Haiku Deck for UDL Multiple Means of Action and Expression

This week I have been looking at Multiple Means of Action and Expression from the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines:

CAST. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines Version 2.0. Retrieved from: http://www.udlcenter.org/sites/udlcenter.org/files/updateguidelines2_0.pdf. (This alternative version can be retrieved fromhttp://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines_theorypractice)

Students can present what they've learned in a multitude of ways. In the past I've given students choices such as making dioramas, posters, skits, PowerPoint slides or writing papers. In elementary school, I've found that for students, getting presentations ready can be just as, or even more time-consuming, than researching or preparing what to say. There are Web 2.0 tools that students could assist students in spending more time on the quality of the content, and less time on its visual design.

One of these tools is Haiku Deck (https://www.haikudeck.com) which only requires a computer or iPad with Internet connection. Let's look at some ways students could use Haiku Deck as a means of expression and ways that teachers could use it to guide students' executive functions.

Basic Options

Options to Express Visually

One of the best features of Haiku Deck is that it helps the user design very visual slides. No more going out to buy poster boards, markers, or models, and no more printing! It automatically selects key words in the slide which could be used in a built-in search tool to find images for the background.

The search results in images licensed for re-use under Creative Commons. When the presentation gets published, the attribution will automatically be present on the top left corner of each slide image.

In the top, there is an option to change the fonts and themes. Fonts themes and image filters will automatically apply to all slides for consistency.

This is the same slide background in a different theme:

Options to Express Verbally

The placement of words can be changed with the Select Slide Type and Choose a Layout options. You can review how to identify only main ideas so that students don't type every single detail and read off of the slide.

For students who would like to add detailed notes or scripts, there is an Add Notes option.

When a presentation is published, the notes can be viewed directly on the slides page if it is not in full screen mode. Notice the attribution on the top left corner and in the slide description below.

Options to Guide Student Executive Functions

Teachers could display checklists, directions, and notes using presentation slides if they have a projector and/or SmartBoard in the classroom. Slides could also be shared with students online. When you select any export options, just remember to "Allow reuse" before you share so that students could copy the slides into their Haiku Deck Account to change or add their own notes to it.

In upper grade levels or higher education, sharing in advance could reduce barriers for many who might have difficulty following new concepts. Students might figure out that they could share a single slide set and collaborate in the note-taking process.


The major drawback of Haiku Deck is that you cannot embed videos or audio files into the slides. You can, however, add links to multimedia in the notes area.

For students who designed a presentation but struggle to present, they can play the presentation in small-screen mode to read off the notes. They can also use a screencasting app to pre-record their presentation.


Below are other free slide presentation tools out there with simplified user interfaces:

  • Google Slides
  • PowerPoint Online (simpler than the desktop version)
  • Prezi (allows voice recording and timing)

Once again, Haiku Deck is an excellent slide presentation application for students who want to make attractive visual presentations fast or for teachers who want to provide an organized presentation or set of notes for students to customize.

If you have tried other free presentation apps such as slidebean (https://slidebean.com/), SlideDog (http://slidedog.com/), or something else, let me know if you've found it to be helpful.