Firstly, apologies for the bigger gap than I had anticipated between posts, despite my best intentions I have struggled to time to write. However I am excited to be back and writing again.
If you've read some of my previous blog posts you will know that I'm passionate about the development of digital skills of both teachers and students. As the past couple of years has highlighted, regardless of which field of work your students are going to progress onto they will need to have well developed digital skills. In turn as teachers we know how effective modelling the behaviour we want to see in our students is so in turn we also need to have good digital skills.
From my perspective one of the key digital skills that we all need to have is the ability to create digital artefacts, whether that be, video, presentation or infographics to mention just a few. As mentioned in previous posts I have found that there's less need for specialist software and more can be done using browser-based apps. I see this as a democratisation of technology in it allows a broader audience to make use of it.
Along with this comes a greater amount of choice and that means that us as teachers or students need to choose the most appropriate tool for the task at hand and that's why I hope this blog helps in enabling you to look at a variety of different tools and pick out the one that best suits what you need from it.
So onto the focus of this month's post, which is an online creation tool called Genially, you can use it to create a range of interactive resources including presentations, infographics, interactive images, video presentations and much more.
As with a lot of the tools that I review, the site operates on a freemium model meaning that you can access most of the features for free but you are restricted on your choice of templates. As you would expect they have got various charging models whether that be education or or enterprise.
You can login to the site via your Gmail account or email address, once logged you will menu on the left-hand side at the top of which is a blue Create Genially button beneath which is a Creations button that allows you to view all of your creations, beneath that there is My Brand option where you add your logo, upload font, add specific colour, add images and a really useful feature that lets you add a Google analytics tracking ID.
Click on the Create Genially and a list of the different types of content you can create appear in the centre of the screen, you can choose what you want to create, this includes: presentations, infographics, interactive images, video presentations.
Once you have selected the type of content you want to create you are presented with a range of templates, the premium one marked with a star, having chosen a template you can select from a range of preset colour choices.
Having opened up your chosen template you're presented with a really simple and easy-to-use menu on the left-hand side, it features: text, images, resources, interactive elements, smart blocks, insert background and pages when you select any of these elements, further choices are displayed to the right hand side where you will see a variety of stock images and icons, you can also choose to upload images from Google Drive and Dropbox.
When it comes to ease of use you have similar functionality to that of other creation tools, elements you have inserted can be adjusted in size by selecting the item clicking and dragging the handles,you also rotate it, copy and paste it, you can lock elements, you can order their position moving them forward and back within the document you can also alter their opacity.
I chose to review Genially, because there were some really useful elements over and above the standard things you expect to see in an online creation tool.
The first of which Is the drag mode option which allows objects in your creation to be dragged around in view mode. I could see this being a great way to create interactive activity to use with your students. For example putting it up on the projector screen in the class and asking different students to rearrange the element as a way of checking their understanding.
The second of which is the interactivity option, which enables you to add a range of different functions to the object you have inserted. This includes a tool tip, a window, go to a page or a link.
Here is my first go at creating an interactive image
I could see this feature being used to bring to life a learning resource, for example providing health and safety information about a workshop space, using the tool tip feature to create a mouse roll over.
The last of which is the ability to activate your social profile by doing that it creates a page with all your creations which you can then share publicly. You can also add your social media links to it and make your resources reusable so other use them as a starting point for their own creations.
When you finish, you can share your creation via a link, with the free account the link will be searchable. With premium subscription you can keep your file private to you and anyone you have shared it with can also and password protect it. If you like this type of tool and be sure to look at my review of Piktochart and Canva.