – Padlet.com
Padlet.com is a virtual online bulletin board. Students can post text, documents, files, images, websites and media. Students can add new posts simply by dragging and dropping files onto the bulletin board, and share the board to work collaboratively. The embedded files and media display nicely in Padlet. However, students are limited in terms of layout, if they want the viewer to see posts in a particular order. The free form layout can be used to cluster posts, but the grid and stream layouts don’t allow easy re-ordering of posts.
Option 2 –Thinglink.com
Thinglink.com uses tags to add text or media to an image. Anything that is currently online can be easily added as an image tag in Thinglink.com. Creating a path for viewers to follow might be challenging within Thinglink.com. However, students could easily create a flow chart or diagram in a drawing program like Google Drawings and use that image in Thinglink.com to embed their media.
Option 3 – Prezi.com
Prezi is a presentation software that allows freeform organization. Documents, images and video are easy to embed in Prezi, however web links aren’t attractively embedded in Prezi. Prezi makes it easy to designate a path for viewers to follow. One feature users sometimes overlook in Prezi is the ability to zoom into images. Using the zoom feature Prezi can function like somewhat like Thinglink, embedded content can be “hidden” from the viewer, and then displayed by using the path feature.
Option 4 – QR Codes and Short Link
QR Codes are bar codes that activated using a QR Code reader, usually installed on a mobile device. Using a URL shortener like goo.gl, students can create QR Codes for use in their projects. By including the short url as well, a mobile device is not needed to access the content in the QR Code. QR Codes and short links can be used to display a variety of media types. Using a program like Google Drawings, students can create a visual that includes their QR Codes and short links, or students can use the QR Codes in combination with one of the other tools.
Option 5 –Aurasma.com
Aurasma.com is a augemented reality app, that uses an image instead of a bar code to access content. It could be difficult to create an entire report using aurasma.com. But, aurasma is a great way to enhance student reports with additional content, like video explanations created by the students.
The students won’t complete their reports for a few weeks, but are excited about variety of options we’ve provided them, and I’m excited to see how they’ll use these tools.
Author: Brooke Ahrens
Brooke Carey Ahrens is a Google Certified Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at a bay area high school. Brooke is currently serving as a rep Northern California Region rep for the California School Library Association.