Share this page 

Tools of the Trade

Speakers’ Corner

Do your students break out in a cold sweat at the mention of class presentations? Try swapping that anxiety for enthusiasm with the help of engaging tech tools. With practice, they can calm those jitters and become confident communicators.

By Melissa Campeau

  1. Popplet Free for lite version!

    When speakers really know their stuff, it comes through in their presentations. For students in the planning stages, this whiz of a tool helps them brainstorm, create mind maps, colour code, and organize their ideas and images — paving the way to more interesting and informed presentations.

    Grades: K–12

  2. Prezi Free trial!

    Snazzy templates and intuitive controls make visually interesting presentations a piece of well-designed cake. The best part? When it’s time to present, the flexible format — speakers zoom in on any point, at any time — makes presentations more like conversations, putting everyone at ease.

    Grades: 8–12

  3. Public Speaking with Andrew Johnson US$2.99 (Apple App Store), US$3.89 (Google Play)

    It’s amazing how focused relaxation can nix butterflies and steady anxious minds. This app uses guided meditation to boost confidence and retrain the mind so students can relax and even enjoy the opportunity to give presentations.

    Grades: K–12

  4. Ah Counter App Free!

    It’s, um, hard sometimes to, y’know, cut out filler words. To fix that, this app listens to students as they practise and alerts them every time an “um” creeps in, bringing focus to all the extra bits that get in the way of effective communication.

    Grades: 9–12

  5. Pro Metronome Free!

    Are your students speed reading through presentations? That’s a classic case of beginners’ nerves. Luckily, a little awareness training can sort that out. During practice, students use this intuitive app to choose a steady beat to follow, then adjust as necessary until they hit just the right rhythm.

    Grades: 4–12

  6. FlipGrid Free!

    Public speaking becomes NBD (no big deal!) when you do it all the time. With FlipGrid, teachers share a thought-provoking image or video and students record their spoken responses. It’s less formal, but still great practise! Classmates offer feedback right in the tool and students can chart their own progress.

    Grades: K–12

  7. PromptSmart Free for lite version!

    Do you have a future CBC news anchor in your class? Create a mock newsroom to find out. Have students cut and paste their scripts into this tool, then use the class tablet as a teleprompter. Voice recognition software listens in, adjusting the pace of the scroll to match the speaker.

    Grades: 4–12

  8. YouTube Free!

    Why not learn from the best? Especially when there’s a bottomless trove of amazing examples right at your fingertips. From Rick Mercer’s hilarious rants to Barack Obama’s soaring orations, students can study what works and why, then try to weave those bits of magic into their own presentations.

    Grades: 9–12