PowerPoint – so many links, so little time

26 05 2010

From researching a range of presentation technologies and methods I have then narrowed down into looking at Microsoft PowerPoint in more detail. Some recently visited links and resources:

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Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 2010

18 05 2010

Further to Kim from Microsoft’s suggestion, I have joined the PowerPoint community on Facebook. I have just seen a post about Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 2010 now being available for download, so thought I would link to that here as well.





Technologies reliant on PowerPoint?

13 05 2010

In the literature review I have tried to cover as many presentation technologies as possible, as well as examples of best practice in their use. One point that strikes me is that many technologies, such as classroom software, and Adobe Presenter, use PowerPoint. This obviously makes sense, because it is what people are familiar with and what is often most readily available, however it also raises new questions for me e.g.

  • What happens to features in a PowerPoint presentation when it is imported into different technologies?
  • What features of classroom software, such as Desktop and Application sharing, could be used to drag and zoom in on images without the need for PowerPoint e.g. by using whiteboard functionality (but what about image captions?)

In terms of online collaboration software, Wimba Classroom makes sense for institutions that already use Blackboard. However its implementation is about more than just software; it is aligned to hardware, pedagogical needs (and the potential effect on students), advocacy (i.e. ‘why should I use this?’), and rights management; and factors outside an institutes’ control such as students’ Internet connection speed off-campus. This video, one of many on YouTube, highlights an approach to informing staff how to use Wimba:





Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010 beta

13 05 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 beta has been available since last Summer, and will continue to be available until 31st October 2010.

The video on PowerPoint 2010 beta confirms that Microsoft continue to go down the route of animations and visual enhancements for presentations.





Microsoft Office Labs pptPlex

13 05 2010

Something I have only just discovered, which has been a prototype since Autumn 2008! Although please note that in their FAQs they don’t recommend using it for your business because it is unsupported.

Pros

  • Very quick to learn – there are three short videos that can be accessed via the link above.
  • You don’t have to start from scratch, it is probably easier to create your presentation first, then to add the pptPlex ‘ribbon’ as it’s called.
  • The ‘ribbon’ effectively creates a narrative for your presentation that you can choose to represent by using section dividers e.g. a group of images could be linked by an Artist’s name or a place or time, you can then see the whole group together with the heading, but also zoom into each image or slide individually and out again easily.
  • The quality seems to be pretty good, although there was some pixelation for me on a few screenshots.

Cons

  • It is an unsupported prototype.
  • It only works for PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010 in Window XP and above.
  • The software would need to be installed in the venue where you gave a presentation.
  • It doesn’t let you play movies, i.e. it is for static graphics only.
  • Some features, such as the timeline, require Microsoft Visio.




ARTstor’s Public Offline Image Viewer

13 05 2010

This is one piece of presentation software that I have been aware of for a number of years.

Pros

  • Greater variety of image templates than PowerPoint’s slide layouts.
  • Zoomable image templates, only requires user to drag and drop image into the template; supports high quality images.
  • Easy shortcuts to use e.g. pressing ‘0’ fits the image to the frame, and pressing ‘9’ shows it at actual size.
  • Image palette area, similar to a physical slide light box, you can drag and drop images and view them in a large group.
  • Pared down functionality so that it is focused on images.

Cons

  • When presenting at a new venue the ARTstor software would need to be installed prior to giving your presentation (this doesn’t take long but is a technical consideration).
  • The version I downloaded today was 2.6a (BETA), if you subscribe to ARTstor the version is 3.0. Unfortunately the free version has compatability issues e.g. I couldn’t use it in Windows 7 even in compatability mode, although it would let me run a previous presentation.
  • This can’t incorporate moving images.
  • Templates are fixed, so you can’t add text boxes in addition to the template options (or this may be a compatability issue I am having).
  • It is good that it is streamlined, but then what happens if you want additional functionality such as animations or more complex image editing tools




Microsoft PowerPoint

12 05 2010

One of the common themes that has arisen out of my research so far is that even Mac users tend to use PowerPoint (rather than Keynote for example). When I asked why, this is because it is compatible with other systems, what people are used to, and/or because the software is supported by their institution. One approach would be to find faster, more efficient ways, of using PowerPoint for images and moving images; another approach may be to try to add additional functionality to PowerPoint.