We’ve all been in that meeting- when the presenter queues up a PowerPoint where each slide is filled with text that they proceed to read aloud to the audience for half an hour. Don’t be that presenter. Please. There are so many new and awesome tools out there that can create so much more audience engagement- give them a try! And trust that your audience can read for themselves- they want to hear what you have to say.
The first tool I looked at is one that I use all the time- Prezi. I discovered Prezi in college and never looked back! It’s great for a big audience because you can keep all of the content of your powerpoint, but include swooping transitions, zooming in and out of frames, and it’s really customizable. My students use it to make presentations all the time, and rarely have trouble figuring out the mechanics of the program. It’s definitely one of the most user-friendly programs out there.
TesTeach is another option. It’s easy to imbed multi-media content, and because it is web-based, makes a great tool for a flipped classroom or library lesson! There are a bunch of lessons in a variety of content areas posted on the site by other teachers and students, too. As always, make sure you vet the content before you use it in class! Beyond the imbeding features, this tool is pretty similar to PowerPoint. Easy to customize, but I wasn’t blown away by it.
The idea behind Haiku Deck, the third tool I looked at, is minimalism and simplicity. If you are the person whose PowerPoints have paragraphs of text or a jumble of images, this tool might be the one for you. They offer a variety of templates, providing formatting and background images that support the text rather than overwhelming it. My one issue with it is that it is subscription based. You can try it out for a week for free, but then in order to continue using the program, you have to pay $9.99/month. There is a discount for teachers and students, but there are so many free programs out there that unless you really need the help in simplifying and de-cluttering your presentations, it may not be worth the cost.
Finally, I took a look at Emaze. This tool is somewhat similar to Prezi, but it allows users to build a website, blog, or app as well. The presentations take you through a tour- in some cases a museum, in others through a folder of notes or an outdoor scene. I found the fonts somewhat limited, but formatting was relatively simple and the results were aesthetically very pleasing! Check out mine below (and sorry in advance for all the text on the slides- this definitely would NOT be one that I would present at a book talk, but I might send it out to my kids to check out).