When I think of software presentation tools PowerPoint is immediately what jumps to mind. I think this is because I grew up in an era where it was pretty much the go-to standard and only option available. It was also how the majority of my instructors or other presenters delivered their material to me. PowerPoint is a great piece of software and as described by Teachnology (1999), it can add new dimensions to learning and serve as powerful tool for delivering information. According to Hewitt (2008), “Unlike most of the other software products that have made their way into the Office suite, PowerPoint has never had significant market competition.” When I look around the web today however, there are so many exciting new presentation software tools available that PowerPoint finally does have strong competition in my opinion. Therefore I think it is really important for educators to explore all their options when it comes to crafting a presentation.

SlideRocket, Prezi, and Google Docs Presentations are all great alternatives to PowerPoint. They have all the modern features and tools necessary for meeting ones presentation needs, though each may have certain strong points depending on those needs. When using software presentation tools like those mentioned above it is important to remember that their true purpose is to highlight key points of our verbal presentation, not supplant it. These tools are also a great way to present visual representations of things that are difficult to adequately describe with words. A new tool, which I recently became aware of, seems to blur the lines by allowing you to combine voiceovers with animation to explain your ideas. This new tool is PowToon which is currently in public beta. While I don’t see PowToon as a replacement to any of the full-fledged slide based presentation software, I think it can be really powerful for expressing complex or “boring” ideas. Since PowToon exports what you create to YouTube that means once can also embed a PowToon into your Prezi or SlideRocket presentation.

I think that we are currently entering an exciting time where we will continuously see new software presentation tools entering the market. I feel these new tools will continue to expand the ways that we as educators can teach and present our content. This is a great thing in my opinion as we need keep pace with the ever changing needs and expectations of students born in the internet age.  


Hewitt, J. (2008, October 29). Ms powerpoint: From humble beginnings to business meeting standard. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/office/collaboration/articles/13189.aspx

Teachnology. (1999). Retrieved from http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/

The idea of using computer software to teach is not a new concept. According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), educators and software developers have been evolving the idea since the 1960’s. These days computer software designed for teaching is often referred to as either “Instructional” or “Educational” software. Instructional software is any program designed with the primary purpose of teaching or aiding in self-learning. Instructional software often falls into five main categories. These categories are drill and practice, tutorials, simulations, instructional games, and problem-solving programs. However, the current trend is moving towards software that has multiple functions and combines these categories into a single package (Roblyer and Doering, 2012). There are many advantages instructional software can have over traditional teaching methods. These advantages include enabling students to better learn independently, providing immediate feedback, offering greater access to information, and allowing for levels of experimentation not possible in a regular classroom (Grove, 2012).

It is important to remember that despite the opportunities using instructional software presents, it does not necessarily guarantee success or is it a solution to all of teacher’s challenges. Merit software, one of the leading educational software companies even acknowledges this on their website. They state that there is not any single software product that helps all students but instead, “most educational software products are only helpful for a particular type of student at a certain competency level ("An insider’s perspective," 2008).” That is what makes choosing the correct educational software such an important decision. Jackson (2008), states that there are two basic approaches to choosing the right educational software. These are to either use guides to software and websites that list resources which have already been judged on their merit, or to complete an assessment of the software on your own (Jackson, 2000).

One great guide for finding quality instructional software I found is the Educator Software Reviews found on the Education World website. According to the site, “Education World's product evaluations reflect the observations and opinions of classroom teachers and educational technology coordinators, based on actual classroom use ("Educator software reviews," 2011).” The reviews include not only overall comments regarding the software but usability, performance, and usefulness feedback as well. Another site I found that has a list of instructional software and reviews is SuperKids. Two sites I discovered that don’t have reviews but offer software that could be self-assessed by the instructor were The Problem Site and SchoolForge

An insider’s perspective on educational software. (2008). Retrieved from            http://www.meritsoftware.com/educational_secrets.php

Educator software reviews. (2011). Retrieved from    http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/archives/edurate.shtml

Grove, A. (2012, April 11). Understanding educational software in the classroom. Retrieved fromhttp://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/102583-advantages and-disadvantages-of-educational-software-in-the-classroom/

Jackson, G. (2000). How to evaluate educational software and websites. TechKnowLogia,  Retrieved from http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_Articles/PDF/129.pdf

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.

