Tag Archives: presentations

SlideRocket, I offer you my thanks

sliderocket

Image by virgosun via Flickr

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I use SlideRocket to prepare presentations for conferences. I got an invite to the beta product in its early days, and I was so impressed I willingly stayed with it when it came out of Beta and eventually decided to pay for a pro account at a cost of $240 US dollars a year.

Many out there would baulk at paying for presentation software, but there are definite advantages to using SlideRocket from my point of view. Probably the most useful feature for me is the ability to search flickr for creative commons images from within the software. For me, using creative commons images is a must; you need to practice what you preach. People viewing my presentation online can hover over the image and the attribution for the person who took the shot is visible. I’d prefer it if a link was provided as well, as this would take people to the creator’s work. They now enable you to search for YouTube videos from within the software, and this is something else I’ve found to be very useful. What’s incredibly insightful is the access you have to the analytics of your presentations. I publish my presentations online in public spaces, and the analytics enable me to know when a presentation has been viewed, how long it was looked at, and what city and country the person looking at it originated from. It’s fascinating, especially when I have seen my work being used rather extensively in university environments around the world.

Are you wondering yet why I’m offering SlideRocket my thanks?

On January 5th, I was watching the twitter stream pass me by, when I saw tweets from the SlideRocket team being sent out to people who have scored a gig to present at the SXSW Conference. They were offering them access to a free pro account to put their presentations together. Being the forward person that I am, I thought I’d be a bit cheeky and send them a tweet.

I really didn’t expect a reply, but I got one. @SlideRocket asked me to send them an email with my request so I did. Lo and behold, the very helpful Sogol listened and organised for me to receive 6 months free access to a pro account. I was looking at renewing my subscription at the end of this month, but now I won’t need to until August.

So, there you go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as my Mother would say.

Thanks very much SlideRocket – well worthy of a blog post!!

 

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Keynote for AIS Integration Conference 2010

Today I had the opportunity to present a Keynote for the AIS ICT Integration Conference 2010 being held at Tara Anglican Girl’s School in Sydney. Here’s the abstract I provided for the presentation;

The new rules of engagement. Preparing our teachers and students for how we can learn now.

Teachers have always been in the game of ensuring we have prepared our charges well for the world that awaits them. But are we doing that well enough today? The game has changed. The playing field is different; there are new rules, and we need to be the coaches and players in a world where the bases are loaded with a whole new set of entities.

In a hyperconnected world we can learn differently, using communities of practice to inform our teaching. We can become adept players and learn the skills of information fluency, helping our charges to choose their team wisely and make the most of the opportunities the Web affords them. There are opportunities presenting themselves; the 3G network, the digital revolution and the proposed Australian Curriculum. We need to get smart about how we infuse technology into our teaching and learning practices, and prepare our students for the knowledge economy that awaits them.

I’m pleased to say that it was well received. You can find the presentation embedded on the conference wiki and on my own wiki. The presentation is hyperlinked so you’ll be able to access the material that gave me inspiration. John Clear will also be uploading the audio recording of my presentation to the conference  wiki. Whether or not I stayed entirely true to the abstract is up to you to decide. I was still working on the slide deck the night before, trying to get it right. An arduous process!

There’s a new feature on SlideRocket that allows viewers of your presentation to leave a comment on a slide. I’d love to see how that works, so add a comment or two if you feel so inclined.

Today was a great day, with inspiring presentations delivered by passionate educators. New South Wales education looks in great shape from the vantage point I had today. I’m pretty tired so will post about the new things I’ve gleaned from this experience over the weekend. There are plenty of great ideas I’ve been exposed to that I’m keen to share.

I’d like to thank the NSW Association for Independent Schools for asking me to present. In particular, the members of the conference committee. It’s been a wonderful opportunity and a beneficial learning experience for me.

*Note. Please SlideRocket, if you’re listening, do something to enable embedding of your presentation software into WordPress blogs. I love your product, but need to able to embed them here. : )

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eT@lking – Creative Commons and its impact for education

Last Wednesday night I presented a session about Creative Commons for eT@lking in elluminate. These sessions are very ably moderated by Anne Mirtschin and Carole McCulloch, and feature some fine speakers who are interested in sharing their knowledge and moving people forward with their own learning. (Sounding a bit like Julia Gillard there, aren’t I!).

