I have delivered many conference presentations and guest lectures in the past, illness enough to realize that if one can have a slideshow with a twist (not the traditional click through powerpoint) half of the job of capturing the attention of the audience is done (of course, hepatitis this still requires a good presentation concept and good presentation skills). By twist I mean a “something special” translated in a fresh look, easy to use from any computer regardless of the operating system and perhaps dynamic transitions. Of course, availability online and a small cost (preferably free) are also highly desired.
Prezi is among my favorites. Dynamic, simple, fresh, zoom.
It’s easy to use and it’s browser based. It allows photo, text, video and audio integration. It is a good tool for lectures as well as for brainstorming and mindmapping projects as it allows users to, for example, cluster content based on a common theme within the presentation. To be displayed correctly, Prezi needs Flash technology something not always available in campuses equipped with older technology. However, to avoid this Prezi also has a pro version (that means you have purchase an annual license) that comes with a desktop client. In this case you’ll be better off plugging your computer to the projector facilities. (If you’re going for the licensed version you also get pdf export options for example) Prezi also has embed and sharing options, however as things are now Prezi is not able to be displayed on the free WordPress sites. Moreover, it allows one to keep presentations private or to share them and give editing privileges to email assigned contacts which is especially good when working in teams. Just recently they added resources for educators and guides for users – both extremely useful. If you need help, the team is always easy to reach via Twitter or their Facebook page. My most favorite features: the eye-popping transitions and the in-presentation zoom (excellent if you have documents or photos where you want to display a detail). My example: 2010 Trends to influence higher education
Sliderocket is the equivalent of Mac’s Keynote online (thus has a more appealing and more polished design than Powerpoint). Is is an award-winning platform as well as this year’s official presentation provider of the renowned SXSW 2010. Like Prezi, Sliderocket boast with excellent reviews from users and works based on a licensing system that includes a free, reduced-features option available as well. Sliderocket enables among other powerpoint imports (not available with Prezi), and integration of dynamic data (such Twitter or Flickr – Prezi does only YouTube) or webmeetings (I still have to test this) but still doesn’t embed on free WordPress sites. However, it has a download to pdf version which could be then uploaded to Slideshare for example. So Sliderocket could be used for class presentations or e-learning projects. It’s marketplace option makes it particularly interesting to communications (this includes public relations and journalism), media studies and creative industries schools as it could be used as a prop for talks around copyright, intellectual property or creative commons. Sliderocket could be a particularly useful tool for academic conference speakers working with social media data. For help, a live chat option is available directly on the site. My most favorite features: data integration and powerpoint import. My example (from my colleague Jennifer Jones): Olympics 2.0. #Van2010 edition.
IgniteCast for recorded talks. A good resource for elearning as well as for communication/marketing/screenwriting projects, including surveys. It creates interactive videos by using screen captures, HD video or webcam feeds, imported photos or PowerPoint slides. It also allows microphone recording (narration) or background music.
Vuvox is an excellent visual portfolio tool for photographers, photojournalists and convergence students (and more). It uses astonishing backgrounds to support and add to the visual story-telling. It allows the combination of audio with video, text and photos but unlike Prezi or Slideshare, Vuvox is in my view best for multimedia projects to be shown at once (or run as a continuous stream in the background of a talk). For this Vuvox enables embeds, transfers and integration of content from other multimedia sites including Picasa, Flickr, Youtube, RSS or Buzznet (not yet sure what Buzznet is). It also has 3 easy to use versions – express, collage and studio (where what is done in studio can be embedded in the collage versions). It also has cut-out options. My example: Flowers (a slideshow using my Flickr flower photos). For a much better example check Josh Stephenson‘s Cowboy Shooters.
Animoto does videos mainly from images but allows video with photo integration. Like Vuvox it allows the user to choose the background and transitions and it generates the videos automatically. It also allows imports from Flickr, Picasa and iTunes (for background music). The free option which enables the creation of videos of up to 30 seconds in length (for unlimited length video one needs to purchase a license) is especially good for advertising projects in my view. For help and contact, Animoto is on Facebook and Twitter. My example: Belgium.
Scrapblog – visual stories for download or print. While I find it a bit too colorful for university use, Scrapblog does have options that would make it a desirable tool for students in the areas of public relations and event management as it allow them to create calendars, books and cards. It has a wide variety of set templates and a music library, it enables import of data (photos, audio) and manual mix as well as it features a good list of sharing options.
Other similar platforms:
- Masher – video mix (manually mix your own videos and photos or files from their library of video clips from BBC Motion Gallery and Rip Curl). Wide selection of sharing choices. Options for private/public content settings available.
- Joggle – for managing collection of digital photos, music or videos regardless where they are saved. It enables the user to see and arrange everything on one screen without having to click through multiple folders or login to multiple sites.
- Pixorial – for video sharing (it’s more like video + text postcards); has plenty of social sharing options.
- Photopeach – photo slideshows
- Kizoa – photo slideshows