Topnotch Tech Tools for Education

Image of a laptop, iphone and ipad graphic created with Canva.
Created with Canva!

As the educational landscape continues to transform, increasingly more instructors are seeking innovative ways to engage their students through technology. A proliferation of tech tools both app and web based will support and inspire creative learning, but which ones to use? There are so many!

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites that will help create some amazing projects. Bonus: They’re all free and so easy to use.

Infographic & Poster Design | Smore & Canva

Create interactive digital flyers and newsletters with the web-based tool Smore! Combine and organize images, audio and video media, and more from around the web in one place. Smore supports a variety of design styles and allows users to select the backgrounds, colors, and fonts. With over one million users, Smore also provides detailed analytics and social media options for easy sharing. Take a look at some of their featured flyers or check out one of ours here.

Use Canva to design almost anything! Seriously! Browse layouts intended for Facebook covers, photo collages, posters and much more or create something entirely from scratch. Millions of stock images, photo filters, icons & shapes, and fonts make it simple for you to individualize your project. You can also choose to upload your own. Canva is available both on the web and via iPad app. Check out their design school for step-by-step tutorials and teaching materials, including lesson plans and workshops created by educators.

WIC also has handy guides for poster design and creating infographics.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, the Vitale Digital Media Lab has a Wacom Cintiq Tablet, which allows users to draw directly onto the screen using a pen-like stylus to create digital artwork.

Screencasting | Jing & AppShow

Capture and share what is on your computer screen with Jing from TechSmith. Download the application to your PC or Mac, and select any portion of your screen to share. Highlight text, use arrows and caption pictures on your screenshots, or record your actions and add narration to create a tutorial. Sharing your projects is also easy: simply upload your screenshot or screencast to Screencast.com and get the embed code or share through email or social media.

Also from TechSmith, AppShow was designed for users to create app previews and training videos about iOS apps. Using your device with iOS 8, a lightning cable, and a Mac, users can easily record their iPhone or iPad’s screen and utilize AppShow’s recording templates complete with music and transitions. Check out the screencasts I made using AppShow for my blog posts on iOS accessibility and digital storytelling through social media.

Digital Storytelling | Adobe Voice & PowToon

Adobe Voice for iPhone and iPad enables users to create stunning digital stories with ease. Select one of the free design themes and build a series of slides that include your own text and images, or choose from their huge collection of images and icons. You can add narration by tapping and holding the microphone at the bottom of each slide. Adobe Voice asserts that it will make your voice sound amazing, and it really does! A soundtrack feature enhances the narration and makes your project fun to engage.

Check out this tutorial on Ebsco Academic Search Premier I created using Adobe Voice:

Voice-over PowerPoint is also a great tool for incorporating narrative to multimedia presentations. Read about Vickie Karasic’s experience teaching students in JPAN 011 how to use voice-over PowerPoint to present themselves and their interests in a new final video project for the class.

image of the powtoon logo.

Use PowToon to create animated videos and presentations with voiceover. This web-based application allows users to start from scratch or customize one of their ready-made themes or templates. Tutorials guide users step-by-step through the creation of their projects. Take a look at the ways instructors may utilize PowToon in the classroom.

These are just a few of my favorite tools for creating multimedia projects. Try them out, and post a comment to let us know what you think! Have any other suggestions? Please share!

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