Whether you’re flipping your classroom or simply seeking ways to increase student engagement, you may be looking for new tools that will help you accomplish your goals. And, as you likely already know, using the latest apps can be one way to create new and exciting learning experiences in your online or on-ground course.

In the presentation “Flip and MOOC Out Your Hybrid/Blended Courses” from the 2014 Course Technology Conference, Frances Rampey of Wilson Community College discussed a number of apps that will help you create a lively, engaging presentation that draws students into the topics you’re covering. We’ve shared several of them below. Many of these are available at low or no cost… check them out, and see which ones might add a new dimension of student engagement to your course!


Tools for crafting an engaging presentation

Ready to take your presentations beyond the chalkboard or a static set of slides? Investigate the following options:

  • One of the most popular cloud-based presentation tools, Prezi, allows you to make engaging presentations with images, video, and audio. Prezi also includes collaboration tools that allow you to work on and share your presentation with others.
  • With Zentation, you can sync a video of your lecture along with its corresponding Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides. Time stamps can serve as a “table of contents” that allows viewers to view and review sections as they wish.
  • Present.me offers another simple way to create and share your synced video and slides. It offers a handy “Trim” functionality that lets you cut out portions of the video that you wish to eliminate from your final version.
  • Knovio‘s video presentation app offers you another option for creating and sharing your presentations. Upload your slides, create a video, and share via e-mail, Web link, or social media.


Create videos for your classroom

Whether you teach an online course, follow a hybrid model, or your class takes place completely in the classroom, you may want to create videos for your course. Though making a video can be as simple as using your webcam, you may want to add extra notes, annotations, or visuals that help you clarify or further explain your points. These tools will allow you to add these features to your videos with ease:

  • With the help of Pixorial, you can edit your photos and videos on your desktop or mobile device. Create transitions, add text and music… make it as polished as you like!
  • Magisto also offers you a way to splice together photos, music, videos, and images into a mini-movie.
  • Overstream provides a simple way to add subtitles to your videos.
  • Use Capzles to combine your videos, photos, text, and audio into a dynamic timeline.
  • Add a fun element to class with animations! With PowToon, you can create enjoyable and memorable cartoons that capture students’ attention (and, perhaps, maybe even make them laugh). Using Plotagon, you can upload a script and select virtual characters who will “act it out” for you. And, with Digital Films, you can make a movie with a variety of backgrounds, characters, and more.


Collaborate, communicate, and demonstrate

  • Have a group project coming up? Students can use TitanPad to collaborate on their papers or notes.
  • As an educator, you can use Remind101 to send text messages to students… while keeping your personal phone number private.
  • You can provide students with directions for using online tools, but sometimes showing them what you want them to do, see, or understand will communicate your point much more efficiently. Screen capture and screencasting tools such as Jing, Awesome Screenshot, and Screencast-O-Matic allow you to capture what’s on your screen and share it with your students. (What’s more, once you’ve shared these with your students, they can review them as often as they need!)


We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! For more great suggestions, review Frances Rampey’s presentation, “Flip and MOOC Out Your Hybrid/Blended Courses.”


How do you go about using the latest apps in your classroom? Have you tried any of the apps listed above? Which have worked well for you? Share your ideas, experiences, and suggestions in the comments below.