Tools for presenting your work
In almost every subject staff are on the hunt for more efficient ways to create information sources – including lectures, tutorials, topic focus points and more. There are some interesting newer options that you may not have tried yet. Here are a few!
Since its inception and dominance of the presentation market in the mid-1980s, PowerPoint has provided an effective but linear approach to creating and sharing research content. Researchers now have the option of creating and sharing their work using more high-end digital presentation tools which navigate more like a website. These new tools such as Prezi, Slides and presentation-sharing platform Slideshare offer greater features and sharing capacity, and many might confess, a welcome change from your standard PowerPoint presentation. Here we will outline a few popular tools on offer and how these can be used to enhance your research.
Note: Before you begin presenting your information, ensure that you understand your audience and you deliver the how, what and why of your research effectively. To assist you, take a look at: Inger Mewburn’s “How to talk about your thesis in 3 minutes”.
Prezi is a web-based presentation program that allows users the freedom to manipulate their own narrative. You can zoom in, pan out and layer information. If used effectively, you can adopt a non-linear approach while easily highlighting key points. Place text, photos, and other media on a big blank screen. Arrange in the order you want to present it and add paths to connect all the pieces. Lets you zoom in and out to put focus on different pieces of the presentation. Could be used as a mindmapping tool. Limited free account for educators.
Why would Prezi be helpful to researchers? First, it’s different and tends to make audiences sit up and take notice. Second, and more importantly, as a non-linear presentation, it can help you to reconceptualise your ideas and think about what you’re trying to say in a new way.
Take a look at this great summary and presentation by Ned Potter from the London School of Economics: “Your ‘how-to’ guide to using Prezi in an academic environment”.
When used well these tools can communicate information effectively. However, if the structure and development of storyline has not been planned properly, it can leave audiences bamboozled.
- Coherence: Prezi gives you the freedom to place objects anywhere. This is great but think carefully and have a planned structure. The cohesion of object placement should happen naturally as a result.
- While the zooming feature is fun, it can give people motion sickness if over-used. Be careful when you use it and try to ensure it has a practical purpose within your presentation besides from being a neat trick.
- Your visual theme: make it consistent in terms of colours, fonts and shapes.
- As an educator or academic, you can upgrade to an Educational Licence for free providing you sign up with an academic email address. This will allow you more storage space and set your Prezis to ‘private’.
Here are some great hints, guides and examples of Prezi usage:
- “The 6 best Prezis of 2013”. Zoom into Prezi!: the Prezi Company blog.
- “7 Outstanding example presentations using Prezi” by Angela Noble.
- “A Presentation on presentations” by Bas Landsbergen.
- ‘How to do “good” presentations for general research’ by Andrew Blyth
- “7 Best practices for making great presentations” by Megan Hamilton.
- Display your presentations on a Virtual whiteboard (apps for iPad and iPhones will allow this) (Prezi)
- Don’t let the medium confuse the message. Make sure you design and structure your presentation to effectively communicate your message.
- Read the helpful tips from the examples provided above before designing your own. A great Prezi show is wonderful – a bad one will may be off putting to your audience.
Also known as the “YouTube for Slideshows”, Slideshare is not so much a presentation content creator or editor but rather a platform for publicising and sharing your research. Launched in 2006 and owned by LinkedIn, Slideshare is a free web-based slide-hosting service, which allows users to upload their work in various forms such as PDF, PowerPoint, Keynotes or Open Document. Slide-decks can be viewed on the website itself and commented upon, rated and shared by viewers.
The purpose of Slideshare is for users to share knowledge online and discover research content in their field. Slide-deck topics range from Arts and Photography, to Business, Social Media and Education.
Office-Mix describes itself as superpowers for powerpoint , and is in fact a free add-in for Powerpoint giving you everything you need to easily create and share interactive online videos. You can embed the completed file into Interact2. Students (or you) can also download the file to play offline. Office Mix also happens to include some powerful features such as voice, video and digital ink; polls and interactive apps; insights and analytics; playback on any device. Not available for IOS!
In addition, Office Mix hosts the content you create in PowerPoint securely in the Microsoft cloud. You don’t need to worry about emailing large files or saving them on different media. All you need to do is publish a mix, set the permissions that determine who gets to view it, and decide how to share it. At a minimum, a unique URL is associated with each mix; sending it to students enables them to watch the mix on the Office Mix website.
Take a look at some of the features of Office Mix in this presentation – it’s pretty useful!
Check out the ‘how-to’ tutorials and take note of the variety of ways to embed the final presentations into your site or learning management system.
Easy to use, integrated with other Google tools. Google Slides makes your ideas shine with a variety of presentation themes, hundreds of fonts, embedded video, animations, and more. All for free. Choose from a wide variety of pitches, portfolios and other pre-made presentations — all designed to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier. With Google Slides, everyone can work together in the same presentation at the same time. You can edit your own slides on any device. It is also possible to share the document with anyone or selected people, edit in real time, and chat or comment with others directly inside any presentation or add a comment which will be notified to them by email as well!
Never hit “save” again as all your changes are automatically saved as you type. You can even use revision history to see old versions of the same presentation, sorted by date and who made the change. Here’s a very long tutorial which covers a lot of useful tips!
Slides Carnival – free templates for Google Slides. If you’re a Google school, this is a no-brainer!
Visual Storytelling – Photos, Text & More
Exposure, Steller, Adobe Spark – These tools provide templates and design options to help you easily create beautifully laid out stories with photos and text. Use these for student presentations, creative writing, photo stories, newsletters and more.
- Exposure is web-based with 3 free stories.
- Stellar is iOS only.
- Adobe Spark is free works on the web and iOS.
- Microsoft Sway – Microsoft’s entry into the digital publishing/viusal storytelling realm. “Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more.” Lots of options, a little bit daunting at first. Start from scratch or import from PowerPoint, Word or PDF. Create on the Web, Windows 10 and iOS. Often used for digital assessments and presentations.
- Upload a PowerPoint presentation to Office Mix or Slideshare
- Explore slides in your research area and comment and/or “like”.
- Have a go at video mashups with Google Slides.
This is really an opportunity to do some hands on work. Perhaps you can share your discoveries with others here and via your participant blog.