As more and more educational content goes online, and more and more classrooms flip, we need to re-think how we as teachers present information. I came across a site called Slidedocs the other day, which allows you to download PowerPoint templates for creating book-like slides. These save as PowerPoints and can easily be posted to your Moodle page, Edmodo site or your DropBox for students to access.
The idea behind it all is that these days people prefer to receive information in byte-sized chunks rather than continuous text. Many use PowerPoint to create presentations, but you can also use PowerPoint to create content not intended to be projected onto a screen, but read through like a book. According to the website Microsoft’s PowerPoint® has been installed on roughly
one billion computers and an average of 350 presentations are given every second of every day. This must make PowerPoint one of the most ubiquitous applications around. Students certainly enjoy using it.
The site offers templates for creating your own book-like content. It includes a front page, contents page and different layouts which can be used and duplicated to put together a book-like slide-show, intended to be downloaded and read on screen.
With increasing interest in flipping the classroom, comes the question of how best to present information to students. Many teachers use PowerPoint for this, or create their own podcasts, vodcasts or screencasts. But there is also a need for more conventional “read” texts, and it seems to me that the idea of using PowerPoint slides and treating them like the pages of a book is a very powerful one. I found the template easy to use, but you can easily add graphics, text boxes or videos to flesh out your book. I see them as something of an alternative to the traditional handout or notes, or even worksheet. They are easily updated from year to year, and because they are downloaded from your learning management system, they cannot be left lying on a desk when the class is dismissed! My pet bug-bear!
I usually don’t blog about any tool unless I can see uses for both teachers and students, and slidedocs are no exception. They are an excellent tool for students to create their own content, be it in the form of essays, reports or creative writing. With a bit of organization they could be used to mash together collaborative class books.
The templates are very elegant and make for easy viewing. You can, if you wish, though, apply your own designs too, making this a very versatile tool. You can even print your book out if required.
I sense that I may be preparing all my teaching content in this way from now on.