mQlicker – Create Interactive Presentations

mQlicker is an audience response system that that allows users to turn a PowerPoint into an interactive slideshow to engage audiences and collect useful feedback. mQlicker is free, flexible and definitely worth checking out for use in a variety of educational settings. This cool tool has a lot of potential for collecting feedback and fine-tuning instruction.





mQlicker for Interactive Presentations

mQlicker is a useful tool that allows presenters to engage audiences in the classroom, during professional development or via online presentations. The response system works with any web capable device, and there is enhanced support for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices. From an audience participant perspective, mQlicker couldn’t be easier to use. Members of any size audience can access questions through a link, or they can quickly scan an auto-generated QR code. Audience members identities are anonymous and their connection is secure. 

From a presenter’s perspective, mQlicker goes beyond traditional audience polling options to collect many different types of useful information. Presenters can collect and display responses to traditional types of questions through polls and surveys that are displayed in real-time, and they can utilize some flexible options for collecting free response feedback. mQlicker allows presenters to do more than just check the pulse of their audience. 

Types of Questions

There are several options for creating different types of questions to engage audiences. In addition to traditional text based polls and surveys, presenters can embed YouTube video and images into a question, providing audiences with rich content. For use as a quick quiz, multiple choice answers options can be shuffled to avoid sharing of answers. Several questions can be grouped on one page. 





Types of Responses

mClicker includes the ability to capture feedback and display results in unique ways. In addition to traditional option, such as bar charts and pie charts, mQlicker provides the option of displaying results in the form of sticky notes and word clouds to provide interesting visual results. Participants can use a link to view real time results in full screen or they can view them embedded into the presentation itself. Presenters can export results and download them as a spreadsheet for evaluation and insight.

Uses in Education

The flexibility offered by mQlicker makes it a useful tool for a variety of purposes. There is no limit to the number of responses collected and multiple sessions can be created and open at the same time, a feature especially useful for teachers who teach more than one section of a class. Once you try mQlicker for yourself, I’m sure you will find it to be well-suited for a variety of purposes to help your audience tune in and to help you fine tune instruction. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

In the classroom
Turn a traditional presentation based lecture into an interactive session to give students a voice. Start with a video to provide students with a common starting point for instruction and provide them with an open-ended question that allows them to type questions and comments throughout the lecture. Display the Questions and Comments as sticky notes in real-time. Divide longer lectures into sections and create Exit Polls throughout the lesson to gauge understanding.

In the Flipped Classroom
Create an online presentation and assign it to students as homework to prepare them for work in class. Use mQlicker to collect feedback and monitor use, then use the results to inform and fine tune the instruction and activities students participate in when they return to class. 

For Professional Development
Get the most out of professional development and demonstrate your own expertise by gauging the level of knowledge and interest of your audience. Use video and questions to launch collaborative group work and brainstorming sessions and use results collected to give the audience what they came for.

Final Thoughts

As someone who frequently presents to students and adult educators through a variety of formats, I am excited to add mQlicker to my toolkit of resources. I have used it successfully with a few small audiences and intend to use mQlicker in the next few weeks during a webinar and also a break out session at a conference. I believe the tool will allow me to capture those teachable moments and make the most of the time we have together.

Try mQlicker for Yourself

www.mqlicker.com

TeachEm: Create Guided YouTube Lessons

TeachEm is a free and user friendly digital tool that allows users to capture YouTube content, organize it, and add time stamped flashcards to guide the learning. It’s simple, smart and efficient which makes it a good tool for busy teachers interested in implementing a Flipped Classroom instructional model.


Teachers can sign up for a free account with an email address and create a school. The school is not meant to be the school that employs you, it is supposed to be “The School of You”.  Once you’ve created your school, you can create classes of organized YouTube videos fairly easily.

To create a class just copy and paste links from your own collection of pre-selected YouTube videos or use the built in search feature to find and preview videos without leaving the TeachEm site. Add timestamped flashcards to associate text with specific parts of a video. Create public classes to share with the world, or create private classes that can even include videos that are not publicly available on YouTube. The TeachEm site hosts a very nice set of TeachEm FAQs, created with their own tool, to help users learn to use it.

