Category Archives: presentation

Loud Prezi


One of the reasons I like Prezi is that it allows learners accessing the presentation to see the “whole thing” and then focus on the area of the presentation they want to review or see again. In many ways you could use Prezi presentations as part of a flipped learning approach in terms of collation of resources and links. Prezi have added a new feature that allows you to add audio to the paths in your presentation.

This is quite easy to use, the only downside I found was that I couldn’t record direct to Prezi, I had to make the recordings separately and then upload to Prezi.

I made a copy of my PSP Prezi and started to add audio to it.

You can see the original non-audio version here.

I think it adds another aspect to Prezi making it much more useful for remote and flipped delivery models.

I would prefer though to do what I can do with Apple’s Keynote and record a “soundtrack” as I present the whole presentation. At the moment I need to record individual tracks over a single flowing audio track. The end result for some parts of the presentation means that you don’t get a nice flowing narration, you get an automated railway station announcement.

e-Learning Stuff – Top Ten Blog Posts of 2012

A somewhat quieter year this year with just over 100 blog posts posted to the blog.

As I did in 2011, 2010 and 2009 here are the top ten blog posts according to views for this year. Interestingly, the VLE is Dead – The Movie blog post which was number one last year and number two for the previous years, does not appear in the top ten , it was the 15th most viewed post.

10. Keynote – iPad App of the Week

The tenth most viewed post was my in-depth review of the Keynote app for the iPad. I wrote this review more for myself, to get a my head around what the app was capable of. Whilst writing the blog post, I was very impressed with the functionality and capability of the app, it was a lot more powerful and flexible than my first impressions of it.

Keynote opening screen

9. ebrary – iPad App of the Week

I spent some time trying out the various mobile ways of accessing our college’s ebook collection which is on the ebrary platform. This was a review of the iPad app, I was both impressed and disappointed. It was much better than using the web browser on the iPad, but was less impressed with the complex authentication process which involved a Facebook connection and a Adobe Digital Edtions ID. Very complicated and as a result less than useful for learners. Though it has to be said once the book was downloaded it did work much better than accessing it through the browser. The only real issue is you have to remember to return the books before they expire!

8. MindGenius – iPad App of the Week

MindGenius is not the best mind mapping app for the iPad, that has to go to iThoughtsHD however if you have MindGenius for the desktop then this app is an ideal companion for starting mind maps on the iPad and finishing them off on the computer.

 7. iBooks Author

In January of 2012, Apple had one of their presentations in which they announced iBooks 2, iBooks Author and an iTunes U app that built on the iTunes U service in iTunes. At the time I wrote three blog posts about those three announcements. All three of those blog posts are in the top ten, the one on iBooks Author was the seventh most popular blog post in 2012. It looked at the new app. I’ve certainly not given it the time I thought I would, maybe I will in 2013.

6. A few of my favourite things…

Over the last few years of owning the iPad, I have downloaded lots of different apps, some of which were free and a fair few that cost hard cash! At a JISC RSC SW TurboTEL event in Taunton I delivered a ten minute presentation on my favourite iPad apps. The sixth most popular blog post of 2012 embedded a copy of that presentation and I also provided a comment on each of the apps.

5. 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip

The fifth most popular post this year was from my ongoing series of ways in which to use a VLE. This particular posting was about embedding a comic strip into the VLE using free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet. It is quite a lengthy post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE. The series itself is quite popular and I am glad to see one of my favourite in the series and one of the more in-depth pieces has made it into the top ten. It was number eight last year and tyhis year was even more popular.

 4. I love you, but you’re boring

This blog post was the first in a series of blog posts looking at Moodle and how the default behaviour of the standard system results in problems for learners and staff.

 3. “Reinventing” Textbooks, I don’t think so!

In January of 2012, Apple had one of their presentations in which they announced iBooks 2, iBooks Author and an iTunes U app that built on the iTunes U service in iTunes. There was a lot of commentary on iBooks and how it would reinvent the textbook. Looking back I think I was right to be a little sceptical on this one. Maybe in a few years time, we will see e-textbooks that change the way in which learners use textbooks.

2. Thinking about iTunes U

The blog post on iTunes U, which followed posts on iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, is the second most viewed blog post this year. I discussed the merits and challenges that using iTunes U would bring to an institution. Back then I wrote, if every learner in your institution has an iPad, then iTunes U is a great way of delivering content to your learners, if every learner doesn’t… well I wouldn’t bother with iTunes U. I still stand by that, I like the concept and execution of iTunes U, but in the diverse device ecosystem most colleges and universities find themselves in, iTunes U wouldn’t be a solution, it would create more challenges than problems it would solve.

1. Every Presentation Ever

Back in January I posted a humourour video about making presentations, this was the most popular blog post of mine in 2012.

It reminds us of all the mistakes we can make when making presentations.

So that was the top ten posts of 2012, which of my posts was your favourite, or made you think differently?


Turn off that mobile

This is the presentation I gave in July at the event, CILIP’s Mobile Technology Executive Briefing.

Is there a role for mobile devices in the modern library? What are the issues, challenges and opportunities of using mobile devices to support learning and resource discovery in the library? From communication, collaboration, storage, notes, books, journals and more, mobile technologies are changing the way in which users can and are using libraries.

Myths of Time

Whilst trying to do something else, I came across these slides from a presentation I delivered at the Post-16 e-Learning Practitioners Conference.

What I attempted to say in this presentation was that when practitioners say they don’t have the time to deal with learning technologies, what they are actually saying is, it’s not a priority for them at that time.

I attempted to show that we in fact use technology all the time to save time, and that using technology is one way that can save time.

I delivered this presentation back in November 2004 and here I am eight years later often explaining the same issues again and again…

Time to change.

