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…
I know a lot of people like and use Prezi, though I created an account back in 2009 or thereabouts, I have not yet managed to create even a single presentation until now.
I am delivering some training this week and wanted to include Prezi, so I thought I ought to create at least one presentation. Having planned the presentation on “paper” well using a Word Processor, I then created the presentation using Prezi.
It was quite simple to create, though I would recommend going through the tutorial. Designing the presentation takes a little more thought than the standard slides you find in Powerpoint or Keynote. But you can add images and video quite easily.
I am still a little unsure of the real benefits of Prezi, in some ways it reminds me of Powerpoint with vomit-inducing transitions. Though I do like the fact that it is possible to see the whole presentation on the screen at once and go to where you want to go in a non-linear fashion. In many ways I think Prezi works better allowing individuals to explore the presentation at their own pace, over showing the presentation to a large group. Of course if you show it first and then allow exploration later, it does work better than Powerpoint in that way.
One thing that I have been doing for years is using Keynote on the Mac to create videos of presentations that I have given. What I do is use Keynote to present, and record that presentation. Keynote then allows me to export my presentation (complete with transitions, animations and videos) with my recorded narration as a complete video file. I can then take this video and export it for any other device that I need to use it on.
I did this initially at the first JISC Online Conference back in 2006, I have since then used it with various presentations, such as this presentation at the MIMAS Mobile Learning Event.
I haven’t really promoted this process in the college as it really does require that you use a Mac and use Keynote. As with most FE Colleges we use in our classrooms, Windows PCs and Microsoft PowerPoint.
Though I have found and see many applications which convert PowerPoint presentations into Flash animations, they were difficult to use with a live presentation, you needed to record individual audio files for each slide, or time each slide accurately to a recorded narration for the whole presentation. It was a bit of a challenge and not really a practical proposition for a typical classroom teacher.
So though Keynote could do it, I hadn’t really seen a possibility that could work until Ron Mitchell made a comment at a MoLeNET meeting about doing all the above using Screenr.
Once on the web, you can either share the URL, put it in an e-mail for example, or on Twitter.
You can embed the video into a webpage on a website or on a VLE. This is in the Flash format. What about if you have a smartphone or an iPhone, well Screenr ensures that the video is available in an MP4 format which will play on the iPhone, other smartphones and internet capable video devices.
Screenr also allows you to share your video on YouTube.
Finally one useful aspect is that you can download the video as an MP4 file. This can then be embedded into a PowerPoint presentation. You can also import this video file into iMovie and edit it, add titles, other video, to create a new video. If you have the appropriate MP4 codec on your Windows PC you can import it into Windows Movie Maker and do something similar.
So what you would do is as follows:
Start Screenr capturing your screen (full size screen).
Start your PowerPoint presentation.
Deliver your presentation.
Screenr will then take the video of the presentation, combine it with a recording of the presentation and convert it into a video file, before posting it on the web.
You can then do as I said above, embed it in the VLE, share the URL via e-mail, allow learners to see it on an iPhone, or download the video in MP4 format to do other stuff with it.
One note though is that the service works basically with a Twitter account. You don’t need to use the Twitter account, but just thought I would point it out. For an alternative look at ScreenToaster which doesn’t require Twitter and has a 20MB limit (as opposed to a time limit).
Five minute limit
Yes there is one big problem with Screenr and that is the five minute limit!
The only real solution (apart from using other tools) would be to create lots of five minute presentations instead.
What I like about Screenr over other similar tools (like Jing) is that it doesn’t require you to download an application or install anything. Go to the website, click create screencast and then everything is simple after that. That means it is practical to use it in a classroom situation to record a presentation, as you don’t need to install an application on every computer in every classroom. One note though, if you want decent audio, then you may want to consider how you will capture that audio in the classroom.
I recently discussed screencasting on an e-Learning Stuff podcast.
Slide by Slide – iPad App of the Week (not really)
Slide By Slide powered by the SlideShare API allows the user to:
1. Conveniently search for presentations from http://www.slideshare.net
2. Enjoy the presentation ad-free and distraction-free while in landscape mode
3. Also see the description along with the presentation when in portrait mode
4. Keep a history of slideshows visited
5. Easily share presentations using facebook, twitter, or email
6. Change background color while going through a presentation in landscape mode for viewing pleasure
Okay this is not so much an iPad App of the week, more why does this App actually exist?
