The Weekly Patrick™

Instructional Technology that YOU can use!

So it's been brought to my attention by a couple of colleagues that I send too many emails...

I'm not going to say by whom - but I'll give you a hint - I'm married to one of them, and the other one directs plays. And they're right - I learn about cool instructional stuff, and I want to share it - so I immediately shoot off an all-staff email. Well those days are over; from this point on - call it an early New Years Resolution - I am going to send out a weekly Instructional Technology newsletter. I hope you find something you can use! If something seems cool but you'd like some help with it, don't hesitate to drop me a line!

Presentation Tools Galore!

Slidely, and Animoto

This week I've decided to focus on presentation tools that you can use in your classroom, embed on your Fusion Page, or use for presentations to parents or the community. I'll be discussing three tools - Slidely,, and Animoto.


Slidely is a dead-simple webapp that you can use to create slideshows using images, music and captions. It's similar to Animoto, but in my opinion even easier to use. Just upload a group of pictures from your computer, Google Images, Instagram or several other places, then follow the on-screen prompts to create your slideshow. It will even let you score the slideshow with music from Youtube - and it has a search for music feature built right in (although I will say that the one annoying thing with Slidely is that it plays the YouTube video that you've chosen in a tiny little window in the bottom corner of your slideshow.) You can add small captions to any picture you want as well. Check it out - it's cool. I've included a sample Slidely below; after you've made it you can even embed it on a webpage (though I couldn't do that in this flyer.)

One disclaimer about the slideshow below: I just chose random pictures from my phone, and the music I chose makes no sense whatsoever - it was just one of the default choices. If you put some thought into it, you could make some pretty cool stuff.

Infographics are all the rage right now. They're a really cool way of getting information to students in a graphical form, and are more interesting than plain text. Here's a link to a blog with some good ones if you've never seen them before:

The only problem? They're hard to make. They've always required knowledge of a graphics editor like Photoshop. (Cue dramatic music) UNTIL NOW!!!

Behold: is an awesome free online infographic maker. Watch the video below to get an idea of what it does and how it works - and then when you're done go get an account at

and start making them! is currently in beta - so if you use it, save often and be prepared for some bugs - but it's worth the slight annoyance (and you can help them improve the product by leaving feedback when something weird happens.)

Be patient - it may take the video a few seconds to load. Or like a minute. I don't know why. I'm guessing it's gremlins.



If is the basic slideshow maker, Animoto is the workhorse. It's awesome. You can upload pictures, videos etc. and make an awesome presentation - and Animoto has a lot more effects, music choices (or you can upload your own,) resolution options, etc. You can make an Animoto and then export it to YouTube or SchoolTube (in fact, that's what I did to get it to embed on this flyer.) It takes a little longer to get it perfect - but it's still not hard at all. Remember: SchoolTube is safer due to the fact that you never know what's going to pop up on YouTube's "suggested videos."

When you first sign up for an Animoto account it limits you to making 30 second videos, unless you pay to upgrade. Likewise, you only get lower quality videos unless you pay extra to upgrade them to HD (which is why the sample video I made below is low quality - I used low resolution photos so that they would upload to Animoto quickly, and then I used their low quality video setting.) Typically this isn't a problem - if you need a quick video for a class presentation, or if your kids are making Animotos as a project, low quality is fine.

There is a solution though - the Animoto EDU account. I have one, and I can get you set up with one if you're interested (well - I can get 50 of you set up - that's the limit Animoto sets for me.) With the EDU account you can make longer videos, upgrade to HD using "credits" (though I'd prefer you tell me if you are going to do that, because we get a finite amount,) and explain how you can use this with your kids. If you're interested, shoot me an email!

Check out my sample video below. I think you'll find it delightful and full of holiday cheer. And fish. Make sure you turn the ads that pop up in YouTube off if you want to read my various witty remarks.

animoto 360p