Thing 7: Presentation Tools

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Our scissors are now digital
CC by pollyalida

Our next topic is Presentation Tools. In the past this topic was combined with  Digital Storytelling, since the two topics are so intertwined. After all, giving an effective presentation is really all about good storytelling. But the lessons were getting far too long and there are so many great tools to explore. Keep in mind that there’s still lots of overlap in the tools in these two lessons.

This lesson includes a selection of tools to help you and your students create more compelling presentations. Many of the tools in the Digital Storytelling lesson could also be used for presentations.

HELP! There’s a lot of information on this lesson page. Don’t let it intimidate you! Look at a few examples and play with a couple of the tools. You don’t have to look at every tool and resource listed. We just wanted to provide a wide variety of resources to meet all interests.

TIP: To test out multiple tools in a hurry, gather together 5-10 of your own photos and use them over and over. That way you can focus on how the tools work, rather than worrying about the perfect photos and the perfect storyline.


Some of the more popular tools with examples and ideas that can be used at a variety of grade levels and for a range of purposes.

Presentation Tools

  • Buncee – A fun tool for creating a single ‘slide’ or many. Lots of colorful backgrounds, images and animations to choose from. Add your own graphics, audio, embed videos, add text and more. Free and fee plans, classroom options as well. Use it for student presentations, flipped classroom content, storytelling and more.
  • Google Slides – Easy to use, integrated with other Google tools. If you’re a Google G Suite school, this is a no-brainer!
  • Beautiful.AI – Free online presentation builder. Great user interface with lots of preformatted slide templates for graphs, timelines, different text and image layouts, and more. Themes provide color and typeface design. Export to PDF or PPT format for offline presentation. This looks like a terrific tool. Hope they maintain a free option as they grow.
  • Ludus – Easy to use, great features, helps you create a gorgeous slide deck. Free plan includes 20 presentations. Give it a try! (Update March 2019 – Sadly Ludus only has paid plans now!)
  • HaikuDeck – Web and app presentation tool. Makes beautifully simple and effective presentation slides.  Enter text and Haiku Deck presents images that  might relate to your text. Use those images or add your own to create your presentation.  Free account only allows for 1 public slide deck. Education discount of $99 allows for classroom of 150 students.  Example: Telling Stories
  • Prezi – An interesting way of creating a presentation in a somewhat non-linear way. Place text, photos, and other media on a big blank screen. Arrange in the order you want to present it and add paths to connect all the pieces. Lets you zoom in and out to put focus on different pieces of the presentation. Could be used as a mind-mapping tool. Limited free account for educators. Example (with great tips!) :  How to stop your Prezi making people feel sick!

Record Your Presentation Slides with Audio

  • Screencastomatic – Free, web-based tool that records what is on your screen, while you narrate. Set up your slides in PowerPoint or another tool, launch the recording tool and go. You’ll end up with a video of your presentation with your audio narration.
  • Knovio – Upload your slides, then narrate slide by slide. Limited free plan.
  • PowerPoint also offers slide recording and narration.
  • iPad screen recording – With iOS 11 or later, you can create a screen recording and capture sound on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. How to create a presentation? Create slides in Google Slides, put them in presentation mode. Then turn on screen recorder and talk while you swipe through your slides.Video with audio is saved to you iPad photostream. Then upload to YouTube for sharing.

Visual Storytelling – Photos, Text & More

  • Adobe Spark –  This has grown into an amazing tool. Definitely one to explore. Free and premium accounts. Web-based and iOS options. Note that Spark replaces and incorporates earlier services: Slate, Post and Voice.
    • Create an image with words and photos – a poster, a quote, an advertisment, etc.
    • Create a web page with images, video, text, links to other sites (using the “button” option) and more – use this to tell a story, create a timeline, present research process and results and more.
    • Create a video with images, text, video clips, add music and voiceovers.  Adobe Spark for Education was designed with educators in mind. Read more about this from Monica Burns, an educator and huge fan of Spark. She has lots of great tips on her site.
    • Examples:
      • BGS Teacher Talk – A newsletter created with Adobe Spark by @bgsteachbetter
      • The Garden – My test of Spark. Easy to search for photos within the tool and it automatically credits the photos at the end
      • Example video created during a teacher workshop.
  • Microsoft Sway – Microsoft’s entry into the digital publishing/visual storytelling realm. “Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more.” Lots of options, a little bit daunting at first. Start from scratch or import from PowerPoint, Word or PDF. Create on the Web, Windows 10 and iOS. Probably not for elementary school students.
  • Sutori – (Formerly called Hstry) Free and Premium plans. Create a web page with images and text. Format is perfect for a timeline presentation, but can be used for anything that needs to be presented sequentially. Teachers can add students via Google Classroom or through a classroom code. Even with the free plan, there’s a nice interface for managing your students and viewing their work. Students join with their own email addresses and then use the code to join your classroom. Students can collaborate on stories and teachers can leave feedback on the stories. Includes a great collection of ideas for using Sutori in different subject areas. With the $100/year Unlimited plan you can add video, audio, quizzes and more. 30 day free trial of Unlimited plan. If you love the tool, you can apply to be a Sutori Storyteller and get a year’s free trial.
  • ExposureSteller – These tools provide templates and design options to help you easily create beautifully laid out stories with photos and text.
    Use these for student presentations, creative writing, photo stories, newsletters and more.

    • Exposure – web-based only, with 3 free stories.
    • Steller – iOS and Android. No web interface.

Tools, tips and Resources


Finding Media: Searching for photos and music can take a lot of work, especially if you’re preparing an important presentation and are looking for just the right image to convey your message. Listed below are some tools to help you find media for presentations. The best way to find photos you can legally reuse, is to search for Creative Commons licensed images. Some image search tools have a way to limit your search to CC licensed content.

  • IMPORTANT: Check for licensing terms of any photo you download. You’ll need to keep track of where you got the photo to give it proper credit.

Creative Commons Images and Sound

  • LibreStock – a meta search engine for 47 sites that have Creative Commons 0  licensed images. (that means you can do anything you want with the images!)
  • Pixabay – My first stop for photo searching. All images are CC0 licensed, free to use.
  • Pexels and Unsplash – Two more CCO image sources
  • Photos for Class – Age appropriate images, Creative Commons. And so handy, the downloaded images include the citation.
  • CC search – search for images, video and music from one search page. Handy!
  • Creative Commons Edshelf – Image, music and video sources.
  • NYPL Public Domain Collection – Over 180,000 digitized items now in the public domain. Great resource!
  • Sample Focus – Easy to search for sound files.


This learning activity is easy, fun and very flexible!

  • Step 1: Pick a tool, any tool (it doesn’t have to be listed in this lesson) and create a short presentation of some sort.
  • Step 2: Write a blog post about the tools you explored; how you might use them in your library or classroom; share other ideas and thought.
  • Step 3: Link to your project: either post a link to your project in the blog post OR embed it in the blog post if the tool you chose has that feature available.

Want to do something different? More Learning Activity Ideas to Explore

  • Pick an iPad or Android presentation app to explore.
  • Brainstorm an idea for using tools with your students.
  • Search for some lesson plans/ideas that you might use as inspiration. Discuss how you might implement them.
  • Or any other creative project that involves storytelling/presentation tools.


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.

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