I uploaded some slides to support the presentation, and I’ve added them to Slideshare so that they can be of use to other teachers and students. They contain the six different Creative Commons licences, and some screenshots of sites that are useful for learning more about copyright and where you source CC licenced material. It’s not earth shattering stuff, but it may prove useful if you are starting the discussion with people in your school.

The session was well attended and there was some interesting discussion in the chat. Anne Mirtschin has included many of the links mentioned and questions posed in a post she wrote about the event.

You can listen to the recording of the session here.

Thanks Anne for inviting me to present, and thank you Carole for moderating this week’s session.

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SlideRocket for Education

I’ve been using SlideRocket, an online presentation tool, for the past year for presentations I have given at conferences. To start with, I badgered them for an invite to use the product before it’s release. To my surprise, they obliged. I then moved over to the free version when it had general release, but felt it was limited so had to sign up for the premium version. Around that time SlideRocket sent me a survey asking my opinion about pricing for K-12 education. My response was that they needed to make it affordable, under $500.00 for a site licence. To be honest with you I didn’t think  it was anywhere near possible as I’d just had my school sign up for the one user premium package at a price of $240.00 a year.

SlideRocket announces preferred pricing for K-12 education

 

I was surprised last week to get an email from SlideRocket letting me know that they were going to be announcing pricing for education. When I looked at what they were offering I was very pleasantly surprised. Here it is;

Schools with less then one hundred and fifty students will pay $249 per year, schools with less than one thousand students will pay $449 per year and schools with over one thousand students will pay $999 per year. All pricing is per school allowing every member of the school community – teachers and students alike – to create his or her own SlideRocket login and gain access to SlideRocket’s premium features.    

 In my opinion, that pricing is pretty good given the features SlideRocket offers. I found my last couple of presentations pretty easy to put together. I was able to access flickr creative commons attribution only pictures from within the SlideRocket application and load them easily into my presentation.  I could create a library of my slides so that I can use them easily in new presentations should I need them.  My presentations are stored online so I could access them from any computer anywhere provided I had an internet connection.  They also allow you to download an offline player allowing you to cache your presentation should internet access be a problem.

There are other features I’ve yet to explore that hold real potential in educational settings. You can work collaboratively on a presentation and access a shared library of resources with the SlideRocket community. The pricing is wonderful for a school my size (under 1000). $449 US dollars converts to $568 Australian dollars. Less than one dollar each for students and staff for use of a premium package is pretty good value.

Now, to lobby for it to go into next year’s budget…..     

(If you want to see Sliderocket in action visit my wikispaces site where my presentations are embedded.)

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The friend, the presenter, the bridge and the blogger!

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I was excited about visiting Sydney to see Garr Reynolds present his ideas about presentation techniques. Well, that visit was this last weekend and I wanted to give you a rundown about the great opportunity it was and the fact that it led to other wonderful experiences.

The friend.

First things first. I have to thank my great friend Helen who was kind enough to accompany me on the trip. Helen has been a close friend of mine for many years now; she knows me well and is a tremendous support to me. She always knows when I am in need of support and has been a rock. I’m deeply grateful to her for agreeing to join me. We had a wonderful time together. Really good friends are hard to find; Helen, please know how much I value you.

The presenter.

Garr Reynolds was presenting at the Wesley Conference Centre in Pitt Street. Step Two designs had organised the presentation and I was very keen to attend. I’ve been reading Garr’s Presentation Zen blog and have watched his Authors at Google talk. His ideas make sense to me and I’ve tried to apply them to presentations I’ve made. I wanted to see if he had more to share in a ‘live’ presentation.

The conference room was packed. A sold out presentation. Garr looked relaxed and was an at ease presenter. Exactly the kind of message he sends out about how to present effectively. Early in the presentation he showed a slide with pictures of people reading his book ‘Presentation Zen’ in different locations. A woman from the audience yelled out ‘that’s me’ and Garr asked ‘Are you the teacher?’ She replied, ‘no’ and I piped up, ‘I’m the teacher’. Garr said, ‘Is that you Jenny?’ I couldn’t believe he had remembered who I was! What a moment for a low profile blogger like me. He had us talk to other conference participants on a couple of occasions and each time people started the conversations with, ‘So you’re the teacher…’ The audience seemed to be more the corporate set – I think I was probably the only secondary school teacher there! 

