“That’s lovely, Keith, but do you have a PowerPoint version?”
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
Videos and podcasts are a growing part of sharing information, and sharing research through presentations. In Thing 12 we introduced 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 can experiment with sites such as Slideshare that let you share your research and presentations online.
Try some different presentation tools
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 a paid-for option that 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, as this tutorial shows: The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi.
Kizoa is free and simple, especially if you want to make a slideshow or film with images and sound rather than static slides.
Canva is a very good browser-based presentation creator, with especially good templates for making slides that look good and feel professional. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some, and you can’t import PowerPoint files, but it works well, and you can export presentations in PDF and other formats.
Presentation sharing tools
In Thing 11: Finding presentations and podcasts, you had a quick look at using tools such as 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 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. There are thousands of blogs and guides on this out there. Ultimately, the best piece of advice is to get practice and to seek feedback. Consider signing up to our Presentation Skills workshops (basic and advanced editions) that will cover top tips and give you the chance to record (and re-watch) yourself in action. We also have materials on Presenting your Research on SurreyLearn.
Presentations should be engaging and interesting; the standard bullet point format, while effective in the right context, can be quite the opposite.
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.
- Use good images (studies show that this improves retention!)
- Steal this Presentation (tips for presenting with slides)
- A Dozen Slides [insidehighered.com]
- A good discussion about sharing presentation materials online [academia.stackexchange]
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! If you have an example you wish to show off link to it in our comments section at the bottom of this page so we can all admire your handiwork.
Don’t forget to tag your post Thing 12, Thing 13 and Thing 14.
“Let’s bring out the prototype iPhone XIII”
Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash