For decades, teachers have used a variety of software options to create classroom materials. For many educators, that has meant using a suite of programs for desktop computers. Now that mobile apps have evolved to the point where they can offer similar functionality at a fraction of the price, educators may want to explore alternate technology for accomplishing classroom tasks.
The EducationWorld How To series offers simple instructions that help educators use app technology to simplify life in the classroom. See more How To articles.
The App: Keynote
The Goal: Enable students to create a five-minute class lesson using Keynote.
The Steps: Before even reaching for your iPad, you will want to assign each student or group of students a topic for their lesson, have them choose a topic from a list, or have them pull a topic out of a hat.
Since each lesson will be brief, there won’t be a huge amount of information for kids to gather. Students may use any resources deemed appropriate by the teacher (textbooks, the Internet, etc.). Ideally, the Internet and the iPads themselves will play a large role in the information-gathering process. This tactic will gather all of the media onto the presentation device, eliminating the need to transfer it to the iPad via email or syncing.
Next, students should organize the information into a coherent narrative. The teacher can have as large a role in assisting the students as is appropriate for their age and skill level.
With the information organized and on the iPad, students may begin by launching Keynote. The first thing they will encounter is a gray screen with a simple “+” button in the upper lefthand corner. Tapping this button reveals a small menu with a “Create Presentation” button. Tap this button to launch the theme menu.
There are 12 themes to choose from, and students may select the one they like best. Tapping on a theme brings up the edit screen, from which students will be able to see thumbnails of all the slides in their presentation and a large editable version of their highlighted slide. In this edit mode, a small toolbar appears across the top of the screen and features a set of tools for adding media, formatting existing slide components, adding presenter notes and sharing and playing the presentation.
Have students double-tap the highlighted slide to begin typing their text. On this first slide, simply typing in the title of the presentation is a good way to practice using the interface. With the title in place, students can move the text anywhere on the slide by simply touching and dragging it.
With text insertion and placement covered, they can now begin adding images. By tapping the “+” box in the toolbar located at the top of the edit screen, students will launch the image selector. All of the images for their lessons should already be saved to the iPad, which will make them visible to Keynote by choosing “Camera Roll.” This will display all of the images saved on the device, and students may select the one they want for this particular slide.
Once placed, the image may be made larger or smaller by tapping it once to bring up the sizing interface. Students will see that the image is outlined in blue, with dots indicating sizing points. Touching a dot and dragging it in any direction will adjust the image’s size. Similarly, touching the image’s center when the sizing interface is activated will allow students to move it to another part of the slide.
Now that the image is sized and in its desired location, have students tap once on any other part of the slide to de-activate the sizing interface. Now they can tap the image again to reveal a new menu bar. Among the choices on this menu are delete, cut, copy, lock and animate. The first four choices are fairly self-explanatory, but the animate feature is unique.
Tapping this brings up a double-sided menu for “Building In,” or “Building Out.” Here, Keynote is asking if you’d like the animation to bring the image into the slide, send it out of the slide, or both. Tap “build in” to launch a scrolling menu of effects choices. Students may run through all of them to see what they look like and if they are a good fit for their narrative and image. Repeat this process for the “build out” effect.
The students’ first slide now contains text, an image and animations. By tapping the “Play” button in the upper-most, right-hand corner of the top toolbar, kids can play this slide to see exactly what it will look like when presented. Tapping once on the slide will activate the “build in” animation, and a second tap will active the “build out.” Depending on what the slide looks like or how it functions, some minor tweaks may be necessary. These can be made by repeating the steps outlined above and making different editorial choices.
When the initial slide meets with student and teacher approval, additional slides may be added by tapping the “+” button found in the bottom-most, left-hand corner of the app. This will bring up a menu of additional slide styles based on the overall theme of the presentation. Text, images and animations can all be inserted following the same steps used on the initial slide.
When the entire presentation is complete, simply closing the app will save it. It can then be presented directly from the iPad.
If you’d prefer to have students present from a computer, the presentation can be shared via email by tapping the “wrench” button in the top toolbar and choosing “email.” This brings up a small menu asking about the format in which you’d like the file to be sent: Keynote, PDF or PowerPoint. Depending on the type of hardware you’ll be using for the presentations, select the appropriate file format and send. The presentation will be waiting in your inbox until it is time to present.