Excellent Alternatives to PowerPoint

 Excellent Alternatives to PowerPoint

PowerPoint is absolutely one of the most popular presentation tool out there. I bet that the first presentation you have ever made was via PowerPoint, well at least that was the case with mine. There are, however, several other presentation tools that we can use as an alternative to PowerPoint and guess what? They are way easier and simpler especially for use in education. I have handpicked some of such tools for you to check but you can also check this extensive list of some of the best presentation tools for teachers to explore more options.

1- Prezentit

presentation tools

This is one of my favourite tools  for creating presentations.It does not require any software download  and all you need is a web browser. Przentit also lets you work on your presentation in real time and you can  download your finished work or share it with others.

2- Sliderocket

presentation tools

Sliderocket is a great presentation tool that lets users easily create, collaborate and share stunning media-rich presentations. It even provides ready made templates for you to use.

3- SlideSix

presentation tools

SlideSix is another great presenter application. It allows you to record audio and video narration and attach external videos, manage your presentations,and many more.

4- Vuvox

presentation tools

You can use Vuvox to instantly produce dynamic interactive panoramas with hot-spots. You can also upload and edit the  presentations you have created .

5- Keynote

presentation tools

This one works only on Mac. It is a tool that lets users create captivating presentations using powerful applications and impressive effects.

6- Prezi

presentation tools

Prezi is an awesome visualization tool. You can use it to visualize your ideas in interactive canvases, and import PowerPoint slides, images, videos , PDFs ect. Check out the video tutorial it has on its homepage to learn more about it.

7- Zoho Show

presentation tools

Zoho Show is an online presentation tool that helps you create and deliver presentations. It has several applications and features that makes creating presentations way simpler .

8- Dipity

presentation tools

Dipity is a free digital timeline website that allows users to organize web content by date and time. They can also create, share, enbed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and timestamps.

9- Empressr

presentation tools

With Empressr, you can create awesome presentations by adding photos, music, video, and audio. You can also instantly share your work publicly or privately.

ZOOBURST!! A Virtual Pop-Up Book!

ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own story.

ZooBurst books ‘live’ online and can be experienced using nothing more than a web browser running the Adobe Flash plug-in. Authors can arrange characters and props within a 3D world that can be customized using uploaded artwork or items found in a built-in database of over 10,000 free images and materials.

Once constructed, books can be inspected from any angle from within a 3D space, and rotating around a book is as easy as dragging and dropping a mouse. In addition, authors can choose to make items “clickable,” allowing readers to learn more about individual characters within a story. Each character can have its own ‘chat bubble’ that pops up when that character is clicked. In addition, authors can also record their own voices using the ZooBurst audio recorder to have their characters really ‘speak’ when clicked!

Readers can choose to experience and participate in a ZooBurst book in a number of ways. Authors can share books with readers using a simple hyperlink, and books can easily be ‘embedded’ in any website or blog, allowing authors to provide their own contextual framework to their stories. Authors can also maintain a moderated discussion forum for each book, providing a virtual space in which readers can interact with one another.

Readers who have a webcam installed on their computer can also experience any ZooBurst book in Augmented Reality. Once a book has been loaded, readers can click on the ‘Webcam Mode’ button at the top of the screen. This button will turn on their webcam and allow them to see themselves as though they were looking in a mirror. From here, visitors can hold up a special symbol to the webcam to watch as the book ‘flys’ out of the paper and into the room around them! In addition, Augmented Reality mode also allows readers the ability to interact with a book using simple gestures. For example, simply waving your hand in front of a book will allow you to turn its pages back and forth.

As an educational tool, ZooBurst provides students with new ways in which they can tell stories, deliver presentations, write reports and express complex ideas. ZooBurst contains a powerful ‘classroom management’ feature for teachers that lets them easily set up protected, safe spaces for their students. Teachers can assign usernames and passwords to their students without having to input any sensitive or personal information, and can manage and moderate student work in a protected environment.

The best way to learn more about ZooBurst is to give it a try! Click here to sign up for your own ZooBurst account – it’s free!


7 Google Search Techniques You May Not Know

Google search is a powerful tool…sometimes more powerful than you realize!  Are you taking advantage of some of the lesser-known Google search techniques?  Here are a few of my favorites…



It’s surprising how many people don’t know about Google SafeSearch!  SafeSearch filters allow you to modify your browser settings so that inappropriate content does not display in search results. More on SafeSearch here.

Word Definitions

To quickly pull up the definition of a word, use “define:” followed by the word.

Example: define:webinar

Numeric Ranges

Useful if you’re looking for information that relates to a range of numbers (such as a price range or years).

Example: television 1950…1960

Phone numbers

Curious who keeps calling your cellphone and not leaving a message?  If their number is listed, you can find it via Google by using “phonebook:” followed by the number.

Example: phonebook:555-555-5555

Excluding words or phrases

If  you’re looking for something a little more obscure, narrow down your search results by asking Google to omit certain results by using the “-” symbol.

