I remember the first time I used PowerPoint. It was 2001 (or maybe 2002) and I was teaching in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. The school I worked at had just acquired a COW (a Computer On Wheels) and our IT guru (a woman, how very forward thinking) was trying to encourage staff to use it in our classrooms. I was a willing guinea pig. I sat through a demo on PowerPoint and a lesson on how to pull together the classroom experience of a lifetime and I was on my way! I was studying the Titanic with my Year 8 History class at the time and could think of no better topic to unleash this creative technology on. The other option was ‘Jack, I’m flying’ and I didn’t have 5 lessons to give over to Kate and Leo, so PowerPoint it was.
The students were aghast and amazed at this magic I was presenting to them (especially the GIF at the end of the Titanic hitting the iceberg and plummeting to its watery demise) but essentially this was just a new way to present the same old content (and it was all about content at the time).
It seems strange to me now, that the technology involved with PowerPoint took so long to catch on and so long to wear thin. People are STILL using it and heaven help you if you ever end up in a presentation which is ‘Death by PowerPoint’ – you can’t get those hours back. Ever.
The sociologist in me finds the most remarkable change now to be less about the actual types of technology that are emerging and more about the speed with which they are emerging. Add to that the adaptability of our students to ‘pick up’ these new technologies as well as the rate at which they ‘grow tired’ and are replaced by the next big thing, and you have an emerging pattern of things to come. Scary and exciting all at once!
A big part of my current work (I’m no longer a teacher – I haven’t been for 15 years) involves content creation and curation. With so much data being pumped into our lives EVERY. SINGLE. WAKING. MOMENT, the challenge for someone in a role (Comms and Marketing) like mine is to be able to create content that grabs people’s attention. Content that is fresh and new and exciting is critical to the success of any marketing plan and I am always on the look out for some current day ‘PowerPoint magic’; the tool that is going to make people look at my content and be amazed, in just the very same way my Year 8’s were in that whole other lifetime.
Some of the tools I’m using at the moment (and no doubt, some of these are already tired and will be long gone before Christmas is here) include:
Canva is a free app (or website) that allows you to create your own graphics by using templates. Once you play around with Canva, you will be totally hooked – promise.
Ditty sings anything you text. There are character limits, but the app allows you to type lyrics and it will convert to a song (you can choose from loads of free tunes). So many possibilities with this one. I wish I’d had it when I was in Year 12 and was madly trying to memorise quotes from Shakespeare’s Henry IV.
A colleague has recently shown me iMotion and I am hooked. This is super simple technology allows you to create Stop Motion animation. Free from the App Store, you’ll find yourself creating SMA of everything! I did the untimely end of an Easter egg at one stage!
Camera+ is a paid app (from memory less than $2 and I’m pretty sure there is a lite version) worth every cent. It gives you loads of options with filters, a photo lab, frames and adding text to images. Easy!
I will be interested to come back to this blog post in 12 months and see which of these I’m still using. I’m guessing I might even cringe at using some of these because they’ll be so outdated by then. In the meantime, jump on a check a few of these out if you haven’t already done so – grab a hold while they are still on the cool scale. And if you know of any other awesome apps or websites useful for content creation, I’d welcome your suggestions.