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: Have students create a narrative photo gallery detailing their summer vacations and narrate it with Keynote.
The Steps: Rather than relying on the venerable writing assignment of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” the goal of this exercise is produce a photo gallery that tells the story of each student’s summer break. Each presentation should be no longer than three minutes in length.
Before getting the iPad involved, have the students plan out their photo gallery on paper. This can be done in outline or narrative form. Students can begin with the first week of the summer break and map out everything they did until the last week before the first day of school. In addition to featuring major summer events like family vacations and baseball games, encourage students to include things they may consider “unimportant,” such as running through the sprinkler and going out for ice cream.
Once the outlines are complete, work with the students to come up with an appropriate number of photos to include in their galleries. A student who had a particularly busy summer may only be able to include a single image per event, whereas a student who had a less-ambitious break may be able to use several.
Older students may already have images on their mobile phones or cameras. Younger students can get them from their parents. If a student does not have many photographs, help them to find images from the Internet that aptly illustrate what they did over the summer. Trips to landmarks such as the beach or a city can be covered with public-domain images and clip art, as can activities like camping, fishing and playing soccer or baseball.
Now students will have everything they need to produce their Keynote videos right on their iPads. Students can get their images on the iPads through the device’s computer connection. Connecting an iPad to a Mac or PC launches iTunes. With the images already on the computer (via email or flash drive), students can click and drag them into iTunes’ photo area. From there, they can be uploaded to the iPad.
Begin by launching Keynote. Students will encounter a selection of Themes. They may choose the one they like best. For this project, they may get the best results by selecting a simple Theme such as White, Black or Gradient.
After selecting a Theme, students will see their first slide. It will have some sort of image on it as well as some filler text. Have them remove the image by tapping it once and choosing “Delete” from the task bar that appears. Next, have them double-tap the filler text to bring up the iPad’s virtual keyboard. Here, students can type in the name of their gallery. Single-tap on a blank area of the slide to disengage the editing tool.
Students can clean up the rest of the slide if there are any other filler text areas by single-tapping them and choosing “Delete” from the toolbar.
Now they are ready to import their first image. Have kids tap the “Plus” button in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen. This launches the graphical element menu with choices for “Media,” “Tables,” “Charts,” and “Shapes.” Instruct them to select “Media,” followed by “Camera Roll.” If this is the first time they’re attempting to insert a media file, they will be asked to grant Keynote permission to access their files. Simply tap “Yes.” They will see a list of all video and still-shot images housed on the iPad. They can scroll vertically until they find their choice for their title image. Tap it and it will appear on the document with the blue manipulation controls engaged.
With the sizing manipulators engaged, students can adjust the size of the image by tapping and holding on any of the blue dots and sliding them in any direction. They should adjust the photo so that it is large enough for easy viewing, but small enough to fit on the slide with the accompanying text.
Tapping and holding anywhere on the image will allow students to move it anywhere on the slide. For the purposes of this exercise, center-justified is probably the best choice.
The title slide is now complete, and students are ready to begin building their photo galleries. Have them tap the + in the lower, left-hand corner of the app. This will launch the tool that will add a new slide to the presentation. Students will see eight options for the new slide. Instruct them to choose the “Image” slide, which can be identified as the slide template that contains a single, large image.
This placeholder image will have a little icon in the lower, right-hand corner. Tapping it once will bring up the photo control tools. From here, students can access their Camera Roll and choose the image they want to feature first. Again, the blue manipulation tools will be engaged, allowing kids to adjust the image’s size and location.
Students should repeat the steps for adding a slide and image until all of their images are placed on their own slides. Once the gallery is complete, students do not have to “Save” or “Save As.” Simply closing the app keeps the document saved until they are ready for presentation. With the completed presentation open, tapping the “Play” arrow in the upper, right-hand corner of the app will launch the gallery into “play mode,” from which the slides can be viewed in sequence.
The presentations may be screened in class, either by viewing them directly on the iPads, or by connecting the devices to a monitor or other display. Students can use their outlines to narrate the gallery, explaining the action taking place in each photo, as well as any anecdotes from the summer months.