Example: Florida vacation -Disney

Specify results by document type

Looking for a PDF? Word doc? Powerpoint? Many people don’t realize that you can filter results by document type in the search bar.  Just use “filetype:” followed by the file extension after your keywords.

Example: “World War I” filetype:ppt

Recipe View

Have you noticed the recipe view in Google Search?  Type in a recipe title, and on the left-hand side, you’ll see various options that allow you to specify whether or not certain ingredients are included, the amount of cook time resource, and calorie count.  This tip is my personal favorite, so make sure to check it out!

Example: Pumpkin Bread

How many of these tips were new to you?  Let me know in the comments area of this post!

Into the Book

Happy New Year!!
Really great reading web site you will want to check out!!
Into the Book is a reading comprehension resource for K-4 students and teachers. We focus on eight research-based strategies: Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating and Synthesizing. Try the online interactive activities, or click on the web page to find out how to get our engaging 15-minute video programs.
Behind the Lesson provides information and teaching resources for each strategy. Watch our 10-minute professional development videos and explore the Web site for lesson plans, video and audio clips, downloads, and more.

Great iPad Apps for Teachers

With the iPad2 on the launching pad, it’s a great time to share this list of useful iPad apps for teachers from writer Paula Dierkens.

There’s no doubt that the iPad is an excellent device, and if you own this gadget, it makes sense to pick up the applications best suited to your lifestyle and profession. So if you’re a teacher, here are ten great iPad apps that you must try out: 

1. QuickVoice Recorder: This is the perfect recording tool to record your classes and get feedback on your performance; you can see what you’re doing right and what you’re going about wrong and learn how you can improve your lectures.

2. Dropbox: If you’ve used Dropbox on your computer, you already know this is a must-have tool on your iPad. If not, it’s a file storage application that allows you to say goodbye to flash drives and portable hard disks for good. Just sign up to store your files online and then access them from any other computer, your iPad or your smartphone. Ideal for files you use at school and at home.   

3. Things for iPad: If you’re looking for the perfect task manager to keep track of all your appointments and prepare ahead, then Things it is.

Mobile Filtering Technology

4. Discover: There’s no need for encyclopedias today with Wikipedia and other instant sources of information. Discover joins this list as the go-to app for the iPad when you need information on just about anything in the world.

5. Evernote: There’s no need to carry around a notebook or diary in which to jot down your lesson plans or reminders – just use Evernote to enter your notes in text or voice format.

6. Pages for iPad: Use this nifty app to type out all your documents and include any kind of formatting you may need.

7. Numbers for iPad: For all your spreadsheet needs on your iPad, turn to Numbers. It’s easy to use, easy to access, and easy to import all your information from your Excel worksheets.

8. Goodreader for iPad: Use this app to access all your documents, PDF files, video and audio files, spreadsheets and many other kinds of files over a wireless network or via USB cable – it makes it dead easy to retrieve files from other systems.

9. Mobile Air Mouse: This is the perfect tool for hosting presentations and conducting lectures using an interactive whiteboard. It turns your iPad into an all-in-one remote control that you can use to manipulate the board without having to resort to using a wireless keyboard and a mouse.

10. WritePad: If you prefer to write rather than type, then this app converts your handwriting on the iPad into readable text – use your finger or a stylus to get your point across.


I’m a HUGE fan of Twitter. I have personally found it to be the best source of new ideas and tips out there, and it’s free! It can take time to build up a decent sized network, but once you follow enough people then you begin to see the benefits.

1. Follow Follow Follow

Twitter is all about following people. The more people you follow, the more tweets will appear in your timeline. There is a critical mass to Twitter. Early users often give up as the few users they follow may not yield many interesting or useful tweets. You need to start following lots of people (50+) to start getting useful communication.

Once you follow a few people – look at their twitter pages and see who they talk to, or who they follow. If they sound interesting, follow them too. Gradually build up a network of Twitter users who interest you.

Also – take a look at the “Who to Follow” page which will suggest other followers based on who you follow.  Very handy.

Hopefully, those people you follow will also follow you back. Which brings me to:

2. Add a Bio to your profile

Whenever I get a new follower I check on their Twitter account to see if they are worth following back, or whether they are an automated spam bot. The first thing I check is their bio – the short piece of information that you add to your profile. If they say they are a teacher, or a teaching student, then I will pretty much always follow them back. If there is no information here, then I am more wary of them, and most likely will not follow unless their tweets look interesting.

It’s important to put something here – even if it’s just that you’re a teacher interested in Twitter.

3. Keep an eye on Hashtags

Hashtags are short codes used to help keep information on similar topics organised on Twitter. You can add a hashtag to any tweet just by using the # symbol followed by a word or acronym. Hashtags are often used during Teachmeets or other conferences to allow everyone attending that event to discuss it, even if they are not following many of the people at that event.

Here are some good hashtags for teachers to follow : #ukedchat #edchat #mathchat #pgce #nqt #scichat #edtech #teachmeet

If you want to take part in the regular discussions like #ukedchat then just add that hashtag to your comment and everyone following that tag will see it. If you see people using that tag that interest you, follow them it’s a good way of meeting other educators.










