Digithings week 3 – Prezi

So there was a problem with Prezi crashing as soon as I so much as sneezed near it – fixed by upgrading my web browser. Slightly embarrassing.

Prezi does have a learning curve and, after 2-3 hours, I’m not at the top of it yet, but I’m beginning to see its potential as a story-telling device. I’m not sure if I’d use it for any science material, though for background physics visualisations it might pan out. I’m stuck right now on making imported movies run… anyone figured that out yet?

For collaborative presentations, on the other hand, which is what it says on the packet, I think it’s probably great.. collaboration is generally awesome across continents, but there’s more fun to co-editing a presentation in this visual framework. Plus you can pin audio comments to the file to avoid email-miscommunication. 

I’ll come back to the point of music – all that floating around makes me want a background tune for some reason.

More on Prezi next week… Hopefully I’ll be able to finish my trial presentation within a couple more hours.



Powerpoint – it’s not over yet..

Powerpoint – it’s not over yet..

Above is the link to my current favourite presentation (Sal Khan at TED), and here are a couple of others  (I’m pretty sure that these don’t use ppt, but still..) :



– you have to log in to see the best stuff here, but these online courses worked really well for me, especially the interactive testing.

This one’s a quirky but really, really useful technical resource:

And a final note – in my first Postdoc, in Germany, I was asked to talk about the ‘missing’ carbon sink. With not much experience, I put the talk together as visually as I could – minimal text, lots of small steps of biophysical processes appearing in unspectacular fashion. In polar opposition to my expectations, the managers liked the talk; the scientists didn’t… I was sent a set of ‘these are what Powerpoint slides should look like’ slides… they were very much what Don McMillan described in the ‘market analysis’ comment – a BIIIIG heading, a BIIIIG graph, bullet points… It took me a long time to want to use ppt again!

Digithings Module 2: The power of powerpoint, and other tools…

So, Powerpoint. When I was at Uni the first time around, it didn’t exist. Email barely existed. Now, it’s a codeword with multiple meanings (during the PGCAP I learned that ‘history’ has a particular meaning in the pedagogical world, and here’s an example of it). Right now, I associate Powerpoint with many hours of frustration from trying to produce online content for my swanky ‘flipped classroom’. For example, whilst it’s true that you can add narration to a Powerpoint presentation, it’s not possible to run a movie and animate objects at the same time.

I’ve been using iMovie to combine clips of Powerpoint presentations, screen-capture and a Bamboo tablet to produce my Youtube lessons, but I’m still unhappy with the quality (not to mention the content). My Mac is too old for the current version of Impress, which I believe (from BozemanScience on Youtube if you’re interested) would solve all my problems. Search ‘jilly s matlab’ in Youtube to witness my disastrous third attempts (the first two attempts were deleted, vigorously).

As to the importance of content – it comes back to TIME! Where can I buy some of that?

If anyone else in the DigiThings world has tips on Powerpoint/online content production, I’d be very keen to steal your ideas / exchange information…


Heading into tutorials after a lunchtime discussion in which we all agreed on one particular point:  If we chose to, we could exert ourselves to achieve something important. Apart from being a somewhat depressing reflection on how much time seems to drip away unnoticed, this is hopefully the attitude of our students – still untried, still focussed on achieving very clear goals – get the grades, get the job/opportunity they really want/change the world. If we all thought like that all the time, would it be dangerous..?!