When students participate in a TeachEm class they simply click on a flashcard and the timestamped video will jump to the associated spot.  They can flip the flashcards for more information or to get the answers to questions. As  they watch the videos and respond to the prompts on the flashcards, they can also type their own SmartNotes.

The set of Flashcards and SmartNotes can be emailed as live links which open to specific parts of the videos when clicked. Although I didn’t find any features for embedding a class, you could copy and paste the set of live links into your own online learning platform or website for quick and easy student access.

Uses in the Classroom:

  • Use TeachEm to create levels of differentiated classes on specific topics to provide students with access to content to meet their instructional needs.
  • Design student-driven learning activities to deliver content with TeachEm, then require students to create something original based on the learning. 
  • Create your own instructional videos and use them in place of traditional lectures to maximize instructional time and give students a chance to use the pause and rewind buttons to take the learning at their own pace.
My Wish List:
  • The ability to record sound and insert links into flashcards would make this a more powerful tool for meeting the needs of all learners and providing students with flexible options for responding to the video content.  
  • It would be useful to be able to easily embed a class into a website or online learning platform for quick and easy student access.
Try TeachEm at teachem.com.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef: Google Wonders Project

The Google Wonders Project is an interactive website that allows visitors to discover many of the wonders of the world. Virtual visitors can get off the beaten path and explore wonders from 6 continents up close through Google’s amazing street view technology. Virtual visitors can find factual information, stunning images, 3-D models and YouTube videos right on the page, which makes the World Wonders Project an amazing teaching tool.


The newest addition to the collection takes visitors on an underwater tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Divers used the world’s first tablet-operated underwater camera to capture high-definition panoramic images of the reef to create stunning content.

The underwater expedition is part of a larger scientific study which aims to help bridge the gap between scientific awareness and public knowledge. Google has partnered with The Catlin Seaview Survey for a major  study of the world’s reefs and has made images from from coral reefs in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii available through Google Maps. There will also be a dedicated YouTube channel for project-related videos. It’s probably only a matter of time until Google assembles more packages of teacher-friendly content from the underwater expeditions and makes them available through the Google Wonders project. 
Visit the Great Barrier Reef on the Google Wonders Project

Screencasts -Tech Support to Maximize Instructional Time

As educators in the 21st century, one of our goals should be  to design student driven experiences that offer flexible learning paths, using a variety of tools to meet the diverse needs of all students.  Fueled by essential questions, technology is certainly a fabulous tool for facilitating these types of experiences, but with limited instructional time, loads of content to uncover and varied comfort levels with the technology itself,  implementing these types of learning experiences can be overwhelming and can be an inefficient use of instructional time.  If educators are going to effectively use technology as a tool for learning, than the learning focus has to be on the content, not the technology.

How do we keep the focus of the learning experience on content and avoid being consumed by teaching students how to use the technology? A tool that I’ve found to be particularly effective is the use of screencasts to create quick tech tip tutorials to help teachers and students use the technology  to succeed.  A screencast is a narrated video that captures what takes place on a computer screen.  It can be used to provide demonstrations and tutorials to teach the “how to” of using the technology. The primary benefit of using this tool is the pause button. Users can pause the tutorial, and  replay it as often as needed to learn the “how to”, allowing the teacher to circulate around the room facilitating differentiated content based instruction through informal assessment, reteaching and enrichment.

There are plenty of screencasting tools available online. The free and user-friendly tool I have adopted is Screencast-O-Matic because of the simple push-button recording feature that allows users to easily create a screencast,  publish it on YouTube, and make it available for teachers and students right away.  A screencast created with this tool can be embedded into a blog, wiki, or website or linked to a Google Doc, so it is very versatile. Screencast-O-Matic has announced the addition of a new feature in February that will allow screencasts to be published right in a Google Doc.

Below I’ve embedded a snippet of an example from a lesson in which students used a Google Presentation template to construct knowledge. In this project, screencast tutorials were included right on the template to provide them with easy access to tech support.

Example: Using Screencasts to Support a Technology-Driven Lesson
Click on the images or links to access the tutorials.