Metta: A New Kind of Presentation

As a pre-service teacher, have you ever thought about what you would do if you had to be absent and had to depend on a substitute, who is not familiar with the material and the style of your class?  Have you ever thought about how you will accommodate for all of your students, attending to all of their individual needs?  The program Metta, formerly known as Soo Meta, can allay the concerns involved with those issues.

Richard Byrne, author of the blog “Free Technology for Teachers“–a blog that talks about the newest and most useful technology applications for the classroom–describes how Metta is an effective tool for allowing students to not only be consumers of information presented on the Internet but also creators of it.  In his post “Metta – Create Multimedia Presentations and Quizzes Online,” Byrne goes into detail about how Metta allows you to pool videos from YouTube, or ones that you choose to upload from your hard drive (with your own face and voice), images from the Internet or from your desktop, as well as content from Twitter or Pinterest, in order to create the most engaging and interactive presentations possible.

Title Page

Create a title for your presentation.

In order to create a presentation, you log on to Metta, where you will be presented with a screen that asks you to add a title.  After you do so, press the green “Create” button, press the “skip this step” button on the following screen, and you will be shown the storyboard for your presentation.  To the left of the window, you are able to see the list of clips that are included in your presentation, a plus sign where you can add a new clip, and the toolbar, above all of that.

Main Screen

The main storyboard screen, with the clips and toolbar featured on the right, the current clip in the middle, and the search bar up top.

By entering a keyword or phrase into the search bar up top, you can search for a video from YouTube (or choose to upload one from your hard drive) that will be featured on the striped rectangle where the green video camera appears. You can also search for an image (or upload one from your desktop) that will appear as the clip background, as well as search for media on Twitter, which will appear on the “Type your text here” bar, if you choose not to type in your own description.

Adding a quiz or poll

By choosing “Poll, Add New Poll” from the toolbar, a poll or quiz can be added on a new clip to assess viewer comprehension.

Finally, as mentioned before, Metta allows the creator to embed quizzes into the presentation to assess viewer comprehension.  To do so, simply go to the “Poll” menu on the toolbar and select “Add New Poll.”  Then, you can type in your own question and the responses from which the viewer can choose from.  When you are done with your presentation, you can press the orange “Watch All” button, which will save your work and allow you to preview it.  If you are satisfied with your presentation, you can then choose to publish your work and provide access to it through a permalink or by embedding it.  For more information on how to use Metta, see the YouTube tutorial below.

As his blog is geared towards educators, Richard Byrne always includes a section on how the tools can be used effectively in the classroom.  In this particular post, Byrne suggests that students be assigned to create a trailer for a book they have read, using the various types of media from the web as well as recordings of themselves giving explanations.  Byrne also suggests that students create a “digital collage” of media surrounding a current event that has been widely talked about through different technologies.

While these are excellent suggestions, I chose to make my first project on Metta from the perspective of the teacher.  As I mentioned earlier, Metta can be used if a teacher is aware of an upcoming absence, so that an entire day of instruction is not lost.  In the Metta presentation on the Gettysburg Address I made, I am playing the part of an absent teacher who is using Metta to teach her class about the Gettysburg Address, assesses their knowledge about how closely they were listening, and then assigns them group work to complete in relation to the media they have just viewed.  When viewing my project, which is linked to the image below, please be patient, as it takes a few moments for the presentation to load.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 3.40.17 PM

Gettysburg Address Metta Presentation Link

Also, “Flipped Learning,” a new method of educating students, is becoming more popular by the day, and Metta is a tool that can be used to make the process of such learning feasible.  Flipped learning involves recording the lectures for the students to view at home, on their own time, at their own speed, and the classroom time being used for work, and applying the skills that were learned through the lessons that the students had viewed at home.  Flipped learning allows the teacher to spend more time aiding his or her students who may have had trouble understanding the content of the lesson, as he or she does not have the pressure of continuing with the lecture so that those who do have a full understanding do not waste any of their time.

The quiz feature on Metta allows for the instructor to test certain ideas that the students should have accrued from the flipped lesson, and then view what percentage of the class was able to answer each question correctly.  Therefore, if the teacher sees that the greater majority of the class answered a particular question incorrectly, he or she can spend time reviewing that specific content, ensuring an understanding of it, and not spending time reviewing content that the students are already comfortable with.

There are different versions of Metta, each having a different price and therefore having different features: a free version, which I used to make my project, a plus version, which costs $3.99/month, and a pro version, which costs $12.49/month.  I was able to create my project with ease and was able to create, in my opinion, a satisfactory product.  Although Richard Byrne mentions that Metta is an advertiser for his blog, which could insinuate that this post is only present because of their monetary support, I believe that he wrote about the program for reasons other than monetary support from its creators, as it an excellent tool for teachers and students.

For more information on Metta, beyond my post and that of Richard Byrne, feel free to check out:

Do you think you could possibly use this to teach your class when you are absent?  Do you think that this will be a useful tool for your students to use to reflect their understanding of the content you teach them?  Please feel free to comment on this post to share your thoughts!  Also, to learn about another cool tool that is able to create similar presentations, take a look at Katie H.’s post entitled “Alchemy Smartbinder: Creating Lessons online.” Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about Metta.

This entry was posted in Assessing student work, Collaborating, Communicating, Cool tool, Creating. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Metta: A New Kind of Presentation

  1. Kelly F. says:

    Hey Sara – This is really cool! I like the idea of having the teacher be “present” in the classroom when out on a personal day, I feel like it adds a little bit more credibility to the substitute (because they are often seen as pushovers). To be honest, I looked at your presentation before finishing reading your post and the quiz part threw me for a loop, it was quite a good touch. It engages the students and makes the sub job easier.

