The problem with 'PowerPoints' is that you have to listen to each one. That wouldn't be so bad if students didn't animate every bullet and write every word they intend to say as bullets. We'll explore several ways to create presentations that will eliminate the dreaded animated bullets and resulting abject boredom.

To read an in-depth blog post on this topic, check out my blog here.

Presentation Theory (general notes to avoid crap-presentations)

Before we speak of tools, let's talk about what makes a good presentation. Power Point, after all isn't a bad tool. Unfortunately, too many people mistake bullet points for paragraph markers, fill their slides with text, and read the entire text of the presentation to you from the slides in a painfully monotone performance.


The main key here is "Show and Tell" The presentation tool shows and you tell.
I like the way Sean Silverthorne summarizes the Jobs litmus test for your presentation:
  1. Does each slide convey just one idea?
  2. Are images sometimes [I would say often] used instead of words to convey those ideas?
  3. Do the slides make use of empty space?
  4. Does the deck sometimes disappear, leaving nothing between you and your audience?
  5. Have you minimized bullet lists, distracting effects and eye charts?


Specific Presentation Methods

Do one of these, and you get an automatic "A"

  • pecha kucha - (pronounced peh-chalk'-cha) - twenty slides, twenty seconds each. No bullets
  • ignite - Supposed to be funny, but ignore that. Twenty slides, fifteen seconds each, no bullets. I prefer this one. Talking for 20 seconds can be too difficult for students.

PechaKucha (20x20) technique, which is all visual.

  • 20 Slides
  • 20 Seconds Each
  • NO BULLET TEXT
  • a well designed / chosen graphic on every slide.

Some templates:

Ignite

ignite - Supposed to be funny, but ignore that. Twenty slides, fifteen seconds each, no bullets. I prefer this one. Talking for 20 seconds can be too difficult for students.

Template

  • None yet

New Presentation Tools

The use of any of these tools does not exempt you from the guidelines above. You can still make a terrible presentation with a cool tool.

Prezi

Billed as the "zooming presentation editor", Prezi excels at fun transitions and non-linear presentations. Like Power Point, though, it is equally susceptible to bad design. Notice how the official Prezi promo video uses the same techniques discussed above, combined with this cool interface. Do all of the smash-mouth, roller-coaster transitions you want to; a badly constructed presentation will still be terrible to sit through.