Ten Ways To Get Beyond Powerpoint With Classroom Projectors

  • Reading/Writing. Display images, words or phrases for writing prompts in creative writing or poetry class. Model savvy formatting and editing skills by giving live demonstrations in your word-processing software.
  • Mathematics. Utah State University’s National Library of Virtual Manipulatives http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vLibrary.html) offers hundreds of multi-sensory games, illustrations, exercises and puzzles for K-12 students.
  • Science. Ask students to add their experimental data directly to your spreadsheet and project graphs of their results for everyone to see—you’ll identify those pesky outliers in no time.
  • Social Studies. Google Earth (http://earth.google.com) works wonders but loves to crash on older computers. Try the University of Texas at Austin’s renowned Perry-Castañeda Library Virtual Map Room (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/) for a wide array of PDF maps from around the globe.
  • Timer, Stopwatch, Countdown. Using a simple freeware program like TimeLeft (http://www.timeleft.info), students will see exactly how long they’ve been working on a project, how much time is left, or how many days until the ice cream social after your final exam.
  • Board Work. Ask students to do the work on a sheet of paper, fire up your doc camera, then project their results. No more stage whiteboard fright!
  • Graphic Organizers. Online diagramming software like Gliffy (http://www.gliffy.com) or Bubbl (http://bubbl.us) can make creating lively instructional flowcharts, cluster diagrams and spider maps a breeze.
  • Guest/Substitute Lectures. Live streaming or podcast lectures from guests will give your students access to experts around the world without footing for an airline ticket. Record your own lectures with software like Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp; $299) or upload your Powerpoint presentations to Slideshare (http://slideshare.net; free) and you’ll be the toast of the substitute-teaching pool.