3 Awesome Presentation Tools

PowerPoint and Keynote are not the only options for creating awesome presentations. There are some great tools out there waiting to be discovered. Three of them particularly caught our attention:

  1. Explain Everything is an app that allows you to do a presentation, write on it as you go and record your voice in sync with the slides. This video should convince you:

  2. Google Presentations works as part of Google Docs (now Google Drive); and as such you can create presentations online either by yourself or as a shared activity. You can easily import from PowerPoint and share your presentation to your class or audience via a simple link. Even better, it is completely device interoperable. Wonderful.
  3. Haiku Deck is a free iPad app that ensures you get more creative with your presentations. It focuses on the story rather than just adding text content to slides. It helps you use fewer words and combines these with images from the bank in Haiku Deck itself or from your own collection.

"So all we need to do is build an app and share it?"

Four children sitting around a table, interacting with an iPad

One of the challenges I have found in supporting e-learning projects is to figure out how to get them to complete and at the same time how to get the best shareable benefits for future e-learning activities. Projects done for the former Framework or the current VET E-learning Strategy are required to return and share their outcomes. This is so that other training providers can benefit from their findings and/or content and to save the wheel from continually being reinvented.

At the end of the recent induction morning for the E-learning for Participation and Skills funding, one of the participants comes to me with a question. He is a techie and good at his job and his question is “So all we need to do is build an app and share it?” He wants to make sure he meets all the project outcomes requirements. I said yes, but I now realise this answer needs qualification.

Sometimes apps get built that are organisation specific, in that they are integrated to the organisation’s student management system or LMS. When it comes to the end of the project the shareable app may exist but only in a form that integrates only with their system. They can make the code available but it has to be reworked and as such may not be all that helpful to other organisations. They may as well start again. (This is a similar issue to LMS outputs in a packaged form that can be shared vs. in the form of a whole course, as a sophisticated design does not easily package.)

For mobile projects it brings up the issue of designing for mobile: should organisations create an organisational-based app on which all their other apps are custom built, providing easy access and functionality, or should they customise generic apps that anyone can use and that do not reference any database or LMS of the original creator?

On one hand, the latter is better in terms of shareable project outcomes. On the other hand, the former is better for model development outcomes where the benefit is the story of how they went about embedding the new e-learning development activity. I am not saying either is better – in the past I think we have gotten too caught up in sharing content which leads to some of the shareability problems – when in fact the best outcome is the sharing of the development model in the context of their organisation. What matters is that projects need a clear goal at the start as to what they are offering and delivering.

Delivering both shareable content and learnings is rare. Usually project teams, often new to e-learning or fixed in old ways of thinking, can only deliver either a poorly developed learning resource or a model report. The best win-win for project outcomes is when a team delivers a learning resource (ie. a packaged learning object or generic app) that is highly shareable (rather than just technically shareable) and facillates sharing of the organisational model developed in the process.

Photo: NASA Visualization Explorer (iPad app), by NASA Goddard Photo and Video on flickr.

M-learning Standards Update

A computer and an iPad on a desk

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

With the proliferation of mobiles, tablet devices and e-readers, teachers and training organisations delivering e-learning have a myriad of delivery possibilities.

In addition, the emerging phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in training and education is adding a layer of complexity to how learning can be achieved.

VET M-learning Standards assist e-learning practitioners to keep ahead of current m-learning developments. The revised and updated standards can now be downloaded from the New Generation Technologies for Learning website, together with a practical guide for teachers.

Funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy, and based upon research commenced in 2006 and reviews undertaken in 2008, 2010 and now 2012, the revised documents include:

  • recommendations on technical standards to support the creation, storage, discovery, delivery and usage of mobile enabled content;
  • findings and recommendations on m-learning good practices in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector – from educational, technical and standards perspectives;
  • information about new ways of utilising m-learning in VET,¬†identified in the 2010 and 2011 Emerging Technology Trials; and
  • advice for teachers, trainers and content developers seeking to create, select or use mobile learning content and technology for teaching and training, with consideration to the educational purposes it may support.

Mobile learning can be defined as learning that is facilitated and enhanced by the use of digital mobile devices that can be carried and used anywhere and anytime, such as mobile phones and tablet devices. Challenges specific to m-learning are related to the use of devices with reduced screen sizes, lack of standard input devices (such as a mouse and keyboard) and reduced computing power.

For more information, please visit the New Generation Technologies for Learning website and follow VET_Estandards on Twitter to receive updates and be notified of media releases.

Photo: byod, by howard61 on flickr.