Slidebean is a web-based tool that allows users to create aesthetically-pleasing presentations with very little difficulty and effort. It is so simple to use that I decided to have my 1st graders try it out. Slidebean will go live on June 4th, 2014. The beta version has already been used by over 7,000 people. According to the CEO of Slidebean, Caya Jose Cayasso, the company’s immediate goal is to become a “true valuable alternative alternative for teacher and students to build their presentations.” With its extremely simple user interface and its elegant designs, Slidebean could become the next big presentation tool in education. However there are some issues that Slidebean needs to address before this can happen (see the Needed Fixes section at the bottom of the post).
Our 1st grade classes just finished up their Plants unit. They learned about the different parts of a plant, and their functionalities. I decided to have my 1st graders create a presentation using Slidebean to demonstrate their knowledge about the unit’s key concepts. I was surprised to find it only took my students one period to finish their presentations; a testament to the tool’s simplicity. However, my 1st grade students do not have email addresses so they were not able to sign up. Instead I created a generic Slidebean account using one email address, and shared the password to the class. Every student used the same account to complete their project.
Here is a presentation that one of my 1st grade students made (music was added by me):
Best Features of Slidebean
1. Adding content easily
To create a new slide, simply click on one of the orange icons below (header, text, bullets, quote, image, or video; chart is coming soon). You can then easily type your information inside the text box.
2. Selecting stunning designs effortlessly
On the left of the Design screen, you can select one of the stylish themes for your presentation. You can also select one of the vivid color combinations.
To go to the Design screen, you can click on the “Design” tab at the top, or click on the “Continue to Design” link at the bottom.
3. Any changes are saved automatically.
No credit card needed, but you will need an email address to sign up.
5. Cloud Based
Access your presentations from anywhere. You can edit and store your presentations on the cloud.
6. Sharing Presentations
Students can share their presentations through Twitter, Facebook, or embed their presentations into their website or blog.
Needed Fixes in Slidebean
1. Inappropriate image results I found that some of my image searches generated inappropriate results. For example, a “root” search resulted in a provocative image of a woman hiding behind a fan. I recommend testing out keyword searches and creating a list of safe keywords before letting your students search for any images. The picture below shows a list of safe keywords provided my students. This oversight needs to be fixed immediately, especially for an educational setting.
Slidebean just implemented Flickr into their services, removing the inappropriate image results! Here is an email I received from the CEO, Caya:
“We’ve just finished integrating Flickr as the official Slidebean photo stock, allowing you to browse the biggest photo stock on the web, letting you embed even more photos on your slides and (finally) the option to download them to PDF! If you might remember, we had been working with 500px for the past few months. The team decided to switch to Flickr to bring you more flexibility on the use images: all the new imagery will be available under a Creative Commons License, enabling you to use and share the content wherever you want.”
2. Sharing presentations for those without email addresses
The majority of my students have email accounts that they can use to copy, paste , and send their presentation URLs (I teach tech to PK-2nd and have integration time with 3rd to 5th). However, my 1st graders do not have access to an email account. I think it would be great if my 1st graders were able to send their presentations using the email account I used to create the generic Slidebean account. With an Email button option, students would be able to email their presentations to their teacher, classmates, and parents.