Jul 142010
 
View the presentation from the session here:
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Avoid:
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Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint, and How To Avoid Them:
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Avoid PowerPointLessNess in your Classroom:
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Do:
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Tips for Effective Presentations:
  • Stay Consistent:
    • Each slide has the same look and feel
    • If transitions are used, use the same throughout
    • Only deviate to make a point of emphasis
  • Keep it Simple:
    • Use a single, easy to read font.
    • Never let the font size auto adjust to a smaller size
    • Use dark backgrounds with bright text
  • Follow the 6×6 Rule:
    • Only 6 bullets per page
    • Only 6 words per line
    • Never more than 6 images/slide
  • Space and the number of slides are unlimited, so don’t crowd the slides!
  • DON’T CLUTTER THE MESSAGE!
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Alternatives:
I’ve written about Animoto before, but let’s take a closer look…
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Animoto videos/presentations are created in 3 easy steps:
  1. Upload pictures, add text, and arrange them in the order you want.
  2. Pick your music – upload your own or choose from their many options.
  3. Select your animation theme, and let the site do the rest.
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All of the hard part – putting in the motion, transitions, music and effects, are done automagically by the site. Don’t like the results? You can remix it as many times as needed. You can also go back and edit the project to add to it or correct mistakes once it’s produced.
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Here’s an example that I created in about 10 minutes – National and State Parks in Maui
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  • Prezi is a whole new approach to presentations
  • Size and scale are used to show??heircachy, not slides and bullets
  • You work in a presentation ‘space’??and create the flow of the presentation with simple and intuitive tools.
  • The trick is to??start to think??in multiple??dimensions!
  • Great Prezi example -??Mixing Mind and Metaphor
  • Make sure you??sign up for the “Edu Enjoy” account, which is the $59/year account that is free for educators (Thanks, Prezi!)??
  • Prezi is a little different than any other presentation method you may have seen before. Take the time to??learn how to use it to it’s full potential.
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Google Presentations:
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Google Docs in Plain English:
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  • The only thing that is Light Years ahead of anyone else here is the Collaboration.
  • 10 people can edit a presentation at the same time. However, you can share a presentation with up to 200 people!
  • The Good News???You probably already have it!
  • Teachers in the SEDC region??have Gmail-based Email, and??have email along with:
    • Presentations with Docs, Spreadsheets, and Forms
    • Calendars
    • Sites
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In the classroom….
  • Teachers can set up presentation ‘templates’ where each student (or small group) is in charge of one or many slides.
  • Students become the CONTENT EXPERTS for that topic during slide(s) creation
  • The process takes what would have been multiple files on multiple topics, and transforms it to ONE DOCUMENT.
  • Student Content Experts then teach their concept to the rest of the class
  • We have done collaborative projects with:
    • Rock Identification
    • Math Story Problems
    • Writing Across The Curriculum
  • View examples on the SEDC Site
Nov 132009
 

I have been meaning to write a post about Animoto for a long time. Animoto, in their words, “automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and shockingly easy.” I’d seen it out there on the Interwebs, and had even watched a few finished videos, but today was the first day in a while that I’ve had a chance to give it a try for myself. I give it 4.5 out of 5 Apples (the ease of use and elegance scale). 

It took about 10 minutes to go from heading to Animoto to receiving an email that my video was ready for consumption. I had to take a few minutes off of the actual time since I didn’t have the images ready to go (nor did I really know what photos I’d use), but creating a free 30-second video was about as easy as it gets. 

I uploaded 15 pictures quickly and easily (thankfully all at once and not one-at-a-time like many other photo uploading procedures), into their project organizer. With this, you can set the sequence of the images, add text titles and subtitles and other functions like rotating pictures, shuffle the order, and “spotlight” an image. You can use your own photos, choose from their stock images, or get images from another site if you use Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug, Picasa & Photobucket.

The next step is adding music. The site guides you through the process very well with BIG tabs on the left to show you the order of production. You can select music that they have, or upload your own. They do have quite a good selection of different genres of music with enough options to satisfy most tastes and moods, but not so many choices as to overwhelm. Since I was showing a lot of scenery, I went with a nice classical piece from Mozart.

The next step is the easiest of all… When you tell Animoto to produce your video the robots, or Oompa-Loompas, or the dancing brooms from Fantasia look at your photos, text and music and create a totally unique movie from what you give it. They claim that each one is different – I obviously can’t confirm that, but the product is quite engaging and fun. They email you a link to your video that you can then share with your friends, or send to your teacher to put the rest of the class to shame (unless they TOO used Animoto).

A free account will allow you to make 30 second videos. You can purchase a “credit” for 3$ to make a single full-length video, or you can purchase a one-year “All You Can Eat” account for $30. Animoto does allow you to apply for a free pro account for “a cause”. I have applied for one for educational purposes… I’ll let you all know if education is a good enough cause or not.

Oh, and the even have an app for the iPhone & iPod Touch

All in all, it’s a great, easy and free alternative to the tired PowerPoint presentation. 30 seconds is a little short to effectively get a point across (but that might be a good limitation for some student and teacher projects), and $3/$30 is just too much for access for even one classroom full of kids. The Great-Easy-Free trifecta is one that I am constantly looking for to share with my teachers. Animoto comes very close to that hallowed ground.

Update on March 4, 2010: Since I wrote this, I found a few more intriguing alternatives to PowerPoint: Prezi & 280 Slides. Check them out!