Videos and podcasts are a growing part of sharing information, and sharing research through presentations. In Thing 12 we looked at some of the tools for making and sharing media. Now we’re going to look at applying those tools to research. We’ll explore some new tools for creating presentations, and you’ll take a look at sites like Slideshare that let you share your research and presentations online.
Most of us are, by necessity, familiar with PowerPoint and/or its Apple counterpart Keynote. There are open source alternatives, although you may find they’re not always compatible in the ways you need (there’s a list at Alternative To).
Prezi is growing in popularity and offers an interesting alternative to the usual static slides you normally see. Prezi allows you to zoom, pan and layer levels of information, although these tools need to be used well in order to be effective. Instead of presenting a linear story, you can move around a storyboard, highlighting connections.
Prezi can take some getting used to, but it’s worth jumping in and giving it a try. Take some time to experiment with it and think about what it could offer to help you share your research, present a subject to students or colleagues, or create an informational or induction presentation. You can even use Prezi as a collaboration tool – it’s great for mind mapping with colleagues.
We particularly like this presentation by Ned Potter of the University of York on how to make good Prezis. As well as showing you what Prezi can do, it’s a great example of exactly that – a good Prezi: The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi on Prezi
Presentation sharing tools
In Thing 11: Finding presentations and podcasts, you had a quick look at using tools like SlideShare for finding information and presentations. Now we’d like you to think about uploading your own research or presentations to them. As a recap, we suggested the following tools:
These tools give you the opportunity to store all your research presentations or teaching material in one place. Maybe you gave a presentation at a conference, and you’d like other people to have access to it (or you’d like other people to see that you’ve been providing expert comment on the topic). Perhaps you use presentations as teaching tools, and you want your students to have access to lectures after the class. These sites bring your presentations to a much wider audience than you can ever hope to reach with handouts or even an institutional website. They also let you embed your presentations in blogs and websites.
Have a look at each site (and feel free to look at others), and pick at least one to try. If you have a presentation floating around, upload it. Many of these sites let you upload PDFs as well as PowerPoints and other formats, so you could even give your audience a guided tour of a recent research poster. If you don’t have any presentations to upload, think about when or how you might or might not use these sites.
Exploring further: Some notes on presentations in general
Since we’re on the subject, let’s talk about what makes a good presentation in general. As well as our workshops Basic Presentations Skills and Advanced Presentation Skills, and our pages on Presenting your Research on SurreyLearn, there are blog posts, courses and books galore on this.
Presentations should be engaging and interesting, and the standard bullet point format, while effective in the right context, can be the opposite of engaging.
If you’re looking to breathe life into your presentations, there are some basic things to keep in mind:
- Cut text. Less is better.
- Don’t read out your slides – they’re there to support what you are saying, not replace it.
- Keep to one point per slide.
- Use good images (studies even show that this improves retention!)
Week 7 blog post
This week’s Things may require a lot of work, particularly if you haven’t used these tools before and want to give them a proper try. If you have used them, let us know what you thought and how they enhanced your research, teaching or other work. Do you think they can help you find new audiences for your work? If you haven’t, explore them and let us know how you think you could use them. Please do upload samples of your videos, screen captures, beautiful data or podcasts – real examples are always welcome!
Don’t forget to tag your post Thing 12, Thing 13 and Thing 14.