Meograph

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 Help Screen

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.

The Battle of Alamance Meograph

While creating this presentation, I realized some of the pros and cons of using this tool:

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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?

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This entry was posted in Communicating, Cool tool, Creating, Understanding. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Meograph

  1. Victoria B. says:

    Great post, Angie! I have never heard of Meograph before but it seems like a very interesting tool. I really enjoyed the Metograph that you created, especially the inclusion of the timeline at the bottom! I think it’s really neat that the program allows you to include extras into your video presentation so that students can interact with it. Even for me, it is much more engaging to interact with an online presentation than to simply watch a video. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tabitha C. says:

    Thank you for the list of pros and cons related to this tool–great idea!! I still am a little intimidated by this tool, but maybe I will get more comfortable with it if I use it on my own instead of reading a tutorial. Thanks for sharing, Angie!

  3. Mary F. says:

    Great post Angie! I love that you gave us the pros and cons list, it let us know all the great things about this tool but you kept it realistic, let us know the limitations the tool has. I, like Tabitha, am a little intimated by the many options this tool has to offer but I loved the one you created so I think it is worth it to look more into myself so that I can become more comfortable with it. Thanks for a fantastic post and a great new tool!

  4. Maria H. says:

    Hey Angie! Meograph seems like an awesome tool that can be used in place of a PowerPoint. I find them to be repetitive and monotonous to students who have seen them for years, so this is a great alternative! Also, the pro/con list is great and so original. You did such a great job, Angie, thanks!

  5. Steph G. says:

    Angie, this was a great post! Meograph seems really cool, I’ve never heard of it before. The video you embedded, as well as the Meograph itself really helped to explain and describe the tool. I also liked that you added a pro and con list, it was very helpful and awesome to know. Thank you so much!

    • Chelsea S. says:

      I was going to say exactly the same things, Steph! As I was reading your post I understood what you were saying but I still needed a visual as to how it worked and so the example videos were perfect! I also enjoyed the pro con list. The con list was definitely something special seeing as a lot of the posts here state the best features of the tool, but not many explicitly state the bad parts as well. Thank you for an awesome post!

  6. Katie H. says:

    Great post Angie! I think Meograph seems like an awesome tool. I like how it allows you to make PowerPoint type digital stories that are much more interesting. Students would love watching these presentations in class rather than sitting and listening to a person talk about a boring PowerPoint. This tool would help students who are shy and do not like to talk in-front of the class by giving them the option to record their voice over the presentation and play the video during class. I think I will use this tool in my future classroom to gain the interest of my students. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sara R. says:

    Thanks for sharing, Angie! This tool sounds pretty similar to the tool I posted about: Metta. Both allow you to record your voice over media. Like Metta, I can definitely see this tool being especially effective if a teacher has a planned absence, or if the teacher is practicing flipped learning (when the lessons are learned at home and the “homework” is done in class). Also, if the students have individual access to the Meographs, they can even attain the information at their own pace–I still get frustrated when I am busy writing something down and miss something important that my professor says. Individual access to this tool can eradicate that issue!

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