Discussion 12

Picture of Christina Faerber
Identify a piece of presentation software other than PowerPoint or Keynote and identify the feature that makes it more or less useful as a teaching tool.
by cf – Friday, 30 November 2012, 01:21 AM

I have to admit that I chose this topic to discuss this week as upon first reading it, I could not come up with any additional examples (other than Prezi) off the top of my head. I think that as a student, I became quite comfortable using PowerPoint and have never felt the need to try anything else … It is upon coming to this realization that I decided to delve into the world of presentation software this week, and see if there was something that could challenge the spot that my “go-to” reliable PowerPoint has held for so many years.

Before looking at the list on eClass, I decided to google “presentation software,” just to see what other options would be suggested. I came across an article entitled “5 Presentations Software Apps to Try” and decided to check out their recommendations. After reading a brief synopsis for SlideShare, Mighty Meeting, SlideShark and Speaker Deck, I came upon the fifth choice – SlideRocket:

“Compatible with both Google Docs and PowerPoint, SlideRocket also provides options to build original presentations from the ground up. Designs can go beyond charts, tables, video, and Flash animations to include Flickr images, YouTube videos, and live Twitter feeds through integration with social media-friendly plug-ins. (Template designs and images are also available for the busier or less creatively inspired.) Once synchronized online, slideshows can be shared through email invites, URL links or website embedding, with full back-end metrics revealing which ones resonate most with viewers.”

After reading this summary and then realizing that this option was also recommended under Activity 12.1, I decided it was time to step out of my PowerPoint comfort zone and give this one a try. While the other choices listed on eClass were decent possibilities as well, I admit that the graphic quality of SlideRocket caught my eye. I particularly enjoyed perusing through their fresh, vibrant collection of templates. I was also impressed by all the various integrate-able components (as mentioned above) and particularly the fact that it was an ‘online presentation software’ that could be shared and accessed via the Internet (PowerPoint presentations are not as friendly in this respect).  The fact that PowerPoint or Google Docs presentations could be imported into SlideRocket was just another suitable reason to give it a try.

While I am still in the midst of testing out this software, and have yet to fully explore every aspect of it, I am so far quite impressed. I particularly enjoyed watching Hanna Phan’s “Presume” (presentation resume) and wouldn’t mind trying my hand at making one for myself in the future. I have read a few users’ reviews, which have complained about errors and the inability of SlideRocket to keep up with the demand, but have yet to personally run into issues (though that may still lie ahead). The fact that it requires stable Internet connection and while free, does have upgradeable features that require payment may also be problematic for some users. For the time being, however, I think that SlideRocket could potentially be a tool that I would not only personally use as a teacher, but would also consider introducing to students, due to its interesting designs, free (lite version) accessibility and ease of use (sharing, importing etc.). Whether it will replace the role of my trusty PowerPoint, I will have to wait and see…

5 Presentation Apps to Try. (n.d.). Inc.com. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from http://www.inc.com/scott-steinberg/5-presentation-software-apps.html
Presentation Présumé – Introducing the Présumé – YouTube. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7VwGftNG3g
Re: Identify a piece of presentation software other than PowerPoint or Keynote and identify the feature that makes it more or less useful as a teaching tool.
by R— Monday, 3 December 2012, 09:48 PM

I really like how you to the initiative to discover a new presentation software because technology is constantly being improved upon. As teachers we need to make the initiative to better our instructional strategies and seek out new resources.  Furthermore, I like that you discuss that the software has had some negative reviews but include your personal experience with the software. It is important to keep an open mind when exploring new presentation software!

Re: Identify a piece of presentation software other than PowerPoint or Keynote and identify the feature that makes it more or less useful as a teaching tool.
by S— Monday, 3 December 2012, 11:23 PM

Great Post, Christina!

Thanks for introducing us to SlideRocket; I had never heard of it before.  I think that the more dynamic nature of the presentations is something that students will really enjoy (I know that I also really enjoyed Hanna Phan’s “Presume”).

You raise a good point about accessibility when you mention that it requires a stable internet connection.  While schools and homes generally have stable internet access, the teacher should be prepared to have a backup plan.  This is of course somewhat true with any presentation software, because while you don’t need to be online to work with PowerPoint, they are often shared with students.

Very cool!

Picture of Christina Faerber
Re: Identify a piece of presentation software other than PowerPoint or Keynote and identify the feature that makes it more or less useful as a teaching tool.
by cf- Monday, 3 December 2012, 11:39 PM

Thanks R and S! I have to admit that after completing my first SlideRocket presentation, the online factor did end up being a bit of an issue. I’m not sure if its because I have an outdated computer, not a fast enough connection or a bit of both, but I got a little frustrated after SlideRocket froze my browsers (both Safari and Firefox) a few times. I don’t want to be overly critical, as it might be more my computers’ fault, but it was a tad challenging. The fact that I could also not export the presentation, unless I upgraded, was another significant drawback. While the interesting graphics did make for a fairly decent final product, I would be likely hesitant to use this for a lengthy or content heavy presentation … well, at least until I can upgrade my laptop and give it a more fair try…

On a more positive note, the sharing function is quite nice, especially as it even provides a presentation outline below the slides. Just in case you are interested, this was my end product: https://cfeportfolio.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/257/


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