On this blog, we’ve been exploring a lot of great ways to present information to our students other than the traditional formats like PowerPoint that we’re all familiar with. Aaaaaand here’s one more! Meograph is a tool used to created digital stories based on Google maps and timelines. The creators refer to meograph presentations as “4-D stories” because presentations can include not only images, text, videos, music, and narration, but also related links that allow viewers to interact with the content more deeply. It is a free service; all you need is an email address to create an account. The company does offer more advanced packages for a fee, and labels these bundles for business, tourism, journalism, weddings, sports, genealogy, family, and of course education. Check out the Meograph in Education page and follow the “Extra Features” arrow to see some of the options available to teachers and classrooms. The “Lite” option for $19.99/year allows teachers to create accounts for their students without email addresses and prevents advertisements from appearing while working on meographs. The “Plus” option, for $29.99/year, offers the same advantages as the Lite option and also includes the ability to create group pages and private sharing within a class. The most advanced and expensive option is the “Pro” option for $49.99/year. This package has the same features as the others as well as an advanced customer support system and the ability to remove meograph’s branding from the products created by the class.
I first read about Meograph on Richard Byrne’s blog Free Technology for Teachers in the post, Meograph-4D Storytelling in Education. In his post, he highlights the education page. I also found a great article on TechCrunch, called Meograph Adds Paid License As It Looks To Push Its “Adobe For Everyone” Into The Classroom, which explains some of the history of the tool and its uses, as well as the new accounts available to teachers and classrooms.Here is a great YouTube tutorial that gives step-by-step instructions for creating a new Meograph.
The video highlights some of the neat features of Meograph like ways to manipulate and edit pictures, insert YouTube videos, select the sections of the video you wish to show, and add narration. While Meograph is pretty user-friendly, I found the video really helpful in showing me the ropes and features of the program.
Meograph also offers this helpful visual to the right for new users. It gives an overview of every feature of the program and how to access it on the edit screen. If you click on the image, you can access this visual by clicking “How-to” on the welcome screen and try your hand at your own meograph. Presentations are organized into “moments” which are essentially slides where your content is placed.
The Meograph website offers several samples for each of its categories and here are some neat educational examples. The tool makes it really simple to embed presentations onto websites, or share them on Facebook or Twitter. These presentations really highlight the timeline and map features offered by this program, and the use of text, graphics, and narration to create a presentation.
I’ve created a Meograph about the Battle of Alamance, to experiment with the tool. The embed format of Meograph is not compatible with WordPress, unfortunately, but you can follow the linked image to my presentation.
While creating this presentation, I realized some of the pros and cons of using this tool:
- Moments are automatically placed in chronological order
- Presentations are saved automatically
- Music can be uploaded from personal files, good for personal presentations
- Add narration to each moment individually
- Embedded YouTube video begins automatically, right after narration for moment
- Can add links to related content and photo credits on each moment
- Can access accounts from any computer and work on presentations from anywhere
- Only one image per moment
- You cannot enter a date range for a moment, but only a specific year, or month and day if you wish
- You cannot add a link to the Introduction or Conclusion slides of your presentation
- Each moment can only have one link
- Most school computers do not have many musical files to upload into student presentations
- Cannot add captions to a meograph presentation for hearing-disabled viewers
Though this tool is similar to some of the other tools that have been discussed on this blog, and programs like iMovie or PhotoStory, it has a few defining characteristics. The timeline and maps features are clearly great for social studies and English lessons, but you could also use Meograph as a presentation platform for science and math lessons. You could just ignore the map feature and leave the dates blank. It is very easy to add content like YouTube videos, pictures, music, and narration to a meograph. Your meographs can be public or private, and can be shared by embedding it on your website, or through social media. For middle and secondary grades educators, Meograph would be a great way to record your lectures and lessons if you knew you were going to miss a day of work, and students could certainly create them for projects. For elementary educators, short meographs could be a great way to introduce concepts or incorporate videos into your lesson. Young students might need some help with this tool, but it could be fun to have them narrate portions of presentations, so that they feel more engaged and empowered in the classroom.
Here are some other posts about Meograph:
- Meograph: The Future of Storytelling is 4D (with Context)-from pbs.org. This article does a great job of explaining creator Misha Leybovich’s vision for the product and what he meant by “4D storytelling”.
- New, Easy to Use, 4-Dimensional Storytelling Tool– from Visual News. This article has several good examples of meographs used in education, and a few student-created presentations.
- Meograph Blog Post– from DiscoveryEducation. This blog post briefly explains Meograph and provides a sample teacher presentation that could be used as an introduction on the first day of class.
- Create Your Own 4D Stories With Meograph– from Mashable. This article provides an overview of the program and the ease with which users can make stories, not just absorb them.
- Meograph provides “fourth-dimmension” to multimedia storytelling– from ArsTechnica. This describes the use of Meograph in journalism, which would be great to share with students. It would prove that a) you are teaching useful, applicable skills, b) that your students are able to use a tool that paid adults use in their jobs, and c) make journalism seem like a “cool” and more accessible career for students.
So tell me what you think! Have you used this tool before? How would you use Meograph in your classroom?