Thursday, 11 February 2010

alternatives to powerpoint?

Can you sit through another powerpoint presentation often with strange colour combinations? Some initial work has been going at the School of Science and Technology, University of Northampton on alternatives to powerpoint. Students were encouraged in certain assignments to consider alternatives to powerpoint.. 

The first was Tiddlywikis (http://www.tiddlywiki.com/) these largely self contained HTML files (they do often use a separate folder to store images) are releatively small but can be used to produce a web-based presentations.

 In two cases Machinima has been used one based around the Halo game and the other using a free package called MovieStorm (ShortFuze) in this case  a powerpoint presentation was embedded within it. Other students have gone down the route of using packages such as Microsoft's MovieMaker or PhotoStory to combine video or still images into a movie form.

Does this make the presentation better though? A personal view is though it does not automatically make the presentation better, I believe most people would find it more fun to do and so put more effort into them which will tend to make the presentations better. As a marking tutor the fact that is a bigger variation is the way the presentations look, makes a comparison of more difficult but at the same time more enjoyable to mark.
What about the lecturer? Of course the lecturer needs to consider if the way we present appropriate as you would for any part of your teaching. There are presentation tools out there that are very different to powerpoint as an example Prezzi.com that personally I think are interesting and worth considering. An example can be found at: http://prezi.com/s3uk0xmhq-hs/
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Further Reading

Turner S(2009) " PowerPoint, but what else?"10th Higher Education Academy-ICS Conference, University of Kent.
Turner S (2008) "TiddlyWikis for Student Developed Resources" 9th Higher Education Academy-ICS Annual Conference, Liverpool Hope University, 26th August - 28th August 2008. pp. 192 ISBN 978-0-9559676-0-3.