Friday, February 6, 2015

No Age Restriction for emaze Users!

Blogging for us today is Therese Dristas, Technology Mentor with the School Town of Munster and is the Vice President of ICE (Indiana Connected Educators).

After a fiasco with a popular educational third party platform, we discovered that many of the third party presentation platforms have an age restriction, especially those that are free and trending for use in the classroom. Many require that users be at least 13 years old. This is not the case with emaze. When the emaze support center was contacted about restrictions, they immediately replied, “emaze is for users of all ages.”

emaze is a cloud based presentation software that is not device specific. Create using a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. This makes it a perfect fit for districts employing BYOD. When I viewed an emaze presentation at home, the program made corrections to be compatible with the browser I was using to view the presentation. This also makes it a valuable resource to use for an audience like your parent community. It can be shared, embedded, emailed, and even downloaded. Because it is stored in the cloud, you can access the presentation anywhere using any device. In schools that are using computer lab time to work on presentation projects, students can work on their presentations at home or classroom computer because their work is stored in the cloud and not bound to the district’s network storage.

Get started by watching the brief tutorials under the support tab. They are not as dynamic as they could be but they do show you the basics—how to open an account, create a presentation, and download your presentations. The program features templates entitled business, education, lifestyle, and flyer. There are also themes within each template. The editing features are not as extensive as other programs, with text color schemes preset to match the themes. If you will not miss the myriad of sound effects and elements that spiral in or fly out, emaze creates amazing presentations.

This is a link to an emaze presentation I created to share with students working independently to learn how to collaborate in the creation of a Google presentation: It embedded easily in our district’s LMS, Moodle. Students watch the presentation independently through the course.

In his review of emaze for TechCrunch, Roi Carthy highlights the fact that this platform was designed to be simple to use and not be as “confusing” or “frustrating” as other presentation platforms. He claims that “Emaze has the potential to become the “PowerPoint of the Everyman.” We would add, and every student!

Challenge: Creating a learning environment that allows students to have choice goes a long way to motivate students and foster independent learning. Giving students the ability to choose the media, app, or presentation platform in the completion of an assignment or project is an example of how you build this learning environment. Create a list of options and add emaze!

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