Tag Archives: PowerPoint

Step outside your “presentation comfort zone”

It’s getting to that point in the semester where students may be getting a little restless in class and you might be finding the good ol’ PowerPoint just isn’t really making the cut. If you are feeling a little adventurous and want to step out of the “comforting zone” of PowerPoint, check out these options for your next presentation! They are all free and web-based!


Prezi allows you to create a unique, dynamic presentation that is completely different than PowerPoint or any of the other slide-based presentation tools around! Focus in on specific words, phrases, pictures, or whatever you wish, and use the zooming and panning feature to highlight what is most important. Prezi keeps the audience alert to listen to what you say (since the entire text isn’t available for them to see on the screen) and to see what pops up next!


While SlideRocket does use the format of flipping from slide to slide, the possibilities for making it stand out are endless. SlideRocket offers an incredible set of design tools- themes and layouts, shapes, charts, tables, pictures, audio, HD video, and Flash. Share presentations with a click by distributing a URL, collaborate with others in the slide library, and get inspired through watching other professionally designed presentations!

Always keep in mind that the internet offers so many great presentation tools for free, so don’t panic if you don’t have PowerPoint installed on your computer-you have options! Some other tools to check out are Empressr, Google Docs, and 280Slides. Happy Presenting!

If you would like to “Ask the Audience”…

Now that Spring Break is over, you may find that your students are a little less interested in their schoolwork and a little more interested in rushing to the finish line to kick off their summer plans. If you are in need of a magic tool that will keep your students alert and on their toes during class, checkout TurningPoint.

TurningPoint is an audience response system that integrates into your PowerPoint presentations. You can integrate slides into your presentations asking questions, and then instantly receive the results from your audience’s responses, which they submit via a clicker. It’s a great way to gain insight from your audience and stimulate discussions. Another useful way to use TurningPoint is to assign students to a specific clicker and track their individual responses-a great way to incorporate pop quizzes or participation points into your lecture!  The points from the quizzes can even be imported directly into Blackboard’s Grade Center.

Not a fan of PowerPoint?  No need to worry!  Turning Point AnyWhere allows you to get audience input from any application.

For more information about clickers, including how other universities are using clickers in the classroom, visit our Audience Response System webpage.

If you would like any assistance in using TurningPoint, feel free to contact us and we would be glad to help!

Your New Favorite Web Tool

It’s a pretty well-known fact that college students aren’t exactly “rolling in the dough”, so when it comes to buying software packages like Microsoft Office, it can be a bit of a problem. Instead of trekking through the cold and snow to the library every time Word is needed to write a paper, or PowerPoint to create a presentation, try Microsoft Office Live.

This tool is available to anyone with a Windows Live ID (which is free!). Simply sign up, sign in, and start creating documents in condensed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. While these applications may be condensed versions, they still offer many of the features that are most often used in the full versions. Another perk to using Microsoft Office Live is that after creating their documents, users are able to save their files to SkyDrive so they can access them anywhere, anytime. Free versions of Office plus a storage space for documents in the cloud? I’m sold, and your students will be too! So save them (and yourself!) some money, time, and stress by utilizing the greatness of Microsoft Office Live.

A New Way to Present

Enjoy the simplicity of PowerPoint but looking for a fresh, alternative for your presentations? Check out SlideRocket.
SlideRocket is a web-based tool that allows users to create sharp and modern presentations with layouts and options similar to PowerPoint. SlideRocket’s basic plan is offered to users at no cost, which makes it a great alternative for your students who may not have access to PowerPoint. While an internet connection is needed to access and play presentations, SlideRocket offers an assortment of customizable options. A few highlights include:
• Browse through thousands of images to add to slides
• Upload YouTube videos to play directly in the presentation
• Add audio
• Edit text in various ways
• Add live Twitter feeds
• Enter data to instantly create charts
• Import slides from PowerPoint to edit in SlideRocket
Be sure to take a look at SlideRocket to see how you can revitalize your presentations, and share this great free tool with your students!

Avoiding PowerPointlessness

When Microsoft introduced PowerPoint, the world of presentations was revolutionized. Perhaps we are well overdue for another revolution. I’d like to introduce you to the possibilities of Prezi, a free and innovative way to present and engage.

Prezi is a web-based tool that allows users to create a presentation using a map layout. Users are able to zoom in and out of different items and show relationships from an interesting point of view.  We encourage you to attend our workshop on December 1st at 10am to learn how to use Prezi.  Check out the Prezi below for a glimpse:

Let’s mix things up a bit…

If there is one thing I appreciate as a graduate student, it is the opportunity to get creative with projects. Students get consumed with notes, papers and studying for exams, so when they receive a task where they can get their creative juices flowing, it’s not as much work as it is fun. Try switching things up and give your students the opportunity to get creative with a project.

This is an easy way for you as an educator to incorporate new and exciting technology into your lessons, and into the projects assigned to students. There are a variety of websites that offer free ways for educators and students to create videos or slideshows, so put yourself and your students up to the challenge of using these new programs to spice up presentations and assignments.


Prezi is a web-based tool that allows users to create a presentation using a map layout. They are able to zoom in and out of different images and text to show relationships from an interesting point of view. Prezi can be used as an alternative to PowerPoint, however, design options are limited, users cannot insert clipart, and the presentations are not meant to be printed. View a handout of how to use Prezi here.

Photo Story 3

Photo Story 3 is a free application offered through Windows.  Users are able to upload images into slideshows, add text, audio, and even voice narration. Click here to view a project made with Photo Story 3.


With Animoto, users can create movies using still images complete with music and text. It’s easy to use, and free. Signing up for an education account will increase the length of which the movies can be.  Click here to view a clip of an example movie.

The ways that you can incorporate these programs into your class are endless; students can create advertisements, public service announcements, creative videos, slideshows, presentations for speeches, or they can just be used as an alternative to a PowerPoint presentation. Plus, anytime you incorporate utilizing new technology, students are instantly more attracted and become more involved.  The Instructional Support and Training team offers support for integrating technology, so contact us if you would like to get together and talk more!