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alternatives to Powerpoint for educational use

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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?


Maybe Lotus Symphony is worth a look:

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:

Get a portable version here:

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:

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 :)

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.

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


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