Headshot of Shanna Martin with logo and AhaSlides and Renderforest text

AhaSlides & Renderforest

This week we have a couple of fresh, engaging ways to present material and have students create their own media. Check out AhaSlides and RenderForest! These two awesome edtech tools can add excitement and collaboration to any lesson.


AhaSlides allows you to turn presentations into interactive games and activities. You can add quizzes, polls, and more to any slide deck to get students engaged. There are all kinds of templates to choose from along with adding your own creations. It’s a fun way to review content and liven up presentations. There are many ways you can add AhaSlides into your classroom!


RenderForest is perfect for getting students creating videos and honing digital media skills. Its easy drag-and-drop interface lets you combine images, video clips, audio, text, and effects. Students can storyboard, shoot, and edit projects to demonstrate understanding. Guiding learners through video creation is an impactful way to merge technology and curriculum.

So if you’re searching for ways to energize your instruction, give AhaSlides and RenderForest a try! These innovative tools promote collaboration, creation, and critical thinking. Your students will have a blast learning with these tech tools!


Related Episodes:

Shanna Martin 0:19
Thanks for listening to the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast, where each week we talk about a free piece of technology that you can use in your classroom. I’m your host, Shanna Martin. I’m a middle school teacher Technology and Instructional Coach for my district.

Fuzz Martin 0:32
And I’m a producer and husband Fuzz Martin. Podcasting makes me bubbly. Especially when we’re talking about AHA

Oh, wow. I don’t really have a good one today. And it’s like what uh, what kind of pun can I make for AHASlides? bubbly water.

Shanna Martin 0:56
So yeah, for those of you that may or may not have AHA in your area, it is a sparkling water.

Fuzz Martin 1:02
Yeah, I think that one’s by coke isn’t a Coca Cola. Maybe? Or maybe it’s bubbly? I’m not sure anyway. Ah is a friend of trendy flavored bubbly sparkling water. Spicy waters. We call it here.

Shanna Martin 1:12
Yes. Would you call it spicy water? Ah, can we talk about how cold yeah, it is right now before we start talking about slides and fun little fun things to build into classrooms. It’s freezing.

Fuzz Martin 1:25
We didn’t drive into the normal studio because we didn’t feel like driving because it’s so cold outside basements studio and negative what? Negative three right now with a negative 14 Wind Chill. Yeah. Which is cold and we just got how much snow

Shanna Martin 1:40
16 Just under 16 inches of snow here. And a day and a half,

Fuzz Martin 1:44
though, I finally got to use my new snowblower which made me happy. Yeah.

Shanna Martin 1:47
We had two snow days this week.

Fuzz Martin 1:50
Yeah, by the way, all temperatures Fahrenheit, and all inches in standard, of course.

Shanna Martin 1:56
And here in Wisconsin, freezing we put on our puffy vest to go into the basement. Yes, it’s chilly. But we have fun sites to talk about today. So it’ll be fun and exciting.

Fuzz Martin 2:09
Content will keep you warm.

Shanna Martin 2:13
And keep you moving. Because Oh my goodness. It’s really cool. Yeah. So we have two edtech tools to talk about this week, both just to bring some liveliness into your classroom, just some fun with your students. They can be used in any content area there, like presentation type edtech tools we’re gonna talk about, okay, the first one is a ha slides, which goes with your little water joke. Next. It’s frozen. So I slides is a really cool site that allows you to create interactive presentations. And it has like ready made templates is has or you can create your own or publish your own and all kinds of cool things. So a few things to highlight. So AHA slides, a HASLID s.com. Then they have the fun little Google Sign In and whatnot. And so you can create an account without having to pay. I will tell you, this was one of those were those free versions, and then you can upgrade. So if you really love it in your classrooms, you can upgrade and then there’s like monthly fees and things like that. But for the free version, you can go into have like a blank template, or you can upload your own like Google Slides or whatever kind of presentations if you don’t use Google Slides, and you use PowerPoint.

Fuzz Martin 3:32
Oh, yeah. Some other thing? Yes, thank you.

