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EPI 0003 Technology: Instructional Tech

This guide is for students in the Educators Preparation Institute.

Presentation tools

"New kinds of electronic tools are emerging that allow instructors to craft presentations that more closely reflect new approaches to teaching and learning. For instance, many of these tools allow collaboration between multiple authors, and some use nonlinear branching or sequencing so that class discussion can guide the presentation. Presentation tools based on new models of representing information also encourage instructors to rethink learning activities in ways that can improve learning. These tools might also bring about a more thorough merging of in-person and remote classroom audiences."
- Denise Horoky, 2010, Educause

Articles of Interest:

"7 Things You Should Know About Next-Generation Presentation Tools" (Educuase)

"Presentation Zen: What Is Good PowerPoint Design?"  

"Make Presentations and Publish on the Web with Flowboard (Flowvella)"

"10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations"

  1. Train Before Trying
  2. Presentation First, PowerPoint Second
  3. Know Your Audience
  4. Tell a Story
  5. Show It, Don't Write It
  6. Embrace Color -- Carefully
  7. Follow the Rule of 10
  8. Keep It Short
  9. Keep It Legible
  10. Skip It Altogether

"7 Things You Should Know About Infographic Creation Tools" (Educause)

"7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting" (Educause)

"7 Things You Should Know About Screencasting" (Educause)

"7 Things You Should Know About Ustream" (Educause)

"7 Things You Should Know About VoiceThread" (Educause)

Popular Web-Based Presentation Tools

  • Slideshare - Free - Discover, Share, and Present presentations and infographics with the world's largest professional content sharing community.
  • Keynote - A Mac alternative to PowerPoint.
  • Prezi - Pay - Create web-based presentations with movement.
  • Haiku Deck - Pay - Create web-based presentations that inspire.
  • Google Slides - Free - With Google Slides, you can create, edit, collaborate, and present wherever you are. (Part of Google Drive)
  • Nearpod - Pay - Nearpod allows an instructor to create an interactive classroom "powerpoint" presentation that students access on their mobile devices or computers. You control the pace of the presentation in the classroom as students follow along on their devices. Interactive elements can be seamlessly added to the presentation such as: videos, browsing websites, Q&A, and polls.
  • Flowvella - Engage your audience in one interactive presentation experience. Enable your team with their new secret weapon. Combine words, images, video, links, galleries, and PDFs to turn your story into an interactive conversation.

Infographic and Flowchart Tools

Infographics describe a wide range of graphics used to display complex amounts of data and/or ideas.

Screencasting Tools

Screencasts, or screen capture, is a wonderful way to take students through a complicated process. You can record whatever is happening on your computer screen with an added narration.

  • walk students through a website
  • demo software available on your computer
  • use a webcam - record yourself
  • practice problem solving

Screencasts can be used for presentations, learning objects, how tos, asynchronous communication, and whatever else you can think of. They do not have to be as polished and professional as learning objects.

  • Snagit - Take a screenshot or capture a video of what you see on your computer screen.
  • Camtasia - Available in the TLC production studio. Quickly create eye-catching videos.
  • Zoom - start a web conference, just don't invite any participants, use the screen-share option, and record the meeting.

Tips and Tricks

  1. For best results for the narration, use a headset with a microphone. Although many computers have built-in microphones, the audio can sound scratchy and distant. If you do not have your own mic, you can borrow one from the Video Lab or stop by the TLC.
  2. Since whatever is on your screen will be recorded, hide extraneous icons and browser menu bars.
  3. Make text appear larger by: boosting the default font size of your browser; zooming in on a browser (usually in the View menu); or switching to a lower screen resolution
  4. Use a script. Making a screencast is like public speaking. Some folks like to talk off the cuff, others prefer to read from a script. Do whatever makes you more comfortable.

 Either way, practice, practice, practice. It may take a few (or several) takes to get the screencast done.

Other fun tools

pens and paper


Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so on . . .


Storytelling tool you can use to make a podcast with simple animated characters.

Check out more on the Official Voki Blog for tips/practices from faculty users.

Voki for Conversations


Media aggregator that allows people to post media artifacts which might be a document, a slide presentation, a video, or a collection of photos for community feedback.


A site that let's you create your own online graphic cartoons.

SignUp is Free and also available as an iPAD app.


