What do you think about Google Docs Presentations?

26 10 2012

Google Docs Documents and Google Docs Spreadsheets are tools that I use a lot of the time for collaborative working. There are things that could be improved but as free tools I don’t expect them to be as comprehensive as a paid version of Microsoft Office. Specifically I like:

  • able to have multiple simultaneous editors with clear colour indicators during the editing process
  • ease of access on multiple devices including options for collaborators without a Google account
  • ease of use in terms of the interface and the ability to download in different file formats

So I guess I had high hopes for Google Docs Presentations (I have written about this before here: Google Docs presentations reconsidered).

Normally I do a Prezi presentation, but in this case a PowerPoint was required and because three of us in disparate locations were collaborating I thought it worth trying Google Docs Presentations. These were the issues:

  • I uploaded an existing PowerPoint file – there were formatting issues – some images didn’t import, 1 slide had an animation which no longer worked
  • I didn’t find the user interface as intuitive as Microsoft PowerPoint which slowed me down
  • I didn’t find there were enough advanced features which made me appreciate Microsoft PowerPoint more as I have obviously just become used to certain functions e.g. image formatting features
  • when uploading a YouTube clip a screenshot appeared that you had no choice over and in one case was extremely poor resolution; once downloaded the link to YouTube was lost
  • when I tried to download a Presentation as an editable file and open in PowerPoint it came up with error messages – these error messages repeated several times although in the end I was able to open the file (I tried this both with Presentations started from scratch in Google Docs and ones I had uploaded)

How did we resolve these issues? Well we couldn’t meet up so in the end we used Dropbox to transfer versions of PowerPoint between us – much faster and easier. Finally we also used Dropbox to share the PowerPoint (as it was too large a file size) with the conference organiser.

Please share your experiences of using Google Docs Presentations, maybe there are some secrets to using it properly that I am missing out on? or maybe not?





CCC at the V & A

4 02 2012

Our Create Curate Collaborate! project continued apace with the first trip to the V&A with the students on Wednesday, facilitated by Leanne Manfredi of the V&A. A day’s exploration into Creative Writing at the V&A, designed and presented by Jac Cattaneo and Curtis Tappenden, was the primary focus for the 21 students, from Northbrook College and University for the Creative Arts.

As part of the programme for the day I was invited to do a session on Prezi. This was in four parts, and I share it here in case it is useful for anyone else to use/re-use/adapt/amend. Feedback is definitely welcomed!

Part 1. Verbal introduction
I introduced myself and explained what we were going to do and how long it would take (45 minutes). To enable us to evaluate the project the students were also asked to complete brief paper (1 side of A4) questionnaires. This had already been mentioned as part of the project consent forms they signed before undertaking the trip. Chocolate as an afternoon ‘sweetener’ too!

Part 2. An analogue introduction to the concept of Prezi

You will need (per two students): one sheet of A3 plain paper, three different colour felt-tip pens, a block of post-it notes, some printed out images from the V&A Collections website

The explanation: the sheet of paper represents the Prezi canvas; online this is almost infinite (the paper is limited as one student wrote down); the post-it notes represent the text boxes that you can have in Prezi (click anywhere to add a piece of text then move this around like a post-it note); the images from the V&A were designed to show how Prezi could be used following our visit to the V&A; the felt-tip pens were for writing on the post-it notes (although the students naturally drew arrows as well which demonstrates another Prezi feature too!).

The brief: students were asked to work in pairs with the materials, the object was to define relationships and links between the images (V&A museum objects) based on their own feelings and expressed with phrases of creative writing on the post-it notes. One student was happy to talk about her analogue Prezi to the others and communicated her ideas really clearly to the rest of the group.

Part 3. YouTube demo

I let the following screencast (which I had prepared earlier) play, and described verbally what was happening.

Part 4. Demo of example Prezi

The students were shown the ‘interactive poster’ Prezi that we had created for the University of Brighton Pedagogy conference. They particularly liked the zoom into the Moon Stone jar on the V&A map. This then led into any questions. I gave a one-side-of-A4 handout for their reference: download Prezi handout (PDF).

Follow-up

Jac and Curtis will now support the students getting signed up with Prezi EDU Enjoy user accounts (a few are already signed up), and then I will visit each group of students for another Prezi session.





Escapades with Captivate and YouTube

14 11 2011

Maybe ‘escapades’ is the wrong word, although it was certainly a new departure for me. Having created a screencast using Adobe Captivate, and previously set-up a YouTube account, I was then able to automatically publish to YouTube. The result is embedded below:

Unfortunately the process could only be recorded once as I only had one spare educational email address. I would have liked the screencast to be smoother, but hopefully it still gives an idea of the steps. Also the quality of the YouTube video is not very good (I didn’t see an option to choose the quality so this might just be what YouTube can handle?). At least some lessons learned anyway!





YouTube PowerPoint plug-in

24 11 2010

A short post about one of the many PowerPoint plugins available. This YouTube PowerPoint plug-in worked fine on my laptop, but wasn’t so great on a Mac in a different venue (I was expecting a PC and time to test my presentation) it didn’t work out and there was no YouTube clip as a consequence! However in theory it is very simple to use.

Link