What were the things I took away with me from Garr’s presentation? The idea that story is central to any presentation; story connects you to your audience and will help hold their attention. Eliminate wherever possible too much text on slides – don’t follow the templates provided in PowerPoint as a guide. Probably the strongest message was to follow doh – meaning ‘the way’ and not the Homer Simpson variety of d’oh. Garr’s doh is to follow these three principles for presentation;

Restraint

Simplicity

Naturalness

Take a look at any presentation Garr has made and these principles are obvious. I need to take note of restraint- was too tempted by the cool transitions in SlideRocket and used them too frequently. Will take note of this advice for future presentations.  

Garr spoke of books he’s read that have had influence on his ideas. These included ‘The McKinsey Mind’‘Rules for Revolutionaries’ by Guy Kawasaki, ‘Word of Mouth Marketing’ by Andy Sernowitz, ‘Multi Media Learning’ by Richard E Mayer, ‘Brain Rules’ by Dr. John Medina and ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath. Brain Rules is sitting on my bedside table as we speak and I must get to the Heath Bros. book -that’s the second or third reference I’ve heard of late to that book- a sign I should be reading it!   

Garr was kind enough to speak with me at the end of the event and was obliging enough to have a photo taken with me. I was very pleased that I had made the effort to get to Sydney to hear him speak. Even though you can glean a vast amount of info from the Web, nothing beats human face to face interaction.

The Bridge

My last visit to Sydney was seven years ago with another good friend. She chose to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge while we were there, but I didn’t do it. I was scared of heights and felt it was something I wouldn’t be able to do. This time I decided to have a go at it. My Mum encouraged me; she felt I’d get something from it that I need at the moment. I’m still scared of heights, but I did some pretty serious climbing up a very steep mountain in China last year and thought I’d be able to do it. So I plucked up the resolve and booked myself in for a bridge climb.

I had an 8.55 booking so set off from the hotel at 8.20 to walk to Cumberland Street at the base of the bridge. I must have walked at least a kilometre when I realised I was heading in the wrong direction! Thank goodness for the constant supply of Sydney buses – got to Circular Quay and ran to Cumberland Street – a sight in itself! Was puffed and anxious when I got there. 10 of us had lined up for the 8.55 climb – families and couples and another solo traveller – a lovely lady named Sheila – we encouraged one another. It takes an age to get ready for a climb; you have to gear up in all manner of things and everything needs to be attached to you – there can be no possibility of anything falling off that bridge.  You do some preliminary training! and then set off. You’re tethered at all times so there’s no possibilty of stubling over the edge.

What an amazing experience. I didn’t suffer any effects of vertigo like I thought I would. I felt pretty safe and just loved taking in the incredible views. It was a perfect winter’s day -blue sky and not a hint of wind. Ed, our guide for the climb, told us that they climb even in high winds. Can’t say I’d be too keen on getting up there in conditions like that. It was an empowering experience and I’m proud of myself for having a go at something that I didn’t think I could do.

The blogger.     

To cap off a great day we met up with Chris Betcher in the afternoon. I first heard Chris talking in one of Jeff Utecht’s SOS podcasts, and I was impressed with his depth of knowledge. I kept seeing betchaboy appear on Twitter and in blog comments so checked out his blog. It became pretty evident that this was a guy who knew what he was talking about. Chris has been participating in the Oz/NZ educators flash meetings and we’ve had an opportunity to see and hear one another via that medium. We made some tentative plans to catch up and I’m so glad that Chris took some time out to catch up.

We met on George Street. I was betting that Chris would be wearing a long sleeved white T-Shirt and jeans. Wrong. Black short sleeved T-Shirt and camoflague pants! Always hard to identify someone when you haven’t met them face to face before but Chris was easily spotted. He looked like he does in our flash meetings and was tall as I had assumed he would be. The conversation flowed naturally from the start. At Chris’ suggestion we went to the Apple store to check things out. Chris and I were heavily engaged in conversation and it was up to Helen to do the shopping!

We moved on to a coffee shop and discussed all myriad of techhy bloggy things! I had a great time; it’s wonderful being able to share ideas with someone who ‘gets’ the things I go on about. My friends are fantastic and tolerant, but I think they get a bit bored when I start talking widgets and wikis. Chris has a wealth of knowledge and such enthusiasm; the time flew too fast. He’s coming to Melbourne in August for a IWB conference so a catch up is essential.

What a wonderful three and and half days Helen and I shared. Offline for most of it, but online in terms of connections to the world we live in.  

 

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Johnny Bunko – career advice worth reading at any age.

