Welcome to the first edition of Tech Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will post a blog that highlights technology tools for instructional use. This week, I thought we’d take some time to explore two tools that I shared with the staff at Fossil Ridge High School as part of library orientation: Prezi and QR Codes. Both of these tools have the potential to engage an audience by disseminating information through Web 2.0 tools and smart apps. Both are free (whoop!) and both are rather intuitive for the presenter and the audience.
Click on the logo to go to the site
Prezi has taken the 20th century PowerPoint presentation into the 21st Century by creating a program that is web-based–enhancing accessibility for creators–and adding dynamic layers, motion, and animation to present a variety of media and information. Imagine an animated mash-up of your best PowerPoints, videos, images, and text and voila! Prezi.
You might consider using a Prezi when introducing a new concept, unit, or theme (Think “view” in VESTED). Even a three-four minute “viewing” could jump start students’ natural curiousity and help to build background. Open House is coming up soon; play with transforming your PowerPoint into a Prezi to wow your parents. Using the html code, you can even embed your Prezi on your class web page to provide an engaging introduction.
Students can use Prezi as a vehicle to synthesize information and create original presentations through a “mash-up” of media . Since it is online and free, access is open to all students. Students can collaborate to create the Prezi together on their own devices whether from home or at school. Prezi has also created an iPad app that allows the user to download and view shared and saved presentations. The editing feature, however, is limited and not very conducive to enhancing the presentation through the iPad.
To get staretd, go to Prezi.com, create an account and watch a couple of their easy-to-follow video tutorials. Start small and give yourself plenty of time to become comfortable with the tool before trying it out on an audience.
Check out some of these teacher Prezis for more ideas!
QR codes are customizable barcodes that allow the presenter to provide quick links to online resources such as pages, videos, blogs, forms, etc. To create a QR Code, go to one of the several QR Code Generator sites such as:
After pasting in a link, the generator will provide you with a downloadable .jpeg or .png file that can be inserted as an image into a document. QR codes can even be scanned off of a screen during a presentation (you might remember the funny looking barcode at the end of my library orientation presentation).
Your audience can then use their smart phones to scan the code and go directly to the information. All they need is one of several free QR Reader apps:
Different apps are available for various cellular devices (Android, iPhone, etc.).
What type of information works well with QR Codes? Online forms, videos, blogs, teacher websites all work well on smart phone devices. You might stear clear from using QR codes on smart phones for pages that include a lot of visual information or text as they can be difficult to read on a phone unless the site has a mobile version. QR codes work great when integrated with instruction to respond to surveys and forms or to quickly link students to class pages and frequently used sites. One school last year posted their individual class websites on each teacher door at open house. Parents scanned the QR code and automatically received contact and class information to their devices.
Check out this article from t.h.eJournalshowcasing one high school science teacher’s experiences with integrating mobile device technology and QR codes into his classroom.
We are continually bombarded with information delievered in innovative and engaging ways. Rather than rowing against the tide, let’s harness a few tools to help our students be more critical consumers who can create new solutions and innovations as a result of the unlimited amount of information at their fingertips.
Have you used a Prezi or QR code in your class? We’d love to hear about your successes and struggles in the comments below!