Shanna Martin 3:39
So you can upload a presentation, or you can start with their templates, which they have all kinds of them. And it’s really cool, because you can go in. And let’s say I’m looking for a game to get my students up and moving and warm. They have some things already created by other teachers or other people. So they have like Christmas rentals. And they have like creative sale games and team time. They have all kinds of activities. And then if you want to have customized wheels, so if you’re a spinner wheel kind of person, and you want to like upload different information, they have like a probability spinner, and you can upload your information specific to education and has its own little Education tab. And these are all created labor book club template and a word cloud template and a fun exam prep slide set, topic review class debate template, so I’m just going to click on one right now so we can talk about new class icebreakers. Those of you starting a second semester. I know in Wisconsin here will be shifting semesters in the next week. Everything did get delayed because our snow days last week, but that it’ll give you kind of a preview. When you open it up. You can use the template. You can see it gives you all the slides. So in this one I chose the new class icebreaker slides. It gives you the 14 slides it’ll be in there. So welcome. What are your three favorite school subjects three favorite types of food. There’s a poll in there which is Cool, I love a good poll. And when it interacts with the slides, it looks great, because then you can get information right away, you can click Get the template if you like it, and then it loads into your little collection of templates, then you’re able to go through and change out the headings subheadings. So the slides are like on the left hand side, and design is on the right. So you can choose the content, you can change out the backgrounds, you can change what even like the answer the poll the question. So even though it’s a template with everything in it, you can edit everything. So if I want the first slide to be a image, instead, they can pick and choose, you can have options, like pictures in there, and the kids can click on him. So what’s cool about this is, you’re going to add music to slides. If you have the paid version, just so you know, if you want slide audio, you do have to upgrade, but design content and like text and type whatever is in there that you can edit for free when you go in, and you can make all these cool adjustments and make all these slides, what you then do is once you’re ready to go with your game or review or activity, it makes the slides interactive, students go in to Aha slides.com/and, then they type in whatever the code is. And from there, the students can interact with the slides. So you’re allowed to click Preview ocean, which I really like click Preview. And it’ll show you this is what you’re presenting. And this is what the participant sees. So if even if you’re doing like staff PD, or anything like that, you can go in and you have your slides that you’re presenting from. And then they can interact with your slides, which is really fun, that’s cool. And they can QR code it or they can type the little code into there. And then they can go ahead and play a couple of things. What’s cool is that then all your slides are interactive. And you can put all kinds of fun information up there. And they’re really easy to edit. And there’s a lot of nice templates that are pre done, which is really helpful. So you’re not starting from scratch, which is always like the big thing is nobody has time to make the super cutesy fun, awesome slides. I mean, some people do, because clearly, there’s people in here that have time for that, which is awesome. And I have a few teachers I work with that absolutely love the creation of slides. And then there’s others that like want to get all this content and don’t have time to make them cutesy. So it makes them pretty people can interact with them. The one thing is in the free version, you max out at seven participants. Okay. So my suggestion is, have your kids play in teams? Oh, yeah, there we go. So like in my classroom, I have seven groups that my classroom works out really well. Because each group then is a team. Yep. And that’s how they play excellence. But that’s something to note that you max out at seven. When you’re presenting and having them interact. You can use the slideshows without having people fully interact with them as well, like you can use them that way has like a regular just templates and presentations. But there’s so many cool things that you can build these into the class spinner wheel, like lineup in order this, would you rather do this, give me three words in this like language, like, there’s just all kinds of cool things in the template version, but also you have the freedom of uploading your own, and also creating from scratch. And then they have when you create from scratch, you have so many cool ways of putting information into there. So if I’m gonna go through, and I just want to create something, I can add a pole, I can add a wheel, I can add anything that I want to, to create from scratch and has all these tools in one place. So like you can do word clouds, and you can do scales and q&a and brainstorms. And all of those are options to put into your slides. So you don’t have to find that stuff someplace else. It’s all already there for you. Which is pretty cool.

Fuzz Martin 8:39
That is pretty cool. If you do decide to buy it, they do have educational pricing. And it’s pretty affordable. It’s like for the though the audience size is 25, which is kind of like right at that edge. Yeah, cuz a lot of classes are like 2030 30. Yeah, but the it’s 295 a month, if you’re going that route, if you bump it up to the 50 audience size, it’s 545 a month, which is still way cheaper than its normal plan for non educator set. But again, we’re about the free stuff.

