Emerging Tools

I chose to examine the emerging tools Moodle, Prezi, and VoiceThread. These tools are a great resource for students and instructors.

I started by examining Moodle. I was unsuccessful in downloading the software needed to create a course. So that link will not be in this post.

The first page I reviewed on the webpage was the Course Homepage: https://docs.moodle.org/30/en/Course_homepage

This page gave step-by-step instructions on how to create a course on Moodle. It also had YouTube videos for How to lay out a course, and What is considered a course.

The links are here:



These videos were helpful and started the learning process from the very beginning. As I stated above, in order to create anything on Moodle I needed to download the program and all the necessary software. This process did not work and I ended up at a dead end. But from prior experience with using Moodle I can say it is fairly easy to use. But instructors have to pay attention to the organization of the course. Each heading that describes where to find Assignments, Resources, Discussions, ect. all have to be inserted into the course. I’ve enrolled in courses as a student in Moodle where instructors just dump all the course resources into weeks but there is no instruction or organization to the course.

The next tool I reviewed was Prezi. Creating a prezi presentation only requires the user to have an account. There are options for different types of accounts. There is a free account but there is no security to these accounts. So all work that is created under a free account can be searched and viewed by the public. I created a Prezi presentation from one of my course powerpoints about traditional villages. The PowerPoint was already created and all I had to do was download the slides from powerpoint to Prezi. From there I was able to drag and drop the slides to the Prezi slides. There are presentations that are already created and all the user needs to do is upload their information to these designs. I chose to create my own design. So I found a picture online and uploaded that as the background to my presentation. This process took a few hours. I think it would have taken longer if the Original Territory presentation wasn’t already created. One interesting and user friendly tool that Prezi has the snapping tool. This tool aligns all of the slides to ensure they are all the same size and aligned with each other. It just makes the presentation look nicer. Another user friendly tool is the autosave tool. Once a change is made to the presentation, Prezi autosaves the changes. That way there is no issues with a student’s presentation disappearing. Here is the link to my presentation:


I also reviewed VoiceThread. VoiceThread is another presentation tool that can be used by students or instructors. Again, I used the Original Territory presentation and created a VoiceThread. This program required the user to have an account. This account can be a student account or instructor account. The instructor account is $99/year and will allow for the instructor to have up to 50 students licensed under this account. If the instructor needs additional licenses, they can purchase them. My account is through another course at UAF and I don’t know if I was technically allowed to create a VoiceThread for another course beside that one. So I may delete this presentation after a few days. There are layers to the process of creating a VoiceThread. These layers were not described to me when I created my first VoiceThread for my other class. I had to figure all of this out on my own. So if VoiceThread is used for lower-division students, these layers should be described at some point to the class. The first step is preparing a PowerPoint. This step is pretty self-explanatory and most students already know how to use PowerPoint. The second step is to figure out to some extend what you are going to say about that slide. I usually script my VoiceThreads. Then you upload the PowerPoint to VoiceThread and record a description for each slide. Overall it is fairly easy to use, but I think students need some direction if they are going to be required to use this software. Here is the link to my VoiceThread:


6 thoughts on “Emerging Tools

  1. Hi Lexie,

    Nice work getting this in. I know it is a busy time of year for all of us.

    How would you compare Moodle to Blackboard? How about to this course in WordPress? Why would (or wouldn’t) someone choose Moodle over another tool/service?

    What are the strengths of Prezi? Why not just use Powerpoint or Google Slides? Would you ask your students to use Prezi? What kinds of learning objectives would Prezi support?

    On VoiceThread, you mention students would need some direction if they were going to be required to use the software. How best would you give them that direction?


    1. As a student, I think Blackboard has more to offer as far as online storage for student documents and it is more organized because it has the option of creating new homepages each quarter or semester. Moodle doesnt have online storage available to students and I believe each course the student ever enrolled in continues to show up on the student’s homepage.
      As an instructor I don’t have experience with blackboard so I can’t really compare. But do I know that when a university purchases Blackboard or Canvas, part of what they are paying for is security. Moodle is a free program and documents that are uploaded to moodle can be searched online. I taught an Independent Learning course for a student years ago. I uploaded the syllabus and course content to Moodle. One day I was searching Google for something completely different and my syllabus popped up. I highlighted it to see what it was linked to and it was Moodle. So if the university doesnt want their curriculum out on the internet, I would chose a program that has added security.
      From an audiences point of view, Prezi just looks nicer and it adds to the audience engagement. When the presentation transitions from slide to slide and it is animated, it catches the eye. I think Prezi can teach students communication skills, organization skills, and critical/creative skills.
      If I were to give my students direction it would be step by step. I would include a separate document with the syllabus that describes the VoiceThread process that I described above. Included in the document would be a link to the VoiceThread page that I would have set up before the class started. It would also include requirements for the presentation including how long it would have to be. I would like an 8-10 minute presentation would be best.
      Thank you for your questions.

  2. Really personally happy to hear that Moodle is easy to use (software downloads notwithstanding). I’ve always wanted to use it but have been a little cautious regarding it for some reason. Nice to hear I don’t need to be.

    VoiceThread looks really interesting but I’m admittedly not super sure what it offers that screencasting tools and webcams don’t? Am I missing something?

    1. Thank you for the question. I had to review screencast tools in order to answer this question. I am not very familiar with any of them.
      But from what I can tell, it seems like screencast tools create videos. And the VoiceThread presentation is still a PowerPoint presentation. It may just be easier for students to use because most students are already familiar with PowerPoint. Im familiar with video editing and it is really hard to engage students in that process. There is something about the length of time it takes to learn the software and the design piece that can be daunting for some students.
      If students are expected to create a video for their presentation I think they would need a separate class to learn the skills to make a video.

  3. One caution on Prezi. I got excited about it a few years ago, but when I looked closer found it has some pretty serious accessibility issues. Universities are becoming more aware and cautious/conscientious about accessible content in online courses (rightfully so). Prezi is entirely flashed based and the developers were not considering looking for a fix at the time. The solution we worked out was to create a completely separate text based document to allow access for screen reader software. It worked but added a huge time element for the creator.

  4. The district I completed my student teaching in used Moodle as a method of delivering curricular content to teachers. My experience with Moodle as a user was that it was a thorough course management system. I appreciated your comment about organization of the course. Variance in course layout and organization can be difficult for users. I personally think it is helpful when resources have an established standard organization that can assist the user in basic navigation and site expectations. When related sites are set up differently, the user spends considerable time orientating themselves with the page rather than diving into the learning.

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