Ask Otto / free tech resources

Dear Otto: What Can I Use Besides PowerPoint?

tech questions

Do you have a tech question?

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Kellie:

I want to teach my younger students how to make a slide show with photographs.  It needs to be free!  I have already taught them how to add photos to PowerPoint, but I want something a little more fun and flashy.  I have seen mixed reviews about SmileBox. All tips are appreciated.

The first one that comes to mind is Animoto. It will take pictures as well as music and creates a beautiful–albeit quick–presentation. Here’s my review of it. Then there’s Photostory–software, but a free download. That allows for longer slideshow-type presentations that also include sound. We use it with Windows 7 despite what the website says.

Here are a few others that might work for your purposes:

  • My Own Books–create a story about the student
  • Prezi–create a journey with each picture highlighted, one at a time
  • Blabberize–make pictures talk

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teacherspresentation reviewer for CSTA, Cisco guest blogger, a monthly contributor to TeachHUB, columnist for Examiner.com, featured blogger for Technology in Education, and IMS tech expert. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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