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!!
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.
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.)
This is the presentation I gave yesterday at the Australian College of Educator’s Digital Fair that was held at Geelong Grammar.
It was well received and, as is usual for me, I didn’t manage to get through all of the presentation as I have a tendancy to elaborate. It’s very difficult to relay the concept of learning communities and all that goes with the formation of them in an hour. I fielded questions along the way but didn’t get discussion time factored in. If anyone would like further elaboration on anything in the presentation leave a comment and I’ll do my best to address what it is you need to know.
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.
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!!
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 Mirschtin, Jess 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!!
For those of you who’ve been reading, you’ll be aware that tomorrow I will be presenting at the SLAV conference in Melbourne. Susan Bentley, the Elibrarian who I work with, is presenting with me. It’s a big deal for me, largely because I am charged with the task of switching on a group of teachers and teacher-librarians to the idea that adopting a Web 2.0 approach to their teaching and school library practice is a vital thing to be doing. It’s also an opportunity to be inspired once again by the words of Will Richardson and see the effect his words can have on the participants. I’ve said many times before, one of the turning points in my adoption (transformation!?) came when I attended a 5 hour workshop run by Will at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference in August last year. Hopefully we’ll see him have that same effect tomorrow.
I made a PowerPoint for the presentation and have spent a considerable amount of time putting it together. I’ve been inspired by the words of Garr Reynolds in his presentation to Google staff and will be interested to see if his philosophy plays out for the audience I’m addressing. Susan and I presented this to our staff on Thursday and got a good reception so all should be well. The other exciting, but complicating thing, has been that I scored an invite to SlideRocket after I posted a plea on their blog when I realised they had sent out 500 invites and I didn’t get one. This is a presentation tool that allows you to do some pretty cool things with your slides and your presentations are stored online. When I imported the PowerPoint into SlideRocket I had problems with text overlays on my slides – it ‘s taken me ages to figure out how to address this and I’ve still got problems with my text not transferring over when I cache the presentation. Looks like I’ll be hard at it tonight trying to sort this one out. The great thing is that you can cache your presentation to your hard drive in an offline feature they offer. I’m doing this to avoid loading problems I may have tomorrow if the bandwith is not so good. Of course, you can’t expect things to go smoothly. Ever. I’d really like to use it as it’s a great example of the new tools becoming available, and how you can get things happening for yourself in this world if you are active and ask questions. If need be I’ll just revert to the original Powerpoint – no need worrying – just gotta go with the flow!
My other charge is to ustream the presentation. I have a channel and am taking a video camera and tripod so that I can get it out to the world. Another great example of how to use these tools to best effect. You can watch it on ustream at 11.30 tomorrow here. I, of course, will be delivering the presentation so won’t be able to participate in the chat room but I hope some of you do. I’d be interested in getting some feedback so please post a comment to let me know what you thought- I’m tough, can handle criticism, so let fly! (doesn’t mean I won’t be curling up in a foetal position tomorrow night if all goes wrong – you may never hear from me again!!)
I’ll be uploading the presentation to Slideshare and will post a link to it once I’ve got the thing sorted – hope it doesn’t take all night.
Dean Groom has written a good post today in response to the Web 2.0 conference that took place this week in Sydney. Read it. He articulates well the frustration felt by many who have made the shift and are trying to convince others of the need for change. We can’t give up -we need to be the evangelists leading the flock!!