Multimedia Presenters

Standard

Education is all about presentation. For however much we advocate for and create student-centered practices, sooner or later, we have to present information to students, receive information from administrators and consultants, and teach students how to effectively present information. Surely, we have all been on the receiving end of a Death by PowerPoint.

impress.js

By far my favorite solution to problem of dynamic audiovisual supplements to presentations is the impress.js framework, which leverages modern technology (JavaScript & CSS3) to create presentations in the style of interactive, 3-dimensional, kinetic typography. It is simple and lightweight, and portable to all modern internet browsers without any particular backend requirements. Best of all, it is entirely transparent and Open Source. impress.js is actually a scripting framework, and, as such, can be written (and edited) entirely from a simple text editor. While this is an advantage, it also makes scripting knowledge a necessary skill for its utilization. However, the Open Source nature of the project allows anyone to create a User Interface (UI) and a number of them are in active development. Each of the UIs listed below results in a downloadable package than can be uploaded to any website or transported on any media and later opened from any modern web browser on any device.

Strut

The impress.js UI that seems to strike the strongest balance between features and ease of use is Strut. This website gives users the ability to easily create professional-looking presentations, as well as the ability for advanced users to make detailed changes.

Impressionist

The Impressionist UI is still in the Alpha phase of development, and does not appear to be under active development. This means there are a few issues, and some usability options that could make it easier to use but probably will not be changed. For instance, text fields are currently limited to one line, although you can have more than field on each slide. Nevertheless, it does result in an effective and consistent product.

Dyapos

The strength of the Dyapos UI is its ability to quickly create a simplistic, although cohesive presentation in the impress.js framework. As can usually be expected, the simplistic approach to ease-of-use compromises customization. It is a fairly even trade, though, depending on the user’s purposes, and the code itself can always be further edited once it is exported from the website.

Some alternatives

  • Emaze – Presentations in the traditional 2-dimensional deck format, although with aesthetically interesting themes and transitions. Free accounts are somewhat limited, but should be sufficient for most users. Modification is somewhat limited, although that does keep the user somewhat more within the appropriate bounds of the design theme. PowerPoint import is an added bonus. Downloading is not possible with the free account.
  • Infogr.am – Presentations based on the infographic model, simple interface that creates a scrollable, interactive document especially suited for the web. Modern design, although repetitive themes, embedding is straightforward, although contextual linking is not possible.
  • Knovio.com – Not a replacement for the presentation software usual suspect, so much as a platform for addending and sharing. Knovio users can upload existing PowerPoint decks and then supplement them with audio or video tied to each individual slide.
  • PowToon – Billed as a presentation software and animated movie maker, PowToon has simple, playful but still professional graphics and interesting transitions. Integrated tutorials offset the significant learning curve. Google account integration is a nice feature, although tight YouTube integration might make sharing difficult. For non-YouTube viewing and sharing, use the “Preview” button which will reveal other methods. They have also recently launched an easier presentation slide creator, which is easy and gives polished and customizable results.
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