Slideshare is a web service that allows you to upload and share a presentation.
I don’t use it that much as my presentations without the actual “presentation” don’t make much sense as the speaking gives the slides (mainly pictures and the odd word) the context.
Slideshare use Flash as the technology behind their service which means it is easy to embed into blogs like this one, or a VLE.
Of course the downside of Flash is that it doesn’t work on the iPad (or is that the downside of the iPad is that Flash doesn’t work on it).
However Slideshare have enabled their technology now to work on the iPad and have released an API to allow others to create Apps to make use of this.
Slide to Slide is one of those Apps. You can search Slideshare and it allows you to then view the presentation.
Advancing slide by slide.
In portrait mode it also shows the notes.
It also stores a history of what presentations you have viewed.
Well most of that is also available from the Slideshare site direct, with the advantage that you can click URLs you have been sent in an e-mail or on Twitter. The interface is virtually the same you wouldn’t at a quick glance realise that you were on the web and not in an App.
This is the Slide by Slide interface.
This is the web interface.
Can you tell the difference?
I actually can’t see the benefit of the App, yes it has your history and notes, but you can’t log in and see your favourites, you can’t follow people and the adverts seem more intrusive than those on the iPad web interface.
For me, an App has to make it easier to view web content, make it easier to engage with and share web content, make it easier to use web content. Apps such as Osfoora HD do this for services like Twitter in that they add functionality and are better than interacting with the web.
Slide to Slide doesn’t.
It’s free so you aren’t wasting money, maybe version 2 will be better, let’s hope so.
At a Becta LSIS Learning Innovation, Embracing Technology Conference at the NEC last year I had a twelve minute slot for a presentation on how the future of learning is mobile.
I did use slides.
Now the accepted model for powerpoint presentations is 2-5 minutes per slide, so if I was presenting according to the accepted model I would have had no more than six slides.
So how many slides did you have?
I used ninety six slides.
Did you really?
Yes I did.
I remember been asked to send a copy of my presentation to the organisers, which I had to do via a version uploaded to the web as it was too big for e-mail. I then got a “worried” e-mail reminding me that I only had twelve minutes and that I might have too many slides. I did in fact cut a few slides, I think initially it was over a hundred… so cutting to ninety six was quite tough!
Even at the event, I was taken to one side and reminded how important it was to stick to the timeslot I had been given.
Then it was time….
I use to have quite light slides when I started doing conference presentations, but was noted by someone else that my slides a few years ago were getting more text heavy… and it was true! I had more and more text on my slides.
So I decided to stop how I wrote my presentation slides and think again about how and what I present.
Most times text is on slides as a crutch to the presenter who may not know their stuff, or certainly doesn’t have the confidence to present without the security blanket of lots of text.
I decided that if I was using words I would use phrases or key words. Where possible I would use images.
So where do you get the images?
Most times they are images I have taken myself or had taken for me. But for a lot of images I use creative commons licensed images from Flickr. There is a wealth of images available on Flickr and they can be used to convey lots of different things. If I can’t find the image I want, I have been known to get the camera and go and take the image. I also upload my images to Flickr, not just so others can use them, but if I am out and about and I want to use one of my images I needn’t worry about having it on my computer as it may be on my Flickr account.
Images are very powerful and can convey and support what I am saying
But what about the text?
Presentations are not about text they are about presentations.
Word documents are about text, so write a Word document or a blog post.
I try to use a small number of words and where possible avoid bullet points.
I have seen too many presentations that consist of bullet points with lots of explanatory text, often too small to read!
But when I post my presentation online…
Come on, really who is the presentation for, the audience in the conference room or the online audience.
Remember that the core audience for a presentation is the live audience in the conference room. It is not the remote audience who will only read your presentation and won’t get the full benefit of your actual talk and any questions afterwards.