  2. Angie E. says:

    Great job Sara!
    Thanks for opening your post with the many uses Metta has for teachers. Like Kelly, I think that using Metta presentations is a great way to ensure that our future students do not lose a day of instruction because we have to take a day off. I also love the idea of using Metta for a flipped classroom. Hopefully we will be able to ensure that all of our students have internet access at home and can use this great new teaching method. As Byrne pointed out, this is a great tool for students to use for their projects as well. Thanks for telling us about this cool tool Sara!

    • Sara R. says:

      In high school, my school district eradicated all substitutes and just had us sit in a study hall and do a worksheet. While this was more efficient most of the time than wasting a class period with an incompetent substitute, we were often off task and didn’t really get anything out of the work. So, I’m glad you see as well that this ensures that that day of instruction is not lost! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Tabitha C. says:

    I have had countless substitutes who had no idea what they were doing so this is a great way to keep students on track even when teachers have to miss a day. The only drawback I see is that this doesn’t seem to be something you could throw together super quickly, so if a teacher wakes up not feeling well in the morning, we’re back to the substitute problem. But for advance absences this can be great. I also think the quiz feature is an excellent tool for teachers. Thanks Sara!

    • Sara R. says:

      I agree that it doesn’t seem like something that could be thrown together so quickly, so I believe that this could be better used in a situation where the absence of the teacher is planned. Thanks for commenting!

    • Chelsea S. says:

      To be honest I didn’t even think of that drawback! It is a very good tool for teachers to use and it gives something to give to the teachers, but I definitely agree with Tabitha that this is best for advanced absences!

  4. Anna B. says:

    Hey Sara! I have never heard of this technology tool before, but I think it sounds really useful! It is a great way to provide easy sub plans for when you are absent because you can make multiple videos that all the substitute has to do is hit play and then your students don’t get tired of just doing busy work! I think that teachers could also make them as review tools for students to use to study for tests, and by adding in the polls or quiz feature, they can take a practice “test” to see how well the understand the content and what they need to study more. I like that you can upload your own videos and images or use ones from YouTube or the internet. This sounds like a great tool that both students and teachers could have fun using!

    • Sara R. says:

      That is a great point–that it is not just having the students doing busy work. I know that while I was in school, I resented nothing more than wasting my time on busywork. I hope you consider this tool when you are in the classroom! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Chelsea R. says:

    I really like all of your screenshots that you added into your blog post. I think you explained everything very well and this would be a great way to assess students in class without them “knowing” that they are being assessed. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Maria H. says:

    After going through your Metta presentation on the Gettysburg address, Sara, I have a new-found love for this tool! The ability to take quizzes in the program, embed videos of yourself talking to your students, and explain your lesson to the class and substitute is a novel and extremely useful idea. I love everything about this tool, and no doubt will use it in my classrooms! Thanks!

  7. Katie H. says:

    Great post Sara! I think Metta is a very convenient tool that all teachers can use to create lessons for their classroom if they are sick or even if they want to have an online lesson during centers. This is very similar to my tool, Alchemy SmartBinder, and both are amazing tools to use to incorporate various online resources in a lesson. I can definitely see myself using programs like this in my classroom in the future!

  8. Steph G. says:

    Great job Sara! Metta seems really cool and convenient for teachers to use. I can’t even count the number of times substitutes had no idea what they were talking about. I love that you can even take quizzes in the tool, your video was extremely helpful! I’m so glad you showed us this tool, I absolutely see myself using this tool in the future!

  9. Winna P. says:

    Sara this post rocks! I have never heard of this cool tool before and certainly have never experienced it in the classroom. Your post was very informative and your example was great! I agree with what Tabitha said, but as teachers we could possibly have presentation that is not specific to a lesson that could be used throughout the year! Thanks again!

  10. Sydney R. says:

    Great post Sara! I had never heard of Metta before, but I can certainly remember a few times in school when it would have been helpful, especially with substitutes like you said. I love how you can add the video of yourself in the beginning so it’s like you’re kind of there even though you’re really not. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Robin G. says:

    What an excellent tool for teachers to enhance their teaching methods! It is a great way to engage and assess the students. I think that the most helpful quality is that it can be used when the teacher, him or herself, cannot be present in the classroom. I have had countless substitutes who made the classroom experience a waste of time. We would watch a movie or do worksheets but all of the students would be distracted and socialize. I always felt badly for the substitutes who did not have control over the classroom so I definitely think that this tool can be a huge asset to substitutes, teachers, and students alike! Thanks for a great post!

  12. Laura H. says:

    Sara, this program seems awesome! It seems so useful to use in the classroom, especially since you can have it played even when you are not there! It is similar and different from what I am posting about, Animoto! Animoto does a lot of the creating for you while Metta seems to give you more control. Great job!

  13. Alexia M. says:

    Sara, this was a great post. I have never heard of Metta before, but I can definitely see how beneficial this tool would be for classroom teachers! I’m not sure if I would necessarily use it since I want to teacher lower elementary grades (K-1), but I can definitely see how this would be a a great tool for other teachers! For some reason I couldn’t hear the audio of The Gettysburg Address in your presentation, but maybe my computer is just messed up. Great post!

  14. Mary F. says:

    Great post Sara! This could be such a helpful tool in so many ways and I love that you directed this post to the ways we could use it as a teacher. I really enjoyed the quiz part at the end because it’s a great way to make sure kids understand what is going on and test their knowledge on the subject. Thanks for the informative post!

  15. Victoria B. says:

    Thanks for sharing, Sara! Metta looks like a great program that I could definitely use in my future classroom. I love the idea that the teacher can still have a classroom presence even when he/she is absent. I think that if the students see that the teacher is definitely assigning work and expecting them to do it, they will be more motivated to do so and possibly better behaved for the substitute. I really enjoyed your Gettysberg Address presentation. Great job!

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