Facebook profile pix: a fun class project

Picnik: Auto-fix your photos, and lots more!

Here’s a class project I suggested the other day and which teens loved (thanks, Sandra, for feedback!).

  • In class, 15-16 year olds looked at real examples of their Facebook profile pictures, with a view to using Edmodo (not Facebook, which is less private).
  • At home, they did a web search for ideas on what makes a good social media profile picture
  • In class, they presented their results (some using Prezi to accompany their oral presentation)
  • In class, and later at home, they took better profile pictures, which they edited and improved further, using Picnik)
  • At home, photos were added to their new Edmodo profiles

It was then Sandra’s idea to take the project further:

  • In class, her original class presented their web search results and new photos to another class (with another teacher), one two years younger (also using Prezi)
  • In class, the older learners helped the younger ones take profile pictures of each other
  • At home, the younger learners then uploaded their photos to their Edmodo profiles (and quite a few, apparently, also to Facebook!)

The cameras were compacts belonging to the students, and 5-7 were available, for groups approx. 25 in size.

Technologically, it was real easy for the teacher to set up and run, the kids loved it and they got a lot of language use and learning out of it. Great project!

Prezi for presentations

An alternative to PowerPoint, the "zooming presentation editor" Prezi has been around some time now, and whenever I go to a conference now there seem to be several people using it.

In class, with language learners and teachers, we've done some fun things with Prezi. As always, I prefer them to use the technology, rather to use it myself, and we've generally seen a Prezi demonstration which I've created of the task I'm asking them to do and the learners have then created their own Prezis either at home or in a computer room, which they have then used to accompany oral presentations to the rest of the class.

However, for the IH Barcelona ELT Conference (February 4-5) I thought I'd try giving a formal presentation for myself for the first time.

In doing a little careful research first, apart from the very useful tutorials to be found on Prezi.com itself, and the example presentations featured there, I found this excellent slideshow by Ned Potter, which has some great tips.

Thanks, Ned, I learnt a lot from it — particularly converting all my. jpg images to .pdf , for better resolution. Ned suggests online-convert.com, though I used Zamzar, and the images look much sharper.

To get it "right" has taken quite some time and I'm not entirely convinced that Prezi is that much of an improvement on PowerPoint. No matter what the tool, the presentation itself has still got to be good — and the actual tool used is perhaps really not so important.

We have "Death by PowerPoint"; "Death by motion sickness in Prezi" is an equally likely scenario.

Cool! Prezi Meeting

I've not tried this yet (it just landed in my mailbox this morning) but now you can have up to 10 people collaborating live in a single Prezi.

You'd probably want participants — like your students — to be familiar with Prezi before you begin (it takes 30-45 minutes to get your head round using the Prezi interface), but the meeting option looks cool.

I like Prezi: if you're looking for an alternative to PowerPoint, it's excellent: it has far fewer options (which makes it much easier to learn) and it goes down great with kids, who are already bored with PowerPoint.

You have a brief step-by-step tutorial for Prezi Meeting here and, here, more ideas for using Prezi.

Fun with conditionals

Here's an idea using Prezi, a fun alternative to PowerPoint, which makes minimal use of technology (a good thing), for practising conditionals, and would actually make for a fun piece of homework.

Here, I've taken an example produced on pieces of paper by learners on a recent technology training course, and I've created the presentation. Clearly, however, you want your learners to be doing the work. Who should use the technology, the teacher or the learners…? The latter, if you ask me — almost always.

It works great with teens!