Emaze – an alternative to PowerPoint?

emaze_logoEmaze looks like a potentially useful tool which can be put to good use in education, whether it is for students to create online presentations for homework or assessment purposes, or for teachers that want to create a presentation with a different look to PowerPoint with stunning visual effects for added impact, either in the classroom, or for creating CPD presentations for training purposes.

Emaze is also said to have  animation facilities which surpass those available on Powerpoint. It is a cloud based technology so you can access your presentations from anywhere. Another benefit is that it is multi-device so that it can be viewed and edited on PCs/ tablets / smartphones etc. There are also ready made templates and slides which can be easily edited.

Whilst Emaze wont replace my use of PowerPoint and SMART notebook in my teaching I can certainly see the benefit of having another tool in the toolkit when wanting to make a particular impact with a presentation, for example I am quite keen to try it out for creating an options presentation for KS3 into KS4 with a different look to the standard PowerPoint overload. With more and more students making use of digital media to present homework tasks I can also see some of them putting the free Emaze account to good use. There is also a presentation template designed specifically for education.

Whilst there is free account option there are premium plans for those that want to do more, including a special education plan at a reduced rate which includes all the features of their premium plan. With the pro version there are additional options, including creating video presentations which can be shared on blogs etc.

Here is a useful Emaze demonstration which gives an overview of what it offers…

Padlet and Padlet Backpack for Schools

padletPadlet enables communication and collaboration between multiple computers and devices and therefore facilitates collaboration within the classroom and between staff and students. Essentially it is an online collaborative bulletin board but it has great potential for use as an educational tool; open ended questions can be posted to ellicit discussion and debate through student responses or collaborative research can be undertaken with findings shared in one area.

Volcanoes researchI have just started trying padlet with classes for homework activities. For example one of my Year 9 groups have been asked to each research a particular volcano and they will then share the results of their findings on the padlet wall shown here to build up a collaborate resource showing some of the worlds major volcanoes.

The uses of Padlet in the classroom are widely documented and the two videos below give useful overviews of the educational potential of this tool.

Padlet Backpack for Schools

The new Padlet premium version for schools looks like a great tool – Padlet Backpack for schools gives a greater degree of privacy and has no social media features. Teachers can create student accounts and have complete control over them with regards to what they can can’t do. Student accounts don’t require an email. You can your own school logo and either use your own domain or get your very own subdomain. As it is on its own domain the school IT department can block access to the open padlet.com whilst maintaining access in school to your Padlet Backpack version. Features on their way soon also include integration with LMS, Google apps and Edmodo to enable login without setting another password and content filtering. A 30 day free trial is available. Further details can be found here.

Padlet have created a number of video tutorials to support the use of Padlet Backpack School, including…

How to signup and log in to your Padlet Backpack School

How to import your padlets into your Backpack account

Adding your school’s logo to your Backpack account

Finding Resources for the IWB

This google search engine is specifically for locating useful SMART notebook files and could be very useful for identifying resources (they are however not limited to the British curriculum and will include resources from other countries curriculums).

Remember for a specific search or resources linked to the English curriculum subject areas that there is alse the SMART exchange which provides support for searching for subject specific topic areas across different key stages. There are also some great quizzes on here which can be adapted. You can find out more about the SMART exchange including a video tour of what is on offer and how to search in this previous post.

Ideas to Inspire


Today I came across this superb site relevant to most curriculum areas and it certainly does what it says on the tin – it has many  “Ideas to Inspire“! The site has been put together by Mark Warner and is a collaborative project including a series of presentations giving short overviews of creative ideas for use in the classroom. The presentations have been put together using ideas contributed by classroom practitioners and provide real inspiration for engaging students.

The site is divided into 3 areas:

(i) Curriculum Ideas – specific ideas and resources for areas across the curriculum (e.g. Maths, Science, Geography etc.)


(ii) Interesting ways to use ICT in the classroom – one of my favourite sections – this takes particular ICT tools such as the IWB, Visualisers etc. and looks at creative ways of making the most of these to enhance the teaching and learning experience.


(iii) Other Collaborative presentations – such as this superb one on “Techy” tips for not so “Techy” teachers!


The site is rapidly increasing and Mark has reported 500 ideas already and 50 new ideas on the site just this week!! A brilliant site – well worth frequently returning to (I have added it to the Professional Development links) – a huge thanks to Mark and all the other collaborators for sharing such a wealth of ideas.

Just for Fun!

A couple of little gadgets just for fun!

1. Spell with Flickr – draws upon letters in flickr images to spell whatever you want it to! You can then of course either use the SMART capture tool to capture your image and insert into notebook etc. or even embed straight into your blog.

letter G KMcElman_090516_E7 O letter G 3723 / R in concrete Letra A P letter H Copper Lowercase Letter y

(Thanks to Danny Nicholson for the heads up on this one!)

2. Befuddlr

A fun little tool which takes a picture from flickr and gives it the ‘befuddlr’ treatment to create a little picture puzzle – ideal for use on the IWB using drag and drop! For example…….



Becomes this….



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