Monday 10 October 2016

Tools and alternatives for creating presentations

Most computers come with some form of preloaded software that includes a package for creating presentations. There are however a range of alternatives and online apps available that have made an attempt to change, update or enhance the presentation format. As well as the standard tools I’ve included a range of alternatives here for you to explore.

Microsoft PowerPoint - 

PowerPoint has become a standard tool for creating presentations both in the educational and workplace environments. There are many reasons for sticking with PowerPoint; It’s a very powerful tool, Most students who use Windows PCs will probably already have it installed on their computers; Many web-based platforms work well with it. Despite this, it is worth looking around at other tools, especially if you want to get your presentations online as PPTs are generally big files that don’t export well for online delivery. There are also a lot of free alternative to PowerPoint, many of which give a more flexible approach to creating presentations and are much simpler to learn.

Apple KeyNote - 

 KeyNote is Apple’s alternative to PowerPoint and for me it’s a much lighter and more user friendly tool. It has a great range of easy to adapt stylish templates. It makes designing the look and feel of the presentation much easier. You can export the presentations to a good range of file types including Microsoft’s PPT format if you need to. I also find that KeyNote deals much more easily with importing image and video media.

SlideShare - 

SlideShare is a free online platform for sharing your presentation slides. This can make your slides much more accessible to others after the presentation. The best way to add your slides to SlideShare is to save them to PDF first and then just upload them. The site makes it very easy to share your presentation through a range of social media and you can also easily add them to your LinkedIn profile.

Simpleshow -

 Simpleshow is a great alternative to getting students to stand up and do a presentation. Instead it allows students to create a narrated video presentation. This could be used as a great first step towards delivering their own physical presentation. It also offers the students the choice between recording their own narration or using a text to speak generated narration.

The site is free and simple to use. Once students register they just need to type their script for each slide and stage in the presentation and then the site will automatically generate images to go with the script. Students can then go through and edit each slide, change the images or add their own narration.

At each step their are video guides so there shouldn’t be too many technical challenges. There are also plenty of examples here: so it would be good to choose a couple for students to look at first so they understand what they are going to create.

Prezi - 

Prezi is very popular among the edtech community at present and claims to represent a shift away from the traditional linear form of presentation. It provides a kind canvas on which you can layout a mixture of assets that you wish to present, such as video clips text and images. You then chart a course around the various assets zooming in and out as you talk through them. Prezi is very mobile friendly too and has a dedicated app for iOS.

Movenote - 

 Movenote is another useful alternative for online courses or when you don’t want students to have to deliver physical presentations. It is a free tool that enables students to upload their slide-deck and then add slide by slide talking head narration.

The site is very simple to use. Students just upload a PDF version of the presentation and then use  a webcam and microphone to add their narration. Movenote has Android and iOS apps for students with mobile devices too. When the the presentation is recorded it is stored online and students can share links to their presentations.

AuthorStream -

AuthorStream is similar to SlideShare. It’s tool for hosting your presentations online. You can also add audio narration and the site will then convert them to video which you can download, though this is a paid feature so you will have to upgrade from the free version to do that. The site does have a couple of advantages over SlideShare though, especially for KeyNote users. It accepts KeyNote presentations and will retain any animations used in the presentation too. The site does look a bit out of date though and isn’t as well designed as SlideShare.

 QwikSlides -

 QwikSlides is a very simple browser-based tool for creating online presentations. Basically you can add text, links to online images and videos and customise the look of the presentation a little. It’s not nearly as powerful in terms of design as something like Keynote or PowerPoint, but it does get the job done and the presentation online very quickly and it is free. To get started just click on the edit icon and you can simply type in your text and the links to the media you want to include. Each line in the editor creates a new slide.

Tackk -

 Tackk is another alternative to doing presentations in the classroom. It allows students to create a single webpage and add different kinds of media and text to the page. The pages are social so other students can either contribute to the page or comment, etc. The pages are also easily shared through social media. The designs look very modern and professional so this is a very motivating way for students to share their work. Students can use the single page to share and display the results of their research and add explainer text.

Buncee  -

Buncee is a cross between presentation tool and digital canvas. You can use it to create either a sequence of slides or just use one slide as a kind of digital poster. There is a really wide range of digital assets that students can search through and use in their pages and this includes images, video 360 images as well as designs, animations shapes and text. Buncee also works a little like a social network so that students can follow each other and like and comment on each other’s work. There is also an educational version of Buncee. Buncee is a freemium product so there are some features which are locked without payment (audio recording being the most useful one) but the tool is still very useful even if you just work with the free features.

