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Storytelling is a great activity in classrooms of young students and even with older. I remember as a child when stories were read in my classes. I loved it. I was impressed by the quality of my teacher’s reading. It was almost a perfect activity. The only problem was the lack of pictures we could see. My teachers would turn their book after reading a page to show the students the pictures printed in it and we could barely see it! Not to mention the students in the back of the class that could not see at all. Today, on a blog article from freetech4teachers, I discovered a great app called Haiku Deck that now allows teachers to solve this problem. That article also gives a link of an example of presentation that promotes the use of pictures in story telling.

Haiku Deck is an iPad app that is very intuitive and free. It helps you create great looking presentations for storytelling or any other kind of slide presentation. The focus of the application is really on pictures and visual. Text is even limited to let the pictures be the main subject. It is only possible to add keywords or a sentence or two on the pictures. This limitation is needed since the picture itself is the backdrop for the text. One disadvantage I found is that you cannot change the size of the text. There is one small box of text and a big one. Sometimes simplicity does not help! Selecting a different theme can change the font style but not its size unfortunately.

The best feature according to me is that the app comes with an access to a great database, which is full of beautiful stock pictures that can be found by simply entering keywords. The app even suggests you related keywords in order to help you find even more pictures. I really like this option because pictures on websites like iStockphoto can be quite expensive and Haiku Deck gives you the same quality for free. Lifehacker blog has an article about how gorgeous these presentations can be.

Ways to use Haiku Deck in class

Haiku Deck provides a lot of possibilities for teachers. I think one of the best ways to use it is by having the students write a story and letting them present it to their classmates by creating a Haiku Deck presentation. The problem is that except for a few pilot projects, iPad are not available in school. I understand that it is a big investment and maybe in a couple of years it will start to happen. A faster solution would be for Haiku Deck to make their software available on other platforms. That way, it would be a lot easier for students to have access to it. 

Another way to use it is to teach with it as a visual support, like we do on PowerPoint. Haiku Deck’s website provides different examples of presentation made from their app. Still, I may not be able to have my entire course one a Haiku Deck presentation because of the text limitation, but the students may be more attentive to my teaching instead of reading and copying text that is on the screen.

In conclusion, I would use this application in class for some special presentations (mostly short ones) when I need to show stunning pictures to my students and that text limitation does not bug me. I also like the idea that my students could work on their own presentation with that tool, but it does not seem doable for now. 

Pros

–       Free stock pictures database, beautiful visual

–       Free app

–       Export function into PowerPoint

–       Can be watched from any computer connected to Internet

Cons

–       Presentations can only be edited with an iPad

–       Font cannot be moved outside of the presets and size cannot be modified.

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