“It’s an innovative way to introduce the album cover to the public and have it be dynamic, not just a static image. To have video & audio accompany the image really helps connect the marketing and the social tie in is a big plus.” - Thanh Nguyen,
Digital Marketing, Atlantic Records
Students could use this as a tool to tag an image with their analysis, for faculty to highlight key aspects of an image, or explain a chart.


Make animated videos that look super professional in just a few minutes with PowToon. It's easy. It's free. It's totally awesome! 

Google Drive

Google Drive

G-Drive is a great way to collect student work, share instructional resources, and collaborate.

Digital Storytelling

Close-up colored keyboard

"Digital storytelling at its most basic core is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories . . . [revolves] around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including graphics, audio, video, and Web publishing." - University of Houston, TX.

1. Digital Storytelling (Creative Educator)

2. "What is Digital Storytelling?" (University of Houston)

3. "Teacher's Guide to Digital Storytelling" (Edudemic, 2014)

4. "7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling" (Educause)

5. "The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling" (2006)

Video Projects

video camera

Provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning of course content through the creation of short video.

"6 Tips for Successful Mobile Video Assignments in the Classroom" (Chronicle)

Below are some best practices if introducing such an assignment in your course:

  • consider the outcome you want - length of video and expectations of quality and content as will determine how much time students need to complete the task
  • assign students to work on projects in small groups to promote student-to-student interaction and build collaboration skills
  • provide training and support resources to help students learn multimedia tools and software they will need, know what resources are available on your campus
  • educate students about the resources and methods for acquiring digital assets, as well as the ethical and legal issues related to using these materials in their projects
  • address a real problem to increase motivation and to provide students with the opportunity to share their projects with an audience outside the course if applicable

Consider for Video:

  • Write out a script first
  • Average 150 words spoken per minute
  • 15 minute video = about 2200 words
  • 10 minute video = about 1500 words

Mobile APPs for the classroom

cellphone on a desk


  • GradeBook Pro is a powerful and intuitive paperless classroom management tool. Record grades, attendance, and student performance in an app and be able to email results to individual students.


  • A web-based collaborative real-time editor, allowing authors to simultaneously edit using the iPad.


  • Make your lectures more engaging through interactive multimedia presentations.


  • Audience response system that uses mobile phones, twitter, and the web to allow for live classroom participation.


  • Easily curate engaging magazines.


  • Snapguide is the easiest way to make and share great looking guides. Create your own guides with our mobile platform and discover guides on the go.


  • An amazing drawing application that records the process so you can watch how you created your own artwork.


  • Procreate is the most advanced painting app ever designed for a mobile device. Create beautiful sketches, inspiring paintings, and stunning illustrations.


  • Interactive presentation tool using formative assessment and integrating seamlessly with Microsoft Office and the Google Suite.


  • Interactive polls, quizzes and word clouds.


  • Plant a question; grow an answer. Minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real-time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback.

Gaming Tools

arcade games

"Gamification is the application of game elements in non-gaming situations, often to motivate or influence behavior. The rewards or the spirit of competition can spur students’ concentration and interest and lead to more effective learning. The use of gamification is wide-ranging in higher education, from extra-credit awards and in-class team competitions to complex multi-level schemes that can pervade a course." - Educause

"7 Things You Should Know About Gamification" (Educause)

"Teaching as Designing" (Huffington Post)

"7 Things You Should Know About Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)" (Educause)

ARGs weave together real-world artifacts with clues and puzzles hidden virtually any place, such as websites, libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages, movies, television programs, or printed materials.

Seth Priebatsch's TEDxBoston 2010 talks about how game dynamics are reshaping classroom learning. (TED)

Digital Badges

Credly Digital Badges

We already have a game layer in education - it's called GRADES.

But grades are so insubstantial. A letter in a database. The only physical representation is a boring piece of paper. Easily forgotten, added to GPA calculations, there is no jazzy sense of ownership when you get a letter grade. Wasn't it much more satisfying to get a GOLD STAR in elementary school? You had physical, visual proof of what you had accomplished.

  • Badges - the web equivalent of gold stars
  • - create your own digital badges

Badges and Gaming Principles:

  • Make each class module a "game level." Whenever a student "levels up" they get some reward.
  • Create a visual representation of the progression of a class.
  • The submissions module can do this - students can quickly see whether they have completed an assignment.
  • More fun - create a progress bar with percentages. People want to reach 100%.