Nice selection of animated “how to” guides

October 1, 2007

Russell Stannard has posted a range of online animated guides that demonstrate various ways in which you can incorporate learning technologies into teaching.

These videos were created for teachers to help them to incorporate technology into their teaching. My own background is in teaching English, so some of the sites are specific to ELT and are grouped separately. The rest are for all teachers and there is also a section for those interested in more difficult multimedia products like Flash and Director.

The cover how to use iTunes, PowerPoint tips, creating blogs and many other things.

He has used Camtasia to produce the video guides. Personally I am a fan of Captivate which does a similar job, for those looking for a free tool, Wink is certainly one option which does work quite well.

Well worth a look.

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Presentation, not Presently

September 21, 2007

Following my post about Presently, the official Google Blog has announced that they are releasing presentation software and are going to call it Presentation.

In April we announced that we were working to bring presentations to Google Docs. (Astute readers may recall learning about this even earlier, which caused a bit of excitement around here.) And today we’re unveiling the new Google Docs presentations feature and invite you to try it at documents.google.com. Maybe more than any other type of document, presentations are created to be shared. But assembling slide decks by emailing them around is as frustrating as it is time-consuming. The new presentations feature of Google Docs helps you to easily organize, share, present, and collaborate on presentations, using only a web browser.

This will provide a real solution to delivering online presentations and also enable learners to access PowerPoint presentations via the web (say delivered from a VLE). Not every learner will have Microsoft Office installed and though PowerPoint Viewer is an option for some, it is not an option for all.

Regardless of whether you think PowerPoint is not an useful e-learning tool (death by PowerPoint anyone) or is, it is used on a regular basis by a lot of practitioners across the world.

I think despite the dominance of Microsoft Office there is room for a web based presentation application and I am hoping that Presentation will fit the bill.

Thanks Seb


Are you Presently?

September 15, 2007

Google Docs and Spreadsheets are proving very popular in the e-learning community, though one obvious application is “missing”, and that is presentation software (a PowerPoint replacement).

Mashable is reporting that Google is about to launch their web based presentation software, Presently.

Google’s PowerPoint killer looks to be on the horizon. Called Presently, the presentation-creation tool will offer a web-based solution for users.

This will provide a real solution to delivering online presentations and also enable learners to access PowerPoint presentations via the web (say delivered from a VLE). Not every learner will have Microsoft Office installed and though PowerPoint Viewer is an option for some, it is not an option for all.

Regardless of whether you think PowerPoint is not an useful e-learning tool (death by PowerPoint anyone) or is, it is used on a regular basis by a lot of practitioners across the world.

I think despite the dominance of Microsoft Office there is room for a web based presentation application and I am hoping that Presently will fit the bill.


Adding and embedding audio into PowerPoint

August 29, 2007

In a recent post I mentioned about embedding audio into a PowerPoint presentation which you wanted to share or distribute (say on a VLE).

This is proving to be quite a popular post, but I did think that some people may be looking at it on how to add audio to a presentation in the first place.

You can add audio clips to a presentation or record audio for use in the presentation. You can even play a track from a CD, though you will not be able to embed a CD audio track.

To add audio to a PowerPoint presentation (this is using PowerPoint 2003) from the menu.

Insert > Movies and Sounds > Sound from File…

Adding and embedding audio into PowerPoint

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Embedding audio into PowerPoint presentations

August 22, 2007

If you have created a PowerPoint presentation and added some audio files, say an audio track or a recording from the British Library Archival Sound Recordings collection you may find when you upload the presentation to a website or your VLE that the audio files are now “missing”.

This is because PowerPoint has an option that for files bigger than a certain size it will link to them rather than embed them. This is fine if you play the presentation from your laptop or computer, but rather annoying for a learner who has downloaded the presentation from the VLE and is attempting to play the presentation at home.

In PowerPoint 2003

Tools > Options > General Tab

Embed files screenshot

Link sounds with file size greater than <insert a number which is larger than the size of the audio files being used>

I tested this on our Moodle VLE and it worked a treat. I would guess that later and earlier versions of PowerPoint have a similar option.


Creating Accessible Presentations

August 7, 2007

TechDis have published the third of their accessibility essentials guides. This third guide can tell you all you need to know about creating accessible presentations in PowerPoint.

As multimedia presentations are increasingly favoured as a means of delivering lectures, the importance of making them accessible to all learners becomes crucial. Software such as PowerPoint can present barriers to some learners, but it can also support others, and this Guide to Creating Accessible Presentations can show you how.

It has four sections:

  • Using Microsoft PowerPoint Accessibly within Teaching and Learning
  • Implementing Inclusive Practice
  • Delivering Presentations Inclusively
  • Good Practice in Providing Alternative Outputs to Support Accessibility

The guide also looks at the importance of making PowerPoint components accessible for others to re-use.

Check out the guide.