I’ve pretty much lived my life thinking there was a plan. Well, maybe not thinking there was a plan, but certainly making a plan for myself and working towards enacting the plan. I remember contemplating the turn of the century when I was in my teens. I worked out that I’d be 34 in 1999. I figured way back then that I’d be married with a couple of kids and had established some semblance of a career for myself. And guess what, that’s exactly where I was at the turn of the century and I felt pretty pleased with myself because I was working the plan really well.

I don’t know quite what happened, but in 2001 I started to realise that the plan was OK, but there had to be a bit more to it. I started by moving out of my comfort zone and seeking work in new locations. I wasn’t moving very far afield, but I was challenging myself by placing myself in new situations and seeing how well I coped. I found I coped really well and, in fact, I was relishing the challenge new situations presented to me. It wasn’t always smooth sailing and I did encounter setbacks which knocked me around a bit, but they seemed to teach me a little more about myself and I grew in confidence as a result.

Late 2007 I started reading blogs and was subscribing to them via my Google Reader. This was a turning point for me because I started to entertain the idea that I might be able to contribute to the conversations I was reading about. So I started writing. I had no plan, other than to share knowledge. And you know what I’ve discovered? I’ve discovered that pursuing something because you have a passion for it with no predetermined outcome can take you in directions you never really thought possible.   

What’s led to this moment of self reflection? It’s the reading of Johnny Bunko: The last career guide you’ll ever need  by Dan Pink.  I first heard about this from Garr Reynold’s blog, Presentation Zen. Garr created a great slideshow about Dan’s book and this prompted me to get a copy to read for myself. (Garr is conducting a seminar next Friday -4th July – at the Wesley Convention Centre in Sydney. I’m flying up to attend. Can’t wait. If you’re in Sydney I’d recommend you check it out. Garr has fantastic ideas about how we should present information. Invaluable for teachers.)  Here’s the slideshare presentation;  

 

You must read this book. IMHO, it should be required reading for students contemplating career choices. I’ll certainly be plugging it at my school. For that matter, I think it should be requred reading for everybody- we all can learn from the advice metered out by Dan.

  

If I’d read this book in my youth perhaps I wouldn’t have been so focused on the plan and would have paid more attention to the kinds of things Steve Jobs refers to in the slide above. (from Garr’s presentation) Along the way I’ve done some of this, and following my gut has been something I’ve relied on more heavily as I’ve aged. Maybe this comes from maturity and really knowing ourselves; understanding that inherently we have some sense of what is right for us. Maybe I just needed someone to point this out to me earlier. Don’t get me wrong, the plan hasn’t worked out too bad; I’ve got two great kids and a supportive husband who is understanding throughout this blogging journey that to some extent pulls my focus away from the homefront. I feel incredibly fortunate.

Here’s another slide from Garr’s presentation that maps out the six key lessons from Dan Pink’s book. My advice is watch Garr’s excellent presentation and go and buy yourself a copy of the book. I think you’ll like it.

  

 

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SlideRocket presentation – working here! (and a lesson about how good the network is)

I posted recently about how I was reworking a presentation using Garr Reynold’s principles and SlideRocket’s cool effects. That presentation was Saturday but the presentation didn’t make it to the audience. I had to rely on my previous PowerPoint – nowhere near the quality of what is embedded here (IMHO).

The presentation was completed but I couldn’t cache it. I sat up until after 1.00am trying and eventually sought the help of the network. I put out a tweet asking if anyone knew anyone from SlideRocket who could give me advice. Angela Maiers replied and said that SlideRocket had an account on Twitter and that I should direct message them. I found them on Twitter and did just that. Had to get some sleep so got up at 6.30 and checked Twitter. Sure enough, direct message from SlideRocket telling me that I needed to download the latest version of their offline client. Did that but still had trouble caching. DM’d again and let them know. When I returned home from the presentation there was a DM from SlideRocket saying they have reported the bug and will be trying to remedy it.

I’m letting you know what happened because I think it’s a fantastic example of how great the network is. I’m in Melbourne, Australia, Angela Maiers is in Des Moines, Iowa and SlideRocket’s offices are in San Francisco. I find it really cool to be able to send out a call for help and halfway around the world my tiny voice is heard and answered within a few hours. I explained all this to my audience this morning and I think a lot of them were pretty impressed, or maybe they were wondering just what it was I was taking about!