4. Use a Twitter client

The twitter site is OK, but it’s not brilliant. Especially if you want to monitor several different things at the same time – such as several hashtags, plus keeping an eye on who’s talking to you. There are different Twitter clients out there, but a good free one is Tweetdeck. You can set up multiple columns that look for different things. For example mine is set up to show my regular timeline, any mentions of @dannynic, a column for friends/family tweets who might get lost in the general stuff, and then columns for #Scichat and #ukedchat.

It makes following Twitter a lot easier.

Go mobile – get a twitter client for your phone too!


5. Protect or No Protect?

This is  decision you’ll have to make for yourself. It is possible to protect your tweets so that only people who you give permission to can follow you and see what you say. I don’t use this myself – I just make sure that I don’t tweet anything too personal that might get me into trouble. But some teachers might prefer to keep their tweets away from the general twitter stream. At least be aware that the option is there should you need it.

6. Dont be afraid to lurk

There’s nothing wrong with just lurking – not saying much but following the stream of tweets from others. It will give you a good idea of the way that Twitter works. But you will get more out of twitter if you start sharing. Share your experiences, share good websites you’ve found. If you have a tip or piece of advice – share it You’ll get more follow backs. Join in when you feel ready!

7. Don’t just broadcast – interact!

Do try and engage with other users out there. Twitter is about communication. There are many users out there who just tweet links or news about their organisation without any kind of discussion with their followers. Remember to use an @ sign in front of their username so they can see your message eg use @dannynic to talk to me.

8. Get an Avatar

The default twitter avatar is an egg. It’s not very exciting. Change this to an avatar of yourself – or, if you don’t want a real photo of yourself up there, something more fun. Here are some ideas for making avatars for online sites.

9. Beware of Spammers

Do be aware that there are a lot of automated accounts out there who will follow or tweet at you, who may not always be benign. If you receive links in messages that you do not trust – don’t click on them. Some can direct you to dodgy websites that may compromise your twitter account. You can also block and report other users for spam if you find their behaviour worrying.

10. Follow Back

Twitter will alert you when you get a new follower. Take a second to check out their profile, and if they sound interesting (and not a spammer) then follow them back. Over time your network will grow.

A lot of people call their Twitter friends their Personal Learning Network (PLN) and I can definitely go along with this. I follow 4000 people, so it is not possible to keep up with all the messages flying past. But when I dip into Twitter I can always guarantee there’s a couple of excellent nuggets of wisdom, or links to new websites/articles out there that I haven’t seen before.

There are thousands of teachers on Twitter already – get on board and join them!


AWESOME Computer Lab Activities!!

This seems to be an awesome site for lots of content areas computer lab activities.  Many of these activities contain the collaborative and extended thinking projects that we want all students involved in! 

Awesome PowerPoint Print Setting TIP!

If you’ve got a presentation that is almost always printed a certain way (maybe it’s always handouts or maybe you always have students make a mini book from a template) and you’re getting tired of changing printer settings every time you hit the Print dialog box (or finding entire page PowerPoints in the printer wasting paper), then read on!

In a situation like this it sure would be nice to have all those settings automatically set up, wouldn’t it?

Within the multitude of settings found in PowerPoint’s Options dialog you’ll find one that allows you to choose print settings for a particular presentation. Set them there and you can forget about setting them over and over again every time you print.

Obviously we need to start in the Options dialog box. (Office Button / File tab, Options choice)

On the left choose Advanced and then on the right scroll down to the section entitled “When printing this document“.


The first step is to choose the document to which the settings will be applied. (If it’s the only file open then don’t worry about this step.)

Below that you’ll two choices: “Use the most recently used print settings” and “Use the following print settings”.

Select the radio button to “Use the following print settings“.

At this point the options below will become active and you can make your changes.

When you’re done click OK.

Now… before you begin to wonder… yes, these settings can be overridden without returning to the Options dialog box.

During the print process you’re still free to make adjustments to settings in the Print dialog box… the advantage to these settings is that it should reduce the number of times you find yourself making the changes!

Wordfoto for iPad or iTouch



You’ve probably heard the tired cliche about a picture being worth a thousand words. We’ve taken this phrase quite literally and created WordFoto, an app that turns photos and words into amazing typographic works of art.

Instructional Uses:

  • Animal Research
  • Creative Writing Prompt
  • Describing Characteristics of Landforms
  • Word Families
  • Beginning and Ending Sounds
  • Five Senses
  • Matter


What Was There?


Sharing a random website that you may be able to use in the future.  It shows features/landmarks in various cities from the past and what is in that place right now.  How it has changed over time. Put San Antonio, TX, or any other location you love into the location bar.  Click on a photo, then click on ‘Google Street View’ on that photo.  To see what it looks like today, use the slider bar that says fade. I found a collection of old photos.  I clicked on a photo, then Google Street view to give me a past and present overlay of the same location. 


Kinda fun!