Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thing 17 - Prezi and Slideshare

For a while now I have been aware of the death by powerpoint syndrome, both as a teaching and learning tool in schools and at conferences, training etc.  When I was doing a great deal of Information Literacy teaching from about 2003 - 2009 in particular, all of my lessons were on Powerpoint and actually replaced my lesson plans.  This was very much the case across the school in terms of being very reliant on Powerpoint with faculties having whole schemes of work presented using Powerpoint.  Over the years, I have seen a gradual 'move' away from Powerpoint in teaching, although not necessarily at conferences, however more people tend to be using pictures as a visual stimulus rather than reading vast amounts of information from a slide.  And, a lot of the teaching I now see at my school, does not depend on Powerpoint at all, which I can only put down to our whole college ethos for cooperative learning; the teacher is the Meddler in the Middle rather than the Sage on the Stage.
Nevertheless, I have used Prezi, interested as I was to find an alternative for presentations and although I successfully used it (two examples include presenting at a workshop on Web 2.0 and social media and in a 6th form assembly), I am not a fan of it.  For me, it is the constant zooming in and out, layering of text and pictures etc which distracts me from the actual information contained wherein.  I fully empathise with the writer of Thing 17's blog post when she says that people often overuse these techniques to make their presentation seem more exciting with the same result as death by powerpoint.  The saving grace for Prezi, as far as I am concerned, is the ability for users to simultaneously access the same Prezi, make and save changes, thus making it a truly collaborative piece of work and indeed I have witnessed this in the classroom.  For me, I am trying to keep my use of Powerpoint to a bare minimum, relying on images or single words as a visual stimuli rather than flooding the delegate, teacher, student with a lot of information to read.
Although I haven't used Slideshare personally, i.e. have an account and upload presentations, I have accessed many a presentation via it, Powerpoints, Publisher documents etc and I think it is a great way of sharing presentations, gaining feedback etc, both for professional purposes and for use in the classroom enabling students to offer feedback and reflect on other students' learning etc, using that to consolidate their own understanding. Slideshare is great for inspiring you to try and do different things; seeing what works for other people e.g. in their libraries etc and then developing resources for your own use/institution etc as is any resource sharing Web 2.0 site.  Slideshare is used quite a bit by the Dixie Grammer School Library and it is good to see different takes on the same type of resources, e.g. staff library handbooks.  As far as gaining inspiration, having watched the visual resume example given on the CPD23 blog, I really wish I could do my CV for my chartership portfolio in the same way

Update on 21/9/12 - enjoyed reading Phil Bradley's presentation as part of the CILIPSW group's AGM which I was unable to attend.  Put up on Slideshare and link sent to all committee members, it was great to see 'why librarians should use social media'.  I already do, but interesting to see other resources such as Trailfire, Trailmeme and Quora.

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