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March 31, 2011 Digital Poetry — Make Words Zoom and Fly Across the Room! By Christy Crawford
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    All you need is a computer, projector, and an Internet connection to give students the power to make their words larger than life. Digital poetry can turn a typical school poetry slam into a multimedia event. Read on to captivate the most tech-savvy wordsmiths, grab links for your interactive whiteboard, and partake in some 21st century word play.





    Software and Online Tools for Digital Poets

    PowerPoint, Animoto, and Keynote will allow your students to make words and images dance across a screen, but nothing beats Prezi. Think of Prezi ("The Zooming Presentation Editor") as PowerPoint on steroids. In seven easy steps, Prezi can be used to get kids passionate about poetry — passionate enough to practice their verse as if they were rock stars performing for their fans. Check out Anna rehearsing "Hope and Faith in Japan" and Jonathan and Jacob rehearsing "Firebird" for local poetry slams:

    Step 1: There are several college courses devoted to creating visual poetry. Show your students the work of digital collegiates at PBS or visit the BBC. Use the visual poems on these sites to inspire young digital natives to create presentations.

    Step 2: The YouTube generation loves a good video how-to. Show your students a Prezi tutorial. Every few minutes, in between students' "oohs" and "aahs," stop the video so they may paraphrase the steps. (Take a quick look at the Prezi tutorial video posted by Prezi. It is simple and entertaining.)

    Step 3: You've got them hooked. Allow poetry teams to brainstorm topics and begin drafting. Or allow students to use Prezi to bring their favorite poem to life. Take a look at Natalie and Ella's digital version of a Georgia Heard poem. (Click the video's Play button. The Fullscreen and Autoplay features will appear when you roll the cursor over the word "More" on the bottom, right-hand corner of the video.)




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