Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cool Tool 3: Emaze

For this week's cool tool review, I was planning on finishing my eBook I started making last week with Book Creator, but I decided to take a break from that and try out a new tool! This week I created an Emaze presentation on synonyms and antonyms, a topic my second graders are currently learning.

Emaze is a tool that enables you to create presentations. It can be used on iPads, laptops, computers, tablets, and phones that are connected to Wi-Fi. The presentations can also be easily shared on many different social media sites. This tool has many different presentation themes you can use, and many more if you decide to buy one of the paid versions. Also, if you buy a paid version, you can collaborate on presentations. However, I decided to try out the free version for the time being and used the chalkboard theme. I really liked using this tool and thought it was very simple to use. I like the flow of the presentation and the transition between the slides. There are many options when creating your presentation. You can include text, numbers, images, media, shapes, and charts into your presentations. Another cool feature is that you can important PowerPoint projects that you have already created into Emaze.

When working with slides you can duplicate them or change the settings, such as: auto play, duration, and page scroll. When working with text, there are many features such as: style, size, alignment, bold, text color, background color, effect, opacity, list, indent, text direction, hyperlink, target, audio, arrange, lock, rotate, 3D, line spacing, letter spacing, and font.

Below you will find a screenshot of what you will see when you are creating a presentation.

This would be a great tool to use in the classroom for instruction because, while there are many presentation apps to use, I really like the layout of this one and think it is very engaging for students. Teachers can teach the content with the presentation that incorporates technology and keeps students interested. I can see this being more appealing than a PowerPoint presentation for students of all ages. I love how the slides flow into each other and give the effect that they are all on the same background.

This would also fit even greater with TPACK if it were incorporated into an assignment for the students. For example, students could research a famous person and then show what they learned by creating an Emaze presentation. Emaze does not have so many options that it would overwhelm the students when trying to learn how to use the program, especially younger students. Part of me thinks that Emaze would even be easier for primary-aged students to use than PowerPoint.

I would definitely use this in the classroom to present material on a variety of topics from the weather cycle to character traits to arrays. As I mentioned above I would use this to present material because it presents material in an engaging way and you can also incorporate media and audio. Also, I was able to make it interactive by adding questions to the presentation. I would have students use this because it enables them to create presentations showing what they learned being as creative as they want. It is also easy to use and would not require much teacher support and instruction on how to use the tool. Students could also incorporate media, audio, and links in their presentation. Students can create presentations quickly using Automaze and "Smart" templates. Lastly, there is a template that looks like a newspaper. This would be a fun template for students to use for an assignment where they could create a newspaper to contain articles on a variety of topics. I could see students collaborating easily with the newspaper template, where each student is a journalist reporting on a different topic and they each put their information into the template. Students could also play the role of editor and edit each other's work. There are a variety of templates that I'm sure could open themselves up to many more different engaging and thought-provoking assignment ideas.

Below is an example Emaze that uses the newspaper template.
Powered by emaze

The one challenge I had with this tool was that I could not edit images, other than resizing objects, with this tool so I had to edit them in Microsoft Word and copy/paste them into my Emaze presentation. For example, I found a picture and wanted to crop it, but I was unable to find a way to crop it in the Emaze presentation.

Overall, I think this is an excellent tool for teachers to create engaging presentations and for students to create presentations that showcase their learning in an interactive, creative, engaging way instead of always using reports and tests. I highly recommend trying out this app for yourself and with your students!

Here's my finished Emaze presentation on synonyms and antonyms!

Powered by emaze

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