Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Using Slideshare in a Blended Learning Environment

One of the challenges of creating and maintaining a blended learning environment is finding a way to actually share the content I have created with the pupils. While this use to be a challenge, over the last few years the ability to embed content, which is housed at other websites, in our LMS has meant that the variety of resources I am able to provide to the students and that the students can share with us is staggering.

Web2.0 tools often have the ability to share content and allow content creators to distribute their materials and assist in the learning of others . While there are thousands of sites which allow embedding of content my focus in this post is on a service called “Slideshare.com” and how we use it in our blended environment with a group of 10 to 11 year olds.

Like Youtube, Slideshare allows the account holder to upload Powerpoint slide presentations to their servers. The presentations then become searchable on the site and the account holder has the options of determining various settings which decide how the presentation will be shared and the information available as well as the licenses to be applied.

So, this is how we use it:

Any time the children, either individually or in a group, create a .ppt, or .pptx file they upload the file to the class account. Usually together, but sometimes on my own, the settings for how the presentation will be shared are set. The file is then loaded to our class account. Unfortunately, Slideshare does not deal well with animations, so before uploading to the website we usually need to adapt the presentation by deleting any animation effects.

From there, we embed the presentation in our EDU20 Resources area, or add the presentation to a specific lesson, blog, forum discussion, etc. But, as mentioned in an earlier post, Prezi.com also allows embedding.

The ability to embed the presentation files, and Prezis in EDU20 is fantastic for several reasons, such as the fact that the children only need their EDU20 login details. Furthermore, it allows all children the opportunity to share, discuss and improve on the content we create together or individually. It also provides supporting material which children can access independently or as a class we can access together over Vyew.com(see more on this website in an upcoming post). Children do, independently review presentations and Prezis to review topics they are interested in and to revise a topic we’ve covered. Interestingly, the children also discuss the presentations independently with other friends over Skype!

One of the other benefits of housing presentations in Slideshare, could be the ability to share the content with other classes in the school, but since most other classes are not at this point yet, it will, I hope, serve as encouragement, when they discover a bank of content tailored to the curriculum available to them.

Do you use Slideshare for class content? How do you make use of the embedding feature with your class? Do you use a different presentation sharing tool? Let me know in the comments!


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