Despite my problems I’m still loving SlideRocket and don’t begrudge the time I spent putting the presentation together. Someone, somewhere might want me to do it again (!) and I learnt more about the app as I was using it. As always, you always learn best when you have a need to learn – good lesson for us all as educators to remember. The presentation is visual – very little text so probably a bit hard to follow if you’re not listening to me speak about the process I went through in learning about and initiating digital stories to complement our literature circle studies. The videos students produced are embedded in the presentation and take a while to load- if you want to see them (and they’re there warts and all!) you will have to be patient. Just a note- there is one there that was a response to the essential question, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ There are quite a few images of 9/11 – if you haven’t seen the footage for some time the images can be quite confronting. Interestingly enough, these students were in Grade 4 when 9/11 happened. It obviously had quite an impact on their lives.   

**thanks very much to Nat and the staff from SlideRocket – I had trouble getting the presentation to play here and they have been in constant contact helping me to sort things out. Didn’t know such service was possible today – they have been amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SlideRocket continues to impress.

I’ve spent tonight putting together a presentation I have to give on Saturday for a group of Teacher-Librarians. It’s about the experiences I have had with Literature Circles and Digital Storytelling. I presented at last year’s ASLA conference in Adelaide and have been asked to give that presentation for the Melbourne audience I’ll be speaking to.

Things have changed for me in terms of presentation style since Adelaide. I’ve become a convert of Garr Reynold’s approaches to presentation and as a result have spent some time reworking the slides so that it is visual rather than text driven with bullet points. I’ve also had access to SlideRocket so have reworked the presentation using this new application. (Reading their blog suggests that the public beta release may be soon!)

SlideRocket continues to impress me. I’m loving what you can do with images. When you insert a picture you can upload from your computer or can select to upload from Flickr or Yahoo. If you choose Flickr you can select to use creative commons pictures. The pictures to select from load from within SlideRocket – far easier than moving out of the application to Flickr itself. You can easily scroll through options. When you find what you want you double click on the picture and it uploads to your slide.  When you hover your mouse over the image the photo credit details appear. Brilliant! Acknowledgement for the creators is immediately apparant.

Each time I use it I discover more cool features. It doesn’t support wmv files so I’ve had to convert the files i’m using to flv format. I did this by uploading them to YouTube and then saving them as an flv using keepvid. Zamzar probably would have been faster, but i’ve never uploaded to YouTube before so have learnt something that will be useful in the process. Now when I get students to upload I’ll know what I’m doing. Always an asset to look knowledgeable! 

When I’ve finished I’ll upload the presentation here so you can take a look. Not tonight – getting very late again!!

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SlideRocket presentation – here it is!

from jennylu.wordpress.co posted with vodpod

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Spreading the good word!

Home now after a long drive home from Melbourne after presenting at the Telstra Dome today.

How do I feel? 

Relieved for one. Glad that SlideRocket came through and worked without the slightest problem. Hopeful that what I said struck a chord with some people. Hopeful that people didn’t leave feeling like it is all too hard to make this shift. Hopeful that some in the audience were inspired by Will Richardson who delivers the message so well.   

Thrilled to have met some of my Twitter friends. Jo McLeay was wonderful – she participated in the chat room on Ustream and helped people understand the context of slides when they couldn’t hear audio. She’s just tweeted with a link to my presentation that she recorded on ustream – how incredibly kind of her to do this – my recording didn’t work. Anne MirschtinJess McCulloch and John Pearce were there and it was  wonderful to make contact.

Equally thrilled to have some of my O/S twitter buddies participate in the ustream chat. A special thank you to Dennis Richards who emailed me with the transcript of the chat so that I could see the reactions of the watchers to what I was presenting. Some of the others in the room were Carolyn Foote, Mark Spahr, Dean Groom (I think?) Peggy George and connected geek (don’t know their real name!) Carolyn Foote tuned in just as I was showing the slide with her blog post on it. Freaky huh! Mark Spahr was great trying to help me out before the presentation began with the video camera I was using – it was operating in demo mode. He had the instruction book open at his house in Maine and was trying to figure out how to fix it. How cool is that! Help from Maine USA to Melbourne Australia. The audience could see the tweets coming through – a brilliant visual example of how this network operates and the supportive environment that it is.

I’m very tired -the result of the six hours I spent last night fixing up the SlideRocket presentation. Worth it. The effective transitions you can use made an impact. All that effort with the slides was also worth it – quite a few people have requested that I upload them to Slideshare. Not sure if I can upload from SlideRocket – may have to upload the PowerPoint – same slides. I’ll get it done tomorrow – way too tired right now!! 

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