Shanna Martin 9:11
We love the free, yes, but yeah, so if you really love it, it’s affordable. Yeah. Which is always helpful. Yeah. So whenever you go to like a blank, blank presentation, you can do that. And then again, they have all these cool templates and to make them interactive and get the kids really engaged. Like it’s a fun way to get kids engaged into your presentations. And there’s a lot of options. You also can create a team. And if you have a team, boom, boom and join Shanna Martin seam. And then you’re able to bring teammates on board to collaborate together. So then when you have a team, then you can share editors onto your presentations as well. So you can have like your content team or your grade level team and you can then share out work together which is nice. Excellent. Yeah. So I have slides. Oh, there’s a lot Here’s the cool things about it. And definitely a fun way to experiment and build some interaction into your slides as you’re playing along. Very good. There you go. The second one I have to share a quick little share is called render forest. So for those of you who do a lot of like design work for their students, or the moment and making videos and things like that, I’m always trying to find a free version. And there’s a lot of free versions out there like Wii video and things like that. Or Animoto, and I’ve talked about many of them. This is another one to try out with your students to see if it would work. It works well in the business world as well. It’s not just like an educational tool. And so it you can, there’s a lot of options. I’m talking specifically about the video option and render for us but they also have like build your own website and create logos and mock ups and things like that. So if you have more of a, like a business, like high school business class, or if you have like older students that really are looking to learn more or create more, if they’re building businesses and economy class, things like that, this is a great site to use for that. Okay, if you’re looking for like some video work, this will show you how to create animations and like video editing and slideshows and things like that. And while again, this is one of those where they have like a free version and then a paid version, you can really play around with the free version to get a get a sense of like how this kind of work happens. And render for us as r e n d e r f o r e s t.com, render forest render forester forest and it’s just a really cool site. So you can choose like today, I’m gonna work on a video, okay. And then they give you a variety of templates to start from. And it’ll tell you if it’s like the upgrade fancy version. There’s like a little crown on it, like, hey, not the free version. But it like has Animation Videos intros and logos and video editing. And you can pick and choose what part you want to work from. And then you can see it you can create now, it can walk you through the process, it gives you the background, not a professional, Nope, not at all, you can click the guide me question and it will walk you through creating a video and going through step by step. So I really liked that to expose students to not always using the same website and being able to create in something new, and also learning how to learn differently. I don’t even know that makes sense. But being able to, like teach kids skills like flexibility, like Yeah, you’ve made videos probably 15 times before, but have you done it this way, like this is another option out there, there’s another format. And so we can go through creating a video, start from scratch, and then it will show you like, here’s your characters, and then you can pick and choose like, I want this cartoon guy. And we’re gonna give he like, he’s bored at 10 seconds. And so it gives you the people, the video backgrounds, the duration, the images, and it just walks you through the process, which I think is pretty cool. And I think a great learning tool along with, you know, creation at the same time. So a great way to quick present information or learn how to create a little video to share content in any content area, I would definitely say like middle school, high school for this one, just because there’s a learning curve a little bit just to be able to process the whole thing. But I think that is a cool way to teach some video creation along with like web design and things like that with kids that are interested in that and also want to explore that. So with pricing, they do have the free version that kids can definitely get started with and or teachers if you want to work on that within your classroom as well. And then they have other versions if you choose to upgrade and want to be super fancy with the whole thing. Super fancy. So yeah,

Fuzz Martin 13:33
There we go.

Shanna Martin 13:34
Are you playing around?

Fuzz Martin 13:37
Templates and whatnot.

Shanna Martin 13:39
So different template templates. So render forests, you can render all the things and make all kinds of cool creations along with sharing information and learning some new skills at the same time. Wow.

Fuzz Martin 13:53
Uh huh. Render forest.

Shanna Martin 13:55
So we have a hot slides, and render forests today. And keep kids brains are moving here Starting second semester. And hopefully, everyone will stay warmer than we are. Because it’s cold.

Fuzz Martin 14:10
It is

Shanna Martin 14:13
Yee haw. Well, thanks for tuning in. Okay, we’re done. Thanks for tuning in. This has been the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast. If you ever have any questions, you can find me on the app formerly known as Twitter, at smartinwi or on threads, right like to post lots of fun little pictures. And if you want to get more information on the links to the technology discussed in this episode, you can visit Spartan wi.com. If you’d like to support the show, please consider buying me a coffee or to visit buy me coffee.com/smartinwi or visit smartinwi.com and click on that cute little purple coffee cup. Your donations help keep the show going. New episodes each week. Thanks for listening, go educate and innovate.

Fuzz Martin 14:51
The ideas and opinions expressed in this podcast and the smartinwi.com website are those of the author Shanna Martin and not her employer prior to using any of the technologies discussed in this podcast, please consult with your employer regulations. This podcast offers no guarantee that these tools will work for you as described, but we sure hope they do. And we’ll talk to you next time right here on the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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