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Author Topic: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use  (Read 4306 times)

techidave

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alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« on: June 26, 2009, 07:46:20 AM »
After starting a topic on word replacement alternatives,here it got me to thinking about the other part of office software.  In our grade school computer lab they are currently using Office 2003 Pro which is probably over kill for 5 to 10 year olds.

They use only Word and Powerpoint which leads me to think maybe there is something easier and much much cheaper out there.

With the budget crunches going on in the education sector, we lost our computer lab teacher for the next year.  so that means the classroom teacher will be instructing them.  I have looked at OpenOffice 3 in the past but decided the "look" was enough different that they might be confused after using Office.

It was easy enough to find Word replacement thanks to Zaine's wonderful review. here  But I had a very hard time finding replacements for Powerpoint that were free, even on Google.

Any recommendations?

Dave

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Re: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2009, 09:19:05 AM »
Maybe Lotus Symphony is worth a look:

http://symphony.lotu...mphony/home.nsf/home
'Behold! It is not over unknown seas but back over well-known years that your quest must go; back to the bright strange things of infancy and the quick sun-drenched glimpses of magic that old scenes brought to wide young eyes.'

40hz

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Re: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2009, 09:43:39 AM »
Well, one obvious one springs to mind. But I doubt it's any simpler to use than PowerPoint.

(Confession: I'm not a big fan of presentation software. And since I have a strong personal dislike for PowerPoint in particular, I'm not the most unbiased opinion out there.)

Inside the Open Office Suite of apps is something called Impress which was designed to be a direct FOSS replacement for PowerPoint. I'd suggest they start with the no-install portable version of OpenOffice to see if they like it first. They can always install the regular version onto their hard drive if you later decide to keep it.

OpenOffice Homepage: www.openoffice.org

Get a portable version here: http://portableapps....ice.org_portable_3.1


impress.gif

Although PowerPoint is very popular in the education and business world, there are some people who have raised serious questions as to whether or not all those bullet point presentations may be doing more harm than good. This is a good introductory article (with links) about the debate:

http://teachwithpowe...-of-bullet-list.html

Worth a read, even if you end up not agreeing with the PowerPoint detractors.

BTW: I'm not so sure Office 2003 is all that much overkill for grade school kids. They grasp technology a lot more quickly that most would suspect. Presentations require a certain way of thinking, a skill set, and some tools to effectively put one together. As long as a child understands what a presentation is supposed to do, and how to put one together, it's no big deal to get them rolling on PowerPoint. I recently saw a presentation by two local 7-year old kids (Girl Scouts to be exact) that could teach some "corporate communication"  types a thing or two about how to get your point across.

Just my 2ยข :)


« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 09:46:19 AM by 40hz »

tsaint

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Re: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 09:44:55 AM »
No, I'm not stalking you Dave! I think you should have a look at Kingsoft Office as a MS powerpoint replacement on top of the word replacement.
And no, I'm not a Kingsoft salesperson.. I just thought it's a very good office suite replacement.

techidave

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Re: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2009, 12:17:20 PM »
tsaint, do you have an english link for kingsoft?  I seem to only find the "other" language sites that I cannot read.

I am not opposed to either OpenOffice of MS Office 2003, its just I wonder if their isn't something easier than these.  I am the only tech person for our district and most of my teachers are somewhat challenged when it comes to computers.

oh well... we have gotten by the way we are in the past, perhaps we can continue this way.  If nobody complains, why change?  :D

katykaty

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Re: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2009, 01:12:42 PM »
I would go for OpenOffice Impress. It's very similar to Powerpoint and even uses similar concepts like slide masters.

One really important point to make about presentation software is that you don't need to know how to add transitions or make bullet points fly in one by one or add multimedia or fancy backgrounds or clip art because that kind of tut just gets in the way of your message.

So long as they can figure out the very basics your teachers should be fine.



Nod5

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Re: alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2009, 04:52:05 PM »
Google Docs: Presentation!

note: I've read about it and have friends who use it but have not much personal experience with it. It is worth checking out I think.

To start it log in to Google Docs as usual and go new > presentation.

overview (from 2008):
http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=omUhhCEpMLA

Google Docs: Working offline (with google gears browser add-on)
http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=7cyHYEfpRVA
(note: I haven't tried it with presentations myself)

Since Google docs files can be shared it should be pretty easy for a group of teachers to set up a common pool of presentations to work on and use.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 04:54:52 PM by Nod5 »