The increased integration of technology in educational institutions is having a positive impact on students, teachers and administrators alike. Unfortunately this increased use of technology also means a greater
potential for improper use and negative impacts as well. In response to the risk for improper use institutions often put in place what is called an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), the AUP describes the risks of internet use, what use is appropriate, what use is safe, and asks students to agree to use the internet under those described conditions. When it comes to higher education institutions I discovered these AUP’s often refer to or complement separate Student Conduct Code policies. This was the case for the AUP of Chico State University , which specifically referenced those AUP violations that were also student code of conduct code violations. Many AUP’s extend their focus beyond just internet use as well. For example, the AUP of the University of Pennsylvania defines acceptable use for all electronic resources including computers, networks, electronic mail services, electronic information sources, as well as video and voice services.

The National Education Association outlines six important components that make up an effective AUP including a preamble, a definition section, a policy statement, an acceptable uses section, an unacceptable uses section, and a violations/sanctions section (“Getting started on,” 2011). In my review of AUP’s from public universities I found them to vary greatly in structure and content. Some did not necessarily include all the key elements outlined by the National Education Association but were very in depth on those elements that were actually included. The AUP of Colorado State University demonstrated this by not including a traditional definition section but went more in depth than other schools in giving very specific examples of inappropriate conduct. I also discovered that most AUP’s defined acceptable use not just for students, but extended the policies to staff, faculty, and campus visitors as well. The San Francisco State University AUP states that it applies to any user of the University’s technology resources. 

In my opinion institutions need to have an AUP that extends to all electronic resources of a campus and to any potential user of those resources. This is especially important with many schools offering the public access to their campus facilities and resources.  When it comes to the potential liability issues a serious conduct violation could  schools cannot afford to leave anything up to chance.


Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable use policy (2011) Retrieved from               
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6thed.). Pearson Education Inc.

As time goes on, the positive impacts of technology on our daily lives continue to expand. From better entertaining ourselves during our free time, to more efficiently getting our job done in the workplace, technology consistently allows us to better upon previously established practices or tried and true methods. Now research and real world practice are demonstrating that technology has the potential to positively impact education as well. That is why it is so important for educational institutions embrace technology to help them succeed in their mission.

According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), integrating technology into education helps to overcome several major problem areas for students including issues of motivation and engagement, getting support for individualized learning needs, and receiving adequate preparation for future learning. Through embracing technology our educational institutions also have the potential to offer students resources and opportunities previous generations never could have imagined. Jonasson and Land have stated that, “technology allows learners to represent their thinking in concrete ways and to visualize and test the consequences of their reasoning” (2000). Learning management systems such as Blackboard, WebCT, and Moodle provide an online environment for students to interact with each other, teachers, and subject matter experts through discussions and collaborative assignments. Interactive whiteboards and student response systems provide hands-on interactive learning opportunities within the classroom that were previously not possible just several years ago.

Technology integration into the learning environment also facilitates access and enhances engagement for students with disabilities or impairments thanks to specialized assistive technologies (Roblyer and Doering, 2012). It is not just the potential for improving the student experience that technology integration offers either. Edutopia (2008) states that “Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners.” Technology integration is also positively impacting the way educators assess students and evaluate programs, which is increasingly important in an era of growing standards and accountability measures (Roblyer and Doering, 2012).

The integration of technology into our educational system is rapidly moving from being an option to becoming an expectation. This is especially true in the eyes or our students. Regardless of whether or not long time veterans or traditionalists in the field of educations share their view, the students of the world today have both an expectation and an appetite for technology in their lives. In the end the students are not here for us but rather we are here for the students, which is why we must embrace educational technology to serve them best.


Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.

Jonassen, D., & Land, S. (2000). Theoretical foundations of learning environments. Mahwah,         New Jersey:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Edutopia. (2008, March 16.) Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are                Many. Retrieved September 7, 2012 from http://www.edutopia.org/ technologyintegration-introduction