Make it Pretty: The Value of Good Presentation Software

Having spent a few days at the CARL (California Academic and Research Libraries) conference in Sacramento, I became acutely aware of the importance of good graphical representation when presenting.  As my fellow library students remember, Powerpoint is “the death of education” many times and is more a transcript of a lecture than an additional visual component to a multi-level delivery. To my point, I present this Powerpoint from the Pew Internet about Connected Organizations uploaded to Slideshare


While I did run into quite a few Powerpoint presentations (not all were bad), I was more impressed by the variety of other presentation software available. For example, compare the Powerpoint seen before to Kenley Neufeld’s presentation using iWorks, the Apple form of Microsoft Office.  Reference Desk Toolkit Now, granted Kenley’s sense of graphic design plays a large part into the difference between these two but the fact that you could also easily consider Kenley’s site a Web 2.0 style website makes it much more attractive (and legible). 

Somewhere in between, I find Google Docs, the presentation software I typically deploy for teaching because it’s just so darn easy, its highly flexible for deployment in Smart Classrooms where I can have students following along and chatting me questions in the software, and I don’t need a thumbdrive to have access to it.

However, if I had the time, I would have been more inclined to use Prezi, yet another software option. An example of this radically non-slide presentation software found using the link below (WordPress.com doesn’t cooperate with the embed feature of Prezi too well).

You can zoom in and out, rotate, flip, and move. But, according to a source who has used it before, be sure to have a backup on a thumbdrive as sometimes the live site can seize up on you.

Another platform I’ve seen deployed before is Vuvox, a tapestry like presentation software that scrolls back and forth on a continual frame. A few years ago I saw a presenter use Vuvox to demonstrate its photo, audio, and video embedding capabilities, but the scrolling could be a bit confusing, as you can end up scrolling quite a bit to find one thing you accidentally skipped over or want to return to.

There’s plenty more that I have learned from the conference, but this is a good enough start for now….

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