November 2, 2012, 11:01 am
As I’ve written about before on ProfHacker, I am striving to go paperless at conferences and in the classroom. Aside from saving paper, I simply prefer carrying less with me wherever I go. An iPad or other tablet makes this increasingly possible, but there’s one use for the iPad at conferences and in the classroom that I’ve consistently been disappointed by: running presentations from the iPad.
It’s a breeze to hook up the iPad to a projector with a VGA or HDMI connector, and I love the way the iPad 2 and newer mirrors itself on an external screen. But I always run into the same problems trying to show a PowerPoint deck from the iPad (I work primarily on a Windows PC, so Keynote isn’t an appealing option, especially with a $9.99 price tag).
The first problem is inconsistent formatting of imported slideshows when I use Office suite-type apps like Office2 HD. I can work around…
April 19, 2011, 3:00 pm
A measure of how bad presentations in academia can be is the sheer number of tips and strategies we’ve suggested on ProfHacker, in a recurring series called Challenging the Presentation Paradigm. One of these techniques I’ve used in my classes for several years is the Pecha Kucha format. With 20 slides at 20 seconds per slide, a Pecha Kucha is, as Jason writes, necessarily “SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE.”
However, as I’ve found out the hard way, a Pecha Kucha format does not necessarily mean students will avoid text-heavy slides, one of the major causes of DBP (Death By PowerPoint). That’s why I’ve begun implementing what I call the 1/1/5 rule for all student presentations. Here’s how I describe the 1/1/5 rule to my students:
In addition to the time constraint of the Pecha Kucha, your presentation must also follow the 1/1/5 rule. That is, you must have at least one image per slide,…
April 12, 2011, 8:00 am
Whenever you are creating content for mass consumption (be it students, co-workers, or the Web), you should consider the accessibility of what you are creating. For example, if your content has audio, have you created a transcript or captions so that deaf people can access it? If your content has important visual information, have you formatted this information in a way that is compatible with the assistive technology used by people who are blind or have low vision?
Microsoft Office files are the predominant document types handled by individuals in both academia and the corporate world. Files with .doc/docx, .ppt/pptx, and .xls/xlsx are a proprietary format, so how can you guarantee the accessibility of these files when sharing with others? As it turns out, the newest versions of Office are accessibility-friendly, allowing you to create accessible content. Furthermore, these versions …
March 24, 2011, 3:00 pm
Many of us at ProfHacker use GoogleDocs to collaborate with others on shared documents in our web browsers or to create and edit documents from our mobile devices.
After using GoogleDocs, however, working in Microsoft Office feels awkward and not very social, especially when you need to collaborate with others in real time. That’s where a new piece of software from Google comes into play. Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office allows you to get all of the benefits of Google Docs from within Microsoft Office. It appears to be quite similar to the OffiSync plugin that Mark wrote about back in December, but it’s completely free.
This plugin (currently Windows-only) allows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 users to edit GoogleDocs documents in the cloud from within Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. The plugin allows you to share, backup, and edit simultaneously with others who are also us…
March 23, 2011, 8:00 am
Many people have developed a quasi-instinctive shudder at the mention of PowerPoint. It only takes a few badly designed slide decks, read more or less verbatim, and in a droning, flat tone, to put you off the format forever. Students’ relationship with PowerPoint is more ambivalent: some students love badly-designed, text-heavy slides, because, when the professor makes them available, they don’t have to take notes! Other students rely on PowerPoint’s ease-of-use as a crutch to get through presentations. For every student who appreciates having something to look at besides the instructor, there’s another who’s grateful to be able to sit back and passively absorb information–or nap. As is so often the case, however, the problem isn’t necessarily the tool, it’s how you use it.
With that in mind, Microsoft’s Doug Thomas offers some strategies for using PowerPoint more effectively…