It is back. Or rather, it has morphed. It is not something more than it was, yet is a combination of its three previous parts.adobe-spark-logo

Odds are you have no idea what I am talking about, so let me be a little more specific. In the past I have reviewed three of my favorite learning apps from Adobe: Voice, Post and Slate.  Each of these three apps helps bring video, graphic creation and website page development into the arms of ES and MS students.

Today, Adobe made those three even better by putting them all in one place and calling it Adobe Spark.

It has a bunch of upgrades as well

  • Google Apps sign in
  • Inspiration gallery for ideas
  • Linking all three apps in one space
  • Adding iPad versions for all the apps

Concerns

Changing from one way of doing things to another interrupts the workflow. Change can be a pain.

Do I Plan to Use It?

I use the current apps so often that I will surely transition (or encourage others really) to switch to this new way of doing it.

Commitment and Learning Curve

Still has a medium learning curve. The products are easy to use for what they do, but what they do takes some training.

Best for ES MS or HS?

All grades and all levels!

Cost

Free!

Website Link

Spark.Adobe.com

For the record, I am more of an apple fan as compared to a pear fan. Please note I mean the kind of apple you eat. PearDeckHowever, I got out of my comfort zone anyway and decided to give Pear Deck a try.  I think I am glad I did.

Pear Deck, like any slide deck program, lets you create slides complete with text and visuals.  Not too exciting. But.. the excitement does erupt when you realize that your slides are now interactive.  

Pear deck lets you control the presentation as it is given to students. Their screen (after the login to your presentation) is controlled by you. Now you can add interactive elements such as multiple choice questions, free response, number response, and if you upgrade, drawing. So neat. Keeps your students engaged a bit more and provides tons of feedback.

Pear Deck requires a Google Apps account and pulls all your images and current slide decks (if you want to import one) via Google Drive only.  A little weird, but seems to work well enough.

Concerns

Make sure the interactive devices your audience has actually work well. I mean you don’t want to have this super awesome slide show and find out most people are so frustrated by using it that they just give up!

It will only work if you have a Google Apps account. Super awesome for schools already setup like that, but not if you are asking people to use their personal accounts.

Sample Uses

  • Interactive lectures
  • Student “pulse” response system
  • Vote on issues for a class meeting

Do I Plan to Use It?

I actually will not use it a lot. I think it is great, but as an ES technology coach, we just don’t use these sorts of teaching methods. Also, since it requires a Google account to access, I can’t rely on using it for presentations to parents.  I don’t know if they will all have a Google account or not, and if they do, many parents won’t know their password, etc.

Commitment and Learning Curve

Not too huge a commitment. Using it is easy and designing a presentation is super easy. They let you upload five of your current presentations for free before they require a pro version. The learning curve is coming up with creative ways to use it.

Best for ES MS or HS?

Mostly MS, HS and adults

Cost

Free for basic version, pro costs 8-12 USD per month.

Website Link

Peardeck.com

Overview

We all know that our presentations are supposed to be visually appealing.  We know that they are supposed to haveScreen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.00.16 PM more photos than words.  But we don’t always follow those words.  But what if there was a tool that forced you to follow those rules?  Enter Haiku Deck!  This is a fast and easy way of creating beautiful presentations.  Students can quickly begin a presentation, find and upload beautiful photos and add in their words.  But the thing that makes this program different than any other presentation software is that it really does focus on the visual side of presentation and forcing you to keep your bullets and notes to a minimum.  It also allows you to easily share that presentation once you are finished.  

Concerns

None really.  I just think that teachers need to choose one presentation tool and stick with it.  Sometimes switching too often takes the focus off the learning and onto the tool.  

Sample Uses

Anytime you would use a presentation software you could use this.  

 

Do I plan to use it?

Yup!  

Commitment and Learning Curve

Low.

Best for ES MS or HS?  

ES/MS/HS

Cost  

Free!

Website Link:

https://www.haikudeck.com/

Audio Review # 22 | EverySlide Encourages Everyone to Interact With Your Slide Deck

EverySlide is a wonderful service that lets you upload your presentation and easily share it with people in your audience.

Ok, no big deal a lot of companies do that, but this has some extra twists to it. After uploading the presentation a link is generated that you share with your audience members. As you click along and present, their screen changes as well.

Ok, no big deal a few companies already do that. But, EverySlide lets you also add polls on the fly and get instant feedback. On top of that, you can create a heatmap for mobile devices. For example, as students to click on a map. You then see where they clicked. Very interesting.

At the end you can see all the results to your polls and heatmap in one place for a better analysis.

Concerns

No significant concerns. Having a free educator license is a big plus. Always a little worried about investing time and resources into a site like this with the possibility that it might one day go offline.

Sample Uses

  • Spice up HS lectures with instant polling and heat maps
  • Ensure all your students are on the same screen while they listen and watch
  • Classroom or school elections. A nice way to have students give their speech with feedback
  • General student presentations where students in the classroom can provide feedback on what they are learning as the student presents. Often watching a student presentation is very passive and boring.

Do I Plan to Use It?

Yes. I will give it a shot at my next presentation.   Looks like fun.

Commitment and Learning Curve

It has a medium learning and commitment curve. It forces you to upgrade your presentation and receive feedback from the audience. Often we are not expected to do that and this service really makes it a requirement. Thus, you have to starting thinking of what questions you would ask your audience and what you would do with that information.

 

Best for ES MS or HS?

MS and HS will be the biggest beneficiaries. I can see using it with older ES students though.

Cost

Free for educators

Website Link

EverySlide.com

Other Reviews

  • https://historytech.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/everyslide-slidesharesocrative/
  • http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2014/04/everyslide-share-your-slides-and-run.html