If it is necessary to offer a more detailed presentation online. then video or film the presentation. Or how about creating one text heavy presentation for the online audience who won’t hear you and one for the live audience who will.
Anyone who puts loads of text onto a slide so that it makes sense to someone who reads it online (notice the use of the word reads) then they might as well not present their work and just print it out and let us read it.
Presentations that are watched are different to documents that are read.
Use the right tool for the right audience and the right location.
I can’t take all the credit for how I create my slides for my presentations, one of the articles I read gave me a real insight into making a good looking presentation. The article talks about the different presentation styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and reading it, it makes a lot of sense to me.
So what of the rules about 2-5 minutes per slide?
If you know the rules, you can break the rules.
So how did I do?
Yup, I delivered all ninety six slides in twelve minutes. Got lots of positive feedback as well. The feedback was on the content of the presentation and what I said, and not on the presentation slides themselves.
I have liked Slideshare as a place to put my presentations and store them online and show them online.
One problem was that they used Flash which of course did not work on mobile devices such as the iPod touch or the iPhone.
Today Slideshare announced a mobile version of their website.
We’re quite excited to announce the new SlideShare Mobile website today. Visit http://m.slideshare.com on your mobile phone and you can view any presentation, search through presentations, login to save favorites and even download to your mobile phone!
Impress that client you bump into somewhere by running a quick pitch off your phone! Or review the latest conference presentations you missed while travelling!
As a result it is now easier to put presentations on mobile devices.
Today I have been at a JISC workshop on repurposing resources at which I gave a ten minute presentation on the institutional perspective on repurposing resources.
This gave me an opportunity to share my presentation with others.
Now I know I could just upload my PowerPoint presentation, but that means people need to download and open it. Problems arise as I used Apple’s Keynote presentation software and not everyone has that. Yes I can export to PowerPoint, but that is not always perfect, more so if you use some of the more advanced features of Keynote.
This works quite well, though some institutions ban YouTube so less useful there then.
I also used Slideshare and uploaded my presentation there as well, though I had to export as PowerPoint first.
On both presentations there is (virtually) no audio, which to be honest the presentation does need. I think I prefer the YouTube version as it captures the transitions from Keynote which Slideshare doesn’t.
If you are creating a presentation then generally most people use PowerPoint. Personally I now create virtually all my presentations using Apple’s Keynote. One of the many reasons I like Keynote is the way it handles images, audio and video compared to PowerPoint.
One of the features of Keynote that I have always liked is the ability to save a presentation as a movie file. As once a movie file it can be converted in many different ways. For a JISC online conference I did this and then converted into multiple mobile formats. Of course once a movie file you could upload your presentation to YouTube.
In version 4.0 of Keynote (part of iWork ’08) you can now send your presentation direct to YouTube.
This avoids the need to export the file and then upload to YouTube, you can upload direct to YouTube quickly and easily.
I’ve not yet tried it, but I can see after attending a conference I could upload my presentation and then embed it into my blog or the organisers could embed into their website. It also avoids the problems that you can have with Keynote files as not everyone has Keynote and even if you export as PowerPoint, not everyone has PowerPoint.
Following my post about Presently, the official Google Blog has announced that they are releasing presentation software and are going to call it Presentation.
In April we announced that we were working to bring presentations to Google Docs. (Astute readers may recall learning about this even earlier, which caused a bit of excitement around here.) And today we’re unveiling the new Google Docs presentations feature and invite you to try it at documents.google.com. Maybe more than any other type of document, presentations are created to be shared. But assembling slide decks by emailing them around is as frustrating as it is time-consuming. The new presentations feature of Google Docs helps you to easily organize, share, present, and collaborate on presentations, using only a web browser.
This will provide a real solution to delivering online presentations and also enable learners to access PowerPoint presentations via the web (say delivered from a VLE). Not every learner will have Microsoft Office installed and though PowerPoint Viewer is an option for some, it is not an option for all.
Regardless of whether you think PowerPoint is not an useful e-learning tool (death by PowerPoint anyone) or is, it is used on a regular basis by a lot of practitioners across the world.
I think despite the dominance of Microsoft Office there is room for a web based presentation application and I am hoping that Presentation will fit the bill.