Doing other things with PowerPoint

October 17, 2008

There are some other nice things you can do with PowerPoint presentations apart from show them as just presentations, or even view them again.

PowerPoint slides can be easily saved as images as mentioned by Phil in his blog posting on this issue.

Show them on a mobile device, ie a mobile phone, a PSP, an iPod or similar. It should be noted that the iPod touch (and the iPhone) can show PowerPoint presentations natively using the media viewer. Presentations can either me sent via e-mail or moved to the iPod touch using one of the file management applications now available for it.

You could also incorporate the images of the slides into Microsoft Photostory 3 and add narration or even more images.

Phil in his blog posting talking about loading the images ontot a DVD.

I suppose you could even burn them onto a DVD and look at them on your TV via a DVD player: now that’s an exciting night in!

In terms of DVDs, one thing that I have done is to use Apple’s Keynote to import a PowerPoint presentation, and add a voice over and export as a movie. This movie as well as being exported to various mobile devices or embedded onto a webpage and I have taken this movie and burnt it to DVD.

One of the reasons for doing this is that some learners may not have a computer at home or a media capable mobile device, but probably have a (£15) DVD player from Asda or similar.

Today a lot of teaching staff are still using PowerPoint, but there is nothing to stop them or learners viewing those presentations in different ways and on different devices.

What we do is provide the hardware and software so that learners undertake the conversion process themselves. Though we are looking at tools to make the process easier and more transparent.

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Making screencasts on your Mac

June 25, 2008

I have been looking at screencasting software for the Mac.

Screencasting is a way of capturing what you do on the screen as a video file. The more advanced applications allow you to record an audio track on top, whilst others also allow you to annotate and add text to your screencast.

They are a very useful way of explaining how an application works, how a website works, how to do something or explaining a process in an application.

They can also be used with presentation software, such as PowerPoint or Keynote, to create videos of your presentations which can then be converted into video files. These video files can then be converted by learners (or practitioners) into formats which work on mobile devices, or home DVD players, etc…

One of the original applications for this kind of activity is Ambrosia’s Snapz Pro X.

Snapz Pro X allows you to effortlessly record anything on your screen, saving it as a QuickTime movie or screenshot that can be emailed, put up on the web, or passed around however you want.

Snapz Pro X works for me and I do use it quite a bit.

Snapz Pro X

ScreenFlow is pretty good too, but Leopard only.

Making screencasts on your Mac

It looks fantastic and unlike Snapz Pro X the resulting capture can be edited, annotated much more easily.

ScreenFlow is a complete workflow for creating screencasts: powerful enough to capture your desktop, video camera, microphone & computer audio at the same time.

Screenflow

IShowU is suppose to be very good. I did give it a go and seemed pretty easy to use.

Need to show something to someone? iShowU is your answer! iShowU is designed to record anything on your screen, instantly — both audio, and video!

I wasn’t too impressed with the results of capturing video, ScreenFlow and Snapz Pro X seeme better at that. However IShowU does have a range of capture option choices depending on what you want to show the video on.

IShowU

CamTwist can be used too, though the focus here is on web based video chat type video, so not something for high quality video or presentations. However for the web (ie via something like Ustream) it is ideal.

CamTwist is a software package that lets you add special effects to your video chats. It’s also possible to stream your desktop and still images.

CamTwist

One final option is to use screenshots (images) and iMovie. Capture a series of screenshots and then insert into iMovie and edit accordingly – though from experience this takes a lot longer than the above applications.

iMovie

Overall there are many choices in screencasting on the Mac and of course with Parallels you can also now screencast Windows using the same software.

This is how I did the following screencast of Photostory.

Personally I like Snapz Pro X, but I think I might have a good look at ScreenFlow.


PhotoStory 3 for Windows

March 5, 2008

At a recent MoLeNET podasting event, my colleague John Whalley spoke about PhotoStory 3 for Windows.

Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.

You can download the software from Microsoft (follow the link above).

A quick demo of how it works.

Windows Media Version

iPod Version