Three Tools Tech-Loving Teachers Can't Live Without!

Workshop presented by Beth Bogage, SDCCD, Elizabeth Clarke and Kristi Reyes, MiraCosta College

Simple PowerPoint 2007 handout (courtesy of Eli Clarke):

Put PowerPoint slides online with authorSTREAM

Because PowerPoint files tend to be large in size (especially if they contain image and audio files), it’s a great idea to put your presentations online, so you don’t have to worry about emailing large files or saving them and transferring them.

From a teaching perspective, putting your presentations (grammar, vocabulary, etc.) online is a great way to make them available to your students. Not all students have the PowerPoint program, but computers they use away from school likely do have Internet access. You can also showcase student presentations by putting them on the Internet.

authorSTREAM is an Internet Web site that allows you to upload your PowerPoint presentations to the Web. And the great thing is that if you choose to add sound to your presentations via PowerPoint’s narration feature, the narration will be preserved online.

Eli Clarke
Beth Bogage
Kristi Reyes 1, Kristi Reyes 2

Produce a "Video" Online:
Make Slideshows Come to Life with Music and Special Effects

Numerous Web sites allow users to upload and photos and make slideshows that are saved online and can be shared via email or posted to a Web site or blog. Two such sites that are popular among adult educators are and Animoto. The features of these two sites are listed with project ideas, samples, and step-by-step instructions for use. ****
Make online slideshows with images, text, select music or music videos, and special effects. Free. Slide Frequently Asked Questions.

animoto ****
With Animoto, use the built-in music choices or upload music (must be an .mp3 audio file). Among Animoto’s built-in music choices are Top 40, Indie Rock, Electronica, HipHop, Latin, Jazz, Classical, Country, and others submitted by musicians. Add images and choose special effects. Animoto is free for making 30 second videos. To make longer videos, see pricing. Learn more about Animoto.

Forget memorizing vocabulary lists! Top index flash cards, too. For vocabulary or idioms, instructors can make short, visual slideshows to help students remember definitions or can assign one term or item on a vocabulary list to individual students or small groups to make slideshows that can be posted on a Web page as a video dictionary. See this Spanish language vocabulary example from Animoto and this vocations slideshow on

Students can introduce themselves to classmates with an "About Me" slideshow, such as these from my and Ruth Gay's Vocational ESL Class (MiraCosta College Community Learning Center)
Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

"Who am I?" (insert hyperlink) project in which students make slideshows about themselves or others (historical figures, famous inventors, celebrities) and classmates guess their identities:
Students Self Who Am I Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

"Me in the Future" project in which students explain plans and goals for the future:

A school tour, like this one made by Susan Gaer's Low Beginning ESL students Santa Ana College Centennial learning center
A slideshow to celebrate a graduation or commemorate the end of a class or class session
Example 1
Example 1

A music video
Example 1
Example 2

A vacation show-and-tell or a dream vacation
Example 1
Example 2

Others project ideas:

  • autobiography
  • biography
  • science: explanation of a concept or experiment
  • history: a nontraditional presentation about a scientist or science topic
  • math: functions and equations
  • public service announcments
  • See Animoto for Education Case Studies for examples


is an online tool that can be used to deliver content online or take class presentations, student collaboration, and instructor feedback to a higher level. With VoiceThread, users can upload several types of media (images, documents and videos), narrate the media and permit others to comment or collaborate in the following ways:

· Verbal recorded comments (with a microphone or telephone)
· Text comments
· Comments on an audio file
· Video comments (with a webcam)

The classroom possibilities for using VoiceThread are extensive, from an individual to group assignments in which students narrate images, to peer review, to instructor lectures and feedback on pronunciation or writing. An individual account can be created, but one account can have numerous identities so that an entire class can collaborate on a project with only one user account login.

In addition to making VoiceThreads, the site has an annotation tool called The Doodler which allows a user to create a drawing and comment synchronously on it with a voice recording or textual notes. The Doodler could be used in art or math classes, allowing viewers to see and hear or read about a process as it is demonstrated.

Another tool on VoiceThread is Video Doodling. Similar to The Doodler, users can comment via microphone or webcam. After uploading a video, the comments can be made on particular video segments.

ESL Samples:
Class Sample
Individual student sample (video with video feedback)

Project ideas:

Biography Students deliver a traditional presentation on a famous person they research, as in this example: See this class project made by young students in which famous Americans are described: An alternative is for students to give only clues about a famous person or historical figure and allow the class to post comments on their guesses. Students can similarly tell their own autobiographies using VoiceThread.

Book Reports and Digital Stories Students collaborate to make traditional book reports or narrate and illustrate their own stories. See this VoiceThread created by a beginning class of English language learners and in this example, an adult student defines “Honor”:

Cultural or Family Traditions Students narrate images about an American or other cultural tradition, its history, and how it is celebrated, or create a VoiceThread about a family tradition. Another option in English as a Second Language or multicultural classes is for students to collaborate on a single VoiceThread discussing how their families celebrate a particular holiday or how it is celebrated in their native countries or cultures. In this example, a Kansas elementary school has created a VoiceThread asking people around the world to leave comments on Christmas traditions in their countries:

Cultural Postcard or Snapshot Students create a profile of a culture or country by uploading pictures and describing how the images relate to aspects of the culture. In a similar VoiceThread project, “Cultural Photograph: Southern Europe” at, students compared and commented on similarities and differences they noted between images from different countries.

Current Events Use VoiceThread as a forum for giving opinions about events in the news, as in this example:

Geography Use VoiceThread to post lectures or review course content, as in this example: In a “Where in the World?” project, students choose an international city, gather information about it, find and upload images, and narrate the images giving only clues about the city without naming it. Students can view classmates’ VoiceThreads and leave their guesses on the locations described. See an instructor’s VoiceThread demonstrating how to use VoiceThread to teach about culture and geography at

Grammar-Infused Practice in ESL Content-Based Instruction See example at
History Students can make traditional reports, such as in this example: In a “What Happened on the Day of My Birth” project, students find out about the major events on the days of their birth and narrate images that illustrate the events. The class can post guesses on the year described.

Math See an instructor’s “Mathcast” created with The Doodler on reducing fractions at This example demonstrates instructions for a math and Excel graphing assignment:

Poetry Students can recite and illustrate original poems and comment on each other’s work. For examples, see this high school blog

Pronunciation and Vocabulary Practice for ESL and

Science In this example, an elementary school teacher describes a class science experiment: Another instructor delivers a lecture on types of rocks: An alternative would be to have students use digital cameras to document their own science experiments and explain in comments their process and results with the instructor commenting. Students could summarize course material, allowing the instructor to assess student learning.

Verb Tenses for ESL Instructors can introduce a grammar point, as in this example: ESL students can post spoken or written comments on a VoiceThread with image prompts to practice verb tenses and answer questions such as “What will happen next? What is happening? What has happened? What happened? What would you do?” See examples at and

VoiceThreads as Speaking and Writing Prompts See example at

Got Ideas? Listen to other educators’ suggestions and contribute your own ideas for using VoiceThread at “100 Ways to Use VoiceThread in Education” Also, see the wiki “Digitally Speaking” at, which contains a collection of VoiceThreads, steps for planning a VoiceThread, commenting tips including appropriate phrases to use, and many useful handouts for download.

Questions? Feel free to email us!