You can find more tools like these in Digital Tools for Teachers

I hope you find these useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday 3 October 2016

Exploiting Infographics for Digital Literacy and Critical Thinking

This is just a short post to anounce the publication of my new ebook 'Exploiting Infographics for Digital Literacy and Critical Thinking'.
Exploiting Infographics follows on from 10 Lessons in Digital Literacy, which is a collection of lesson plans based around infographics, and looks in more depth at the genre and how infographics can be used as both sources of information and as creative learning tasks for students.
The tasks that accompany the infographics are intended to encourage students to think more critically about the information they are exposed to and to question the sources of information they find whilst browsing the internet. Exploiting Infographics should help teachers to start creating their own tasks, activities and lesson plans for students and to integrate infographics in a way that will enhance students’ critical thinking, digital literacy, language and communication skills. Exploiting Infographics was conceived as part of The Digital Classrooms Series which started with the award winning Digital Video - A Manual for Language Teachers.
The series is intended to help teachers, teacher trainers, materials writers and course designers integrate digital technologies into their classroom practice in a pedagogically sound and impactful way. I hope you enjoy these books and find them useful. Related links:
Nik Peachey

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Online Grammar Tools

I was recently looking through my Tools for Teacher & Learners site and searching through the accumulated resources there - More than a thousand links.

I tend to feel that very few people go beyond what's newest on the front page, so I decided to start grouping the links together and posting them here. This first post features some of the best links to grammar orientated sites.

Deep Grammar
Deep Grammar is a grammar checker based on artificial intelligence. Deep Grammar uses deep learning (artificial neural networks) to learn a model of language. It then uses this model to check text for errors in three steps. 
  1. Compute the likelihood that someone would have intended to write the text.
  2. Attempt to generate text that is close to the written text but is more likely.
  3. If such text is found, show it to the user as a possible correction.
This page demonstrates a prototype of Deep Grammar. It assumes that text has been spell checked. 

You can use this to get students checking, correcting and improving their own written work before they submit it.

Sentence Tree
This is a great site that analyses the grammar of any sentence you type in and tells you the parts of speech of each word within the sentence. 

Students or trainee teachers can use this to analyse sentences and identify structures.

This is grammar instruction for the flipped classroom. Lots of video explanations of grammar points with interactive follow up quizzes. There is even an LMS so you can register your students and track them to make sure they do their homework. 

You can use this to get students learning the grammar at home so that they can spend more time in class doing practice activities and developing their speaking skills.

Grammar Gamble
This is a gamified grammar test. Students can gamble amounts of imaginary money depending on how sure they are that they have the right answer. The more they gamble the more points they win, but if they get the answer wrong they loose their money.

You can use this to encourage students to revise their grammar in a more entertaining way. There is even a leader board and students can post their scores through Facebook, etc.

Verb conjugation tool
This chart enables users to select a common verb and then see the various conjugations of the verb. 

This is a great tool to help students check their verb conjugations, especially for those at lower levels.

Close Test Creator
If you want to quickly create a close test based on a simple text, just cut and paste it into the main filed and it will take out random words or specific word forms. Great for instant lesson activities. 

This is a great tool to share with students. Teach them how to use it and they can create their own revisions tests.

Hemingway App
This app will analyse students grammar and make suggestions about how to improve it. The suggestions aren’t always right so students will still need to use their judgement.

Like DeepGrammar, this is a great way to get students editing, reviewing and improving their own written work before they submit it to you for marking.

Telescopic Text
I love this site. Just click on the grey parts of the sentence and watch it extend. This is a great tool for showing students how to develop their writing and make it more interesting by using a range of devices such as clauses, richer adjectives and adverbs and more detail.  You can also create your own sentences using: 

Get students to develop their writing skills by starting with a basic simple sentence and taking it in turns to add to the sentence and develop it. See which pair of students can build the longest sentence. 

I hope you enjoy these sites and find them useful. If you want more grammar related sites just click the link to see more Grammar links

You can find more tools like these in Digital Tools for Teachers

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Monday 9 May 2016

Empowering Teachers Through Self Publishing

This is the slide deck from my Keynote presentation at the 8th Virtual Round Table Web Conference 6-8 May 2016 (Fri-Sun). It covers my journey through self publishing and has tips advice and links for anyone who wants to publish their own ebook.

You can also find more tips and advice at:



Nik Peachey

Wednesday 2 March 2016

10 Lesson Plans to Develop Digital Literacies

Over the last few months I have been working hard to develop a set of commercially available lesson materials. These lesson plans aren't specifically designed for English language learners, though they will be useful for students at higher levels who want stimulating skills based practice or for any teacher interested in developing a CLIL or content based approach to language learning.  They were designed to enable any teacher to develop students in a way that is more closely aligned to the kinds of skills they will need to function effectively and critically in the digital world.


I hope you enjoy these lessons and find them useful in developing your students into digitally literate citizens of the 21st century.

Related links:


Nik Peachey