Thanks to the Internet, Spanish teaching is easier than ever.
You can teach students anytime, anywhere. Plus, you can teach them on your preferred schedule.
It doesn’t get much better than that—unless you throw some awesome presentation tools into the mix.
This eliminates so much extra work, you won’t believe it. You may already be using apps, blogs, websites and other awesome online tools, but presenting material is the single most important element of teaching Spanish online.
What’s on the screen means everything.
Think your old school tools will do just fine? Think again!
Even with online classes, students still need presentations and lots of them. The latest presentation tools can help ensure that your teaching materials are extremely efficient, informative and student-friendly.
The problem these days is that there are almost too many neat presentation tools available for online teaching. So, how do you know where to start? How can you find tools that will actually grab a student’s attention and make for a positive learning experience? How can you really stand out from the crowd as a distinguished online educator?
This article will give you some great tips on where to find the latest and coolest presentation tools to spice up your online teaching straightaway, plus some tips for using them like an online teaching pro.
By the way, we’re not talking PowerPoint, folks! That was oh so…2005!
But first, let’s take a quick look at why and how you should use cool presentations in your online Spanish lessons.
Why Teach Spanish Online with Presentation Tools?
There are a lot of reasons why you’ll definitely want to include presentations in your online Spanish classes.
One reason is that you can use presentations to explain tricky grammatical concepts or present new vocabulary. Having a visual aid makes everything clearer and less abstract than just hearing someone talk about these topics.
You can use presentations to give students an introduction to the course or to let them know how to best navigate the course management system.
Presentation tools are usually very flexible and multifaceted. Many allow students to collaborate on projects, record audio and video for pronunciation and speaking practice and share things with other students and with you, the teacher.
Using presentation tools also helps you to maintain a strong presence. It gives any lesson your unique, personal touch, which is all-important when the folks you’re teaching will probably never have a chance to really “meet” you in person!
And now, to the tool box!
Streamlined Spanish: How to Teach Spanish Online with 10 Superb Presentation Tools
The first tool we’ve got to talk about is VoiceThread. If you haven’t heard of VoiceThread, it’s one of the most versatile presentation tools out there.
This tool allows both teachers and students to record audio commentary, so it can be used for anything from oral exam presentations to interactive oral assignments. Students can also work collaboratively on projects using this tool.
On the presentation side of things, you (the teacher) can upload any document or video and then record your voice as you explain, describe or comment on what’s going on in that uploaded content. This allows you to easily expand on a grammar point or provide more precise input by telling a story.
Institutional accounts are available (chances are your school already has one) and can be integrated into Blackboard or other learning management systems. For more cool ideas on how to integrate VoiceThread into your Spanish classroom, check out this University of Albany Wiki.
Haiku Deck calls itself “presentation software that inspires” and it does so with good reason. This sleek, user-friendly alternative to PowerPoint lets folks make presentations using their laptop or iPad—just click and choose, drag and drop, no manuals or lengthy “how to’s” needed.
The inspiring part isn’t just the ease of usability Haiku offers, but also the fact that it offers a much more visually pleasing alternative to traditional online presentation software. You can choose from an array of cool fonts and an assortment of backgrounds and high-definition photographs available through keyword search (the site links to Google Images), making Haiku much more visually impacting and unique.
Slides can also be made interactive for students and decks can be shared easily with other instructors. Watch out, though, because free accounts are public by default. If you don’t want your students downloading your slides or wish to keep them private, you’ll need to upgrade your account.
First off, in case you’re wondering, the name Knovio is a combination of “knowledge” and “vision”—totally unrelated to the word novio!
This nifty tool can be used online or downloaded from an app store. Like VoiceThread, the tool allows you to add spoken comments or even video using your webcam. And if you’re afraid of messing up, never fear! Knovio offers users a generous “re-record” function, meaning that you can keep editing the presentation until you get it right.
I know I said that PowerPoint is, like, so 2005, but that’s not entirely true. This app is able to bring good ol’ PP into the modern age. Knovio works seamlessly with Microsoft products like PowerPoint, and is basically a tool that anyone can easily use to make their PowerPoint presentations much cooler. If you plan on teaching with slides that are heavy on video or audio—or if you feel more comfortable working with those familiar Microsoft tools—Knovio is for you.
And then, there’s Glogster.
Glogster is a tool that works like a digital bulletin board. You can choose from a variety of very visually pleasing templates, many of which are especially built with educational purposes in mind.
But these aren’t just your usual static bulletin boards. Nor do they require a box of sticky tacks. They are snazzy, colorful and allow you and your students to make high-quality, interactive multimedia posters that are sure to grab anyone’s attention.
Consider using the storyboard template to assign a digital storytelling project to your online students, or making a narrated bulletin board of a trip abroad and using it as vocabulary and grammar input.
PowToon allows you to create awesome cartoon-inspired presentations and animated videos students are sure to love.
No drawing or animation skills whatsoever are required, and you can create a custom educator’s account to try for free. Choose from a variety of characters and a variety of backgrounds, settings, themes and special effects.
PowToons are great for illustrating uses of spoken vocabulary and grammar in context. This colorful and interesting tool will make sure that students definitely remember what you’re showing them—they may have never seen an online lesson quite like this before!
Consider making some funny dialogues for them to watch, too. After all, uploading to YouTube or your course LMS (Learning Management System) is completely seamless.
This site is mostly good for making tutorials.
If you’re teaching a sticky grammar concept, for instance, like the subjunctive (one that students get stuck on!), consider drawing up an awesome possum Educreation and you’ll have your bases covered. You can really get into things step by step here, pulling apart the details along the way.
Adding images is easy—you can add from a variety of sources including Dropbox. Students can work with these bad boys on their laptops or iPads. 1, 2, 3…stylus time!
Best part: You can make the lessons interactive so students can test their comprehension.
The only downside to this one is that it’s only available for Apple devices. But, if you’re an Apple fan, you can use this tool to become a master online teacher in no time.
Keynote, like Haiku Deck, offers more high-definition visuals and a clean, simple presentation. Use this software to give your course a professional yet stylish look. Include cool transitions and integrate media to engage your students and save your presentations easily in a variety of formats: PDF, JPG, HTML and others.
Nifty Movenote is a Spanish teacher’s dream because it allows you to present documents using voice or video.
Here’s how it works: Integrate virtually any document or multimedia you want, then record a video or an audio-recording to put alongside it. The tool works with Google Drive and is supported by a wide variety of devices.
Need to present some explanations to a homework assignment? Describe a picture or two in Spanish? Make the move to Movenote!
Yet another more visually nifty presentation tool, Zoho Show is great when you want to collaborate with other colleagues on a presentation. All web browsers are supported and files can be uploaded to virtual classrooms painlessly.
Zoho offers unique and beautiful themes, and delivers smooth animations that won’t make you dizzy.
If nothing else, you can always use Zoho when you run out of pretty slide templates in other places! It’s a great way to jazz up your presentations from time to time. Remote presentation mode is also available, which is extremely handy.
This is a video slideshow presentation tool.
Animoto is cloud-based, professional and user-friendly. The website suggests using Animoto to introduce yourself to students, to begin or end a unit, to add a preview or conclusion for the class or even to create a video scavenger hunt.
Students can be asked to make Animoto presentations to evaluate their oral production.
So, there you have it, folks.
Now go out there and show ’em who’s boss!
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