Making the move to Speakerdeck

For the past few years when I have needed to share my presentations online I have been using Slideshare.

There were two key reasons for this; firstly it allowed people to view the presentation within a webpage, without needing to download it and open Powerpoint and where appropriate in context. Secondly, I generally use Apple’s Keynote for my presentations. Most people don’t have Keynote (you need a Mac) and because of my style of presentation most of the presentations were too big for downloading, usually in the region of 100-200MB. I liked Slideshare as I could then embed my presentation into my blog and also into other webpages and sometimes the VLE. You can read about my presentation workflow here.

However in April, Slideshare brought in a 10MB limit on uploads for free accounts. Not wanting to spend £19 a month on a service I probably use once a month, I asked on the Twitter and Google+ for solutions.

Doug Belshaw said to save as PDF and use ColorSync Utility (part of Mac OS X) to reduce the file size. This I did and I did managed to reduce my presentation to an 11MB PDF, which alas was still too big for Slideshare. However this was certainly a useful tip for sharing other PDFs by email for example.

Two people on the twitter, @hjames and @sboneham both recommended Speakerdeck to me. So that’s what I did and went and had a look. I actually found I already had an account and had tried it out once, but didn’t use it again. I suspect I tried it, found it didn’t add anything at that time over Slideshare and then didn’t go back!

You upload your presentation as a PDF and the service will convert it into an online presentation that people can click through slide by slide (in a similar manner to Slideshare).

The process was pretty straightforward and in many ways I much prefer the look and feel of Speakerdeck compared to Slideshare.

Speakerdeck works well on iOS devices too, which is useful. As well as sharing by link you can also use an embed code to add your Speakerdeck presentation to a blog, web page or a VLE. As a result I have placed most of my recent presentations on Speakerdeck.

When writing this blog post I wanted to check a few things and have found that Slideshare have relented on their 10MB limit and have raised it to 100MB. So will I go back to Slideshare…. hmm not sure.

Using Learning Technologies

I was recently asked to give a short presentation at the Gloucester Academy on how Gloucestershire College used learning technologies. Though I did cover some of the technologies we are using to enhance and enrich learning, the main theme of the presentation was on how important it was to change the culture within an institution when embedding the use of learning technologies. Without a change in culture it is too easy to miss the potential and opportunities that learning technologies can bring to learning.

Those of you who have seen my other presentations will realise I cannibalised a lot of the content from them in this presentation. I do that now and again, especially when presenting to a fresh audience, I do recycle my material. Well often I am asked to speak about the same issues, so not really that surprising.

The presentation went down well, with the staff in my group mentioning key themes in their feedback to the rest of the staff.

SlideShare moves to HTML5

In an not an unexpected move, SlideShare, the presentation hosting service has moved from Flash to HTML5.

When SlideShare launched it used Flash to create an online slideshow of your presentation slides. It is a service I have been using now for over three years and have found it a useful place to put presentations, but then to also embed them into the blog or the VLE.

However as it was Flash based there were issues when people viewed them on a mobile device such as the iPhone or the iPad. They did fix this for viewing a SlideShare presentation on the SlideShare website and released an API. Last year I reviewed the Slide by Slide app for the iPad and was not impressed. However this wasn’t an official iPad app one that merely used the SlideShare API.

Even though you could view the presentation on the website on the iPad when the SlideShare presentation was embedded into a website, all you got was a blank space.

So it’s interesting to hear that SlideShare are losing the Flash and moving to HTML5.

  • Your slides will display flawlessly on an iPhone, iPad, Android and any other mobile platform. You can send a link to friends and colleagues, and they can view it on the go regardless of what device they are using.
  • Your slides will now load 30% faster. On the web, faster is better.
  • Your slides will be a part of the web. No plugins or downloads are required to view them.

They are certainly convinced that mobile is the way a lot of people will view presentations on the web.


Having posted Steve’s presentation on assessment earlier, I was reminded that I had delivered some training on assessment and diverse forms of assessment a few months back.

This was the presentation I gave at the training.

The key message I wanted to get across to the participants was that just because they had assessed the way they had always done, this didn’t mean that was the only way they could assess learners. Often we assess the way that we do, we do it because we have always done it that way. There are now new tools and technologies that allow us to enhance and enrich assessment. and make it more engaging and effective for learners.

Sometimes we need to think differently, especially if the current methods of assessment are not doing what we need them to do.


An interesting presentation from a keynote by that Steve Wheeler, Assessment in the Digital Age:Fair Measures?

Assessment, which in FE is heavily dictated to by the exam boards is always challenging to change to make “fit for purpose” and I do wonder if we assess because we need to assess rather than actually use it for something useful?

Presentation Workflow

Looking at the applications on my Mac that I use on a regular basis, apart from mail and browsers the one app I probably use the most is Apple’s Keynote. I use it to create presentations for events, conferences and workshops. Having delivered my presentation (or sometimes before) I would upload it to Slideshare. Slideshare is a great site for hosting presentations that can then be embedded into blog posts, web pages or the VLE.

Though you can upload Keynote presentations to Slideshare, due to the nature of the types of presentations I create I have had issues with the conversion process. It works fine with simple presentations, buy my multiple page presentations sometimes have ground to a halt. As a result I now use the following workflow to ensure that my presentation uploads correctly to Slideshare.

I use the same process if I need to share the presentation with others, some conferences and organisations like to have a copy of the presentation on their website. Also when I know I will be presenting at a conference and I won’t be able to use my Mac directly and will have the use the provided Windows PC that is connected to the projector.

The process also works really well with online presentation systems such as Elluminate, Adobe Connect, Instant Presenter, and so on…

Continue reading Presentation Workflow