For this tool, I choose to try out the presentation tool Buncee. I’ve been hearing Buncee mentioned more and more often at workshops and conferences over the last year and I’ve been impressed with the projects I’ve seen come out of it. It was finally time to satisfy my curiosity and give it a try myself!
Since we’re rapidly approaching summer break I decided to make a quick Buncee presentation about my plans for summer.
Here’s my initial thoughts on working with Buncee:
- Easy to use/figure out– Overall, I found Buncee pretty easy to use after walking through the short tutorial that pops up after you create an account. I didn’t find the learning curve to be as step or frustrating as other tools I’ve used over the years (I’m looking at you Prezi) and I think it could easily be used with most of my elementary grade levels. It has enough options and customization to keep my 6ths busy but is easy enough that my lower levels could get the basics down.
- So many choices– I loved all the options I had! It was especially nice to see all the choices that popped up under the library category (and for their to be a library category at all!). I’ve heard that Shannon Miller uses Buncee to create her signage in the library and I can see why-there were so many good looking options it would be easy to create sharp looking signs without the usual hassle of creating them completely from scratch.
- Pleasant Looking– This is obviously a preference thing but I liked the look of the illustrations, animation and, clipart that is found in Buncee. I was actually disappointed when a category had more photos than Buncee style illustrations-which was the case for categories like cityscapes.
The Less than Good:
- Not as friendly for pre-reading/lower reading level students-While the overall platform of Buncee would be easy to teach and use with most of my grade levels, there aren’t as many pictures/non-text features to help you find what you are looking for when adding elements. This could make it more challenging and time consuming for my students who are pre-readers or overall, just not as strong of readers and spellers.
- So many choices– There were times I was overwhelmed with how many choices I had to choose from and I can see some of my students getting so caught up in looking at all their options they forget to actually work on their projects.
- Except when there wasn’t– And then there were the other times when I wasn’t overwhelmed by the choices as much as I was underwhelmed. I found several search times oddly came up with nothing in the Buncee catalog of backgrounds, animations or, clipart files. For example, I tried looking up writing (as well as write, writer etc) and got zilch. I also didn’t get any results when I tried to look up camper. Camp/camping turned up pictures but they only showed tents, no campers. I also found it disappointing that in the cityscapes background category, the choices were mostly photos and not illustrations. My entire presentation at that point was using the illustrations. Switching to a photo background for that slide only seemed disharmonious with the look I already had going so I had to scrap/rearrange my thoughts for that slide entirely.
- Cost– Unfortunately, Buncee isn’t free. Well, there is a free account option but you’re limited to 5 Buncees so that doesn’t really get you very far. There are two different classroom options, Lite and Plus, but they will run you either $10/month or $100/year for the lite and $20/month or $200/year for the Plus version. The Lite version maxes out at 50 student accounts and the Plus maxes out at 150 student accounts. So neither of those would be ideal for me unless I was constantly creating and deleting student accounts all year. There is also a custom quote options for schools and districts that offers up unlimited student accounts but I didn’t attempt to get a quote from them on that option. You can also get a 30 day free trial of the Buncee Classroom account but I think I’d rather save mine until the fall and use it with one of our first projects of the year.
Overall, I enjoyed working with Buncee and can see myself using it to continuing to use it to makeover my dreadful signage this summer. I’d also love to use it to mix up my presentations-perhaps I’ll use it instead of Google Slides for my summer workshops this year! I can also see myself using it in place of Google Slides or Prezis with students as well. And like I said, i think I’ll take advantage of the 30 day free trial for the Buncee Classroom account in the fall and try to do my “welcome back/library expectations” classes with Buncee Classroom. I’m curious about the tests and assignments feature that Buncee Classroom comes with. At this point, I’m not sure it’s worth the cost but, it was fun to shakeup my presentation routine and I look forward to creating a few more and continuing to experiment with it this summer.