Beyond the Slideshow – Ideas for Creative Student Projects

Help students think beyond the slideshow, and encourage them try some of these creative student project ideas.

Creative student projects can be a challenge to plan when students are very accustomed to creating slideshows. Microsoft first released an official version of PowerPoint to the world in 1990. By the mid-1990s, Microsoft Office was available for use in classrooms and by the early 2000s, over 95% of public school districts in the United States were using (or had plans to purchase) the Microsoft Office suite. Over 69% of educators were using PowerPoint in their classrooms, second in use only to Microsoft Word. The popular slideshow software unintentionally became a powerful academic tool across the country, but now, even with the addition of Google Slides and other slideshow/presentation tools, can our students showcase their learning in other ways The answer is a resounding YES!

While PowerPoint’s presence in the classroom was growing, so was the World Wide Web and the creation of interactive digital content, alongside social media. Now, there are so many options if you’re looking to assign creative student projects. Students can showcase their learning by creating interactive, digital posters, videos, and infographics. Students can also create digital mind maps and outlines, storyboards, and even fake Facebook profiles for book characters. For many of these, students can work online alongside classmates. Teachers can also use the same interactive content to enhance their own presentations and lessons. 

I have compiled the following list of educational tools to help you design creative student projects that go beyond basic slideshows. Be sure to check them out for yourself too and try using them to enhance your lessons. Some of these websites still allow students to create slideshows or presentations, but often with more interactive and engaging features than allowed in PowerPoint or Google Slides. 

As always, before trying any new ed-tech tool in your classroom, ensure it aligns with your school district’s privacy policy. Also, please note that any listed pricing is current as of spring 2021. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Canva 

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Creating designs for posters, newsletters, etc. to further learning in a more engaging visual way. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Thinglink

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Using voice recordings, images, and 360 videos, you can create interactive presentations and lessons. Can integrate with Canva. 

Cost: Free and paid options available.

 

Educational Tool Name: Animoto

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Video editor with no editing experience necessary to create a more visual learning experience. 

Cost: Get started for free. Paid upgrades available for added customization options, with options for annual or monthly pricing.

 

Educational Tool Name: Infogram

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create easy and quick infographics, maps, charts, and data sheets to better support your lesson plans. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. 

 

Educational Tool Name: EdWordle

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Generate ‘word clouds’ to present information in a more visually interesting way. 

Cost: Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Tagxedo

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Turn words or bodies of text into word clouds that you can customize in real-time, and attach to shapes, as well as customize the font and overall look. 

Cost: Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Word Clouds

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Word cloud generator and tag generator that can be used online or on mobile devices that you can customize with shapes etc, to match themes. 

Cost: Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Powtoon

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create fully customized and memorable presentations and videos 

Cost: Free with paid options available for both annual or monthly billing

 

Educational Tool Name: Prezi

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Templates for presentations, infographics, and other moving graphics to create lesson plans that are said to be more engaging than PowerPoint. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Visually 

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: You submit a project idea, either an infographic, video, presentation or more, obtain a quote and then a team creates it for you.

Cost: Price based on quote, depending on the project. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Glogster

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: From a content library, create your own multimedia poster with graphics, video, recordings etc. With glogs, and templates from resources containing multiple subjects to choose from. 

Cost: One-time personal purchasing option available, or monthly/yearly subscription options available for classroom use.

 

Educational Tool Name: MindMeister

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Mind mapping for brainstorming, note-taking, project management, or creating presentations. 

Cost: Free with paid options available.

 

Educational Tool Name: iMovie

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Video editor for Apple/Mac products. Simple, easy editing of video, picture slideshows to create video presentations for lessons, or a more visual project opportunity. 

Cost: Free with compatible Apple products. 

 

Educational Tool Name: SlideShare

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Search from a variety of presentation slide shows and conferences on various topics that you can use to enhance a topic you are teaching in the classroom. 

Cost: Free with LinkedIn account. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Puzzlemaker

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create your own puzzle to develop math or writing skills. Several puzzle options available! Can be used by teachers, students, and parents!

Cost: Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Haiku Deck

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Use a library of images and templates to create your own presentations. 

Cost: Starting at $10 a month. Special pricing options available for qualifying students and teachers.  

 

Educational Tool Name: Educreations

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create your own video lesson plans on your iPad, with voice direction, to share with students, parents, and other educators. Lessons can be accessed anytime. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Smithsonian Learning Lab

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create your own interactive learning experiences or use templates/examples. For analysis and inquiry of art, history, culture, and science. 

Cost: Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Storyboard That

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Practice creating an organized presentation of knowledge on a topic, through storytelling and storyboards. A special edition is available for classrooms.

Cost: Free with paid options available. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Flipgrid

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Allows students to use their voice by creating videos about desired/required topics. Designed to promote classroom discussion. Great for remote learning!

Cost: Free.

 

Educational Tool Name: Fakebook

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create a fake profile for a historical or fictional character. Track the development of the character and explain their relationships with others. Can be used as an assignment for students to increase engagement in literacy. Not user-friendly/attractive, so best used for upper-grade students.

Cost: Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Adobe Spark

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Create visual stories with social graphics, webpages, and short videos. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Piktochart

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Tell stories with visual impact with this easy-to-use infographic maker. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. Special pricing options available for educators/schools.

 

Educational Tool Name: Bitmoji

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: App to create your own emoji, a Bitmoji. It can be sent in any app, and be used to visually heighten and personalize your presentations. 

Cost:  Free. 

 

Educational Tool Name: Mindomo

Purpose/Function of Education Tool: Mind mapping and outlining for better student learning. With project and task management available. 

Cost: Free with paid options available. Pricing options available for personal or educational use.

What about having students create their own podcast? All students need to make their own podcast is an audio record device (cellphone, Chromebook, laptop) and editing software (free online versions available). Use this assignment to help students learn about podcasts and then create their own. This resource contains 3 lessons to help students and teachers learn about this engaging media type. This assignment contains both PDF and Google Slides formats. Buy this project on Teachers Pay Teachers.

There are so many options for creative student projects these days! Introducing students to a variety of these digital tools will help them stay engaged in their learning, as well as build technological literacy. Learn more in this blog post about Integrating Technology Into The English Language Arts Classroom.

Creative Student Projects

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