Direct presentation will always be an integral part of the education process. Despite the shift towards hands-on learning and away from so-called "chalk and talk" sessions, there will always come a time when the educator needs to share content directly with students. As you move up through the various stages of education, this become more and more apparent, with the lecture structure of higher education being the epitome of this educational system.
When it comes to presenting on the iPad, you actually have a increasingly wide range of options. Whether you need a presentation for a lesson, to lead CPD with colleagues or you are looking for a new method for students to use themselves to generate content, the apps available offer some striking, effective yet efficient alternatives to tired old Powerpoints. Let's take a look at some of the best,
THE APPLE OPTION
Keynote is in my opinion the best app in the iWork suite (that also includesNumbers and Pages) due to its ease of use and impressively slick end products. Users can choose from a small range of template themes before beginning to build their slideshow itself. The tool bar is pleasantly minimal and intuitive with a plus symbol to add content and a spanner icon to enter formatting options. Text, images and video content can be added easily as well as tables, graphs and shapes. These can be modified as you would expect in terms of colour, size and style. Initially those of you who have only ever created a presentation on a traditional computer may take a while yo adapt to the touch screen interface but it quickly becomes very easy to harness.
Every element within a slide, as well as the slides themselves, can be animated in a slick, eye-catching way. The animation can be controlled and customised easily to tweak timings and effects. One particularly nice feature is the magic move animation that cleverly identifies common elements from one slide to the next and automatically moves them to new positions.
Users can import .ppt files as well as export out to PowerPoint (though without the animations) or as a PDF file. All in all, Keynote is definitely worth the investment and actually comes for free with new purchases of iOS devices!
One final point of note with regards to Keynote is the option to download the Keynote Remote app and control your presentation from a second device such as an iPhone. This can be useful if you do not have access to an Apple TV or other wireless option and have to tether you iPad to a projector using a VGA or HDMI adaptor.
THE ZEN OPTION
Haiku Deck is the definitive, streamlined option for simple yet stunning presentations. The mantra behind this outstanding app is that slides should not become cluttered with stacks of content. Thus each slide focuses on one key idea presented alongside a striking HD image. The result is unlike any other type of presentation on offer today and has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Another touch of genius is the ability to search their expansive database of images using the very words you have included on each slide. This is both an effective time-saving tool and an invaluable way to help you consider your actual vocabulary choices.
Presentations can be exported to the Haiku Deck page and even embedded on a website alongside PDF, Keynote and PowerPoint export options.The remote feature that Keynote offers can also be accomplished with Haiku Deck by running it on a secondary device and synching.
This is an app that is coming into its own and is going to go from strength to strength as more people come to understand the power of its clean formatting and unique visual approach to content delivery.
THE INTERACTIVE OPTION
Nearpod - anyone who has followed this site for a while now will know just how highly we rate Nearpod and how versatile we think it is. Simply put, Nearpod can revolutionise any presentation by making it interactive and engaging. The fact that you can rebuild a tired old PowerPoint and make it relevant for a new generation of learners is priceless and it is without a doubt one of the very finest apps available to educators right now.
So what makes it so special? Let's run the list...
- Users can import previously created content from PowerPoint, Keynote or any other source that exports as a PDF.
- There's no need for a projector or display screen as the presentation is mirrored to every students device (they can even use a PC via Nearpod.com if you don't have enough tablets.)
- The educator completely controls the pace of the session since the students cannot advance the presentation themselves.
- Engaging interactive elements can be included such as polls, drawing/annotation activities and quizzes. These can provide great assessment opportunities or just provoke discussion and debate. Any student's response can be anonymously shared to every device for this purpose, without affecting morale.
- You can embed multimedia content such as weblinks, photo galleries and video clips. The weblink option is quite versatile in itself as it is a forced link that students cannot leave - great for focused online work.
- At the end of a session, users can opt to receive data from the session which helps to inform future planning.
There's a wealth of high quality pre-made Nearpod presentations available from their store but the ease of creating them makes that a viable option for even the less tech-confident educator.
THE REVIEWABLE OPTION
Another core app for any iPad Educator must be Explain Everything. Whilst we often highlight it's usefulness in terms of metacognition and getting students to explain their work, it can serve equally well as a presentation tool.All the key elements are there, from pens and text to images and videos along with the choice to insert files and even sounds from your device. PowerPoints etc can be imported and there's a large range of export options including Dropbox and Google Drive.
What Explain Everything has that makes it stand out as a presentation option is the screencasting function. What this means is that you could deliver your presentation and record what you say as you present. The resulting video could then be shared with students for review or even referred to by the educator if they needed to present the same content again and wanted to reflect on how they delivered it the previous time.
THE INSTANT OPTION
So what about those times when you need to present on the fly? When you don't want to use a pre-prepared slideshow but just have a space to develop thinking or ideas? There are several options in this respect, including variations on established interactive whiteboard software but I'm a fan of a relatively new app called Zamurai.
Zamurai ticks all the requisite boxes in terms of ease of use and range of creation tools available but has a couple of neat features that make it stand out.
Firstly, rather than using a notebook format with multiple pages, it adopts an endless canvass approach wherein users can simply zoom out to find new space to work in. This can be really useful when it comes to making links between stages of a presentation as elements can be reintroduced and even linked together. As a result it has huge potential for mind mapping or visual harvesting too.
Secondly, when hooked up to a projector, the view that is presented is stripped of all the onscreen toolbars and options! This is a simple but incredibly beneficial touch as the screen never gets cluttered as you tweak content or bring up various tools, making the experience clearer and larger for those watching the presentation.
Naturally there's a huge range of alternatives on offer in the App Store so I wanted to highlight three more "honourable mentions"..
PREZI VIEWER - Prezi really is a unique presentation experience. I still remember the gasps I got from an audience the first time I used it and the screen zoomed into an image hidden in a full stop! That being said, as an app this is a viewer only and the interface is minimal.
KNOWMIA TEACH - similar to Explain Everything but you can include a video screencast to support your slides. Great for the flipped classroom practitioner.
SHOWME - until I discovered Explain Everything, this was my go-to app to replace the IWB software. The limited export options doomed it for me though it is still preferred by some.
So what will be the next big thing? It seemed logical to end with a mention of a couple of apps that I'm just getting to grips with and I feel could become increasingly popular and well-known this year.
IDEA FLIGHT. - similar to Nearpod in the way one tablet acts as the master and leads the others. Bases off of a PDF file but that makes PPT and Keynote import a possibility. Like Nearpod, interaction is the key here as collaborative annotation activities are available.
SLIDEIDEA - Combining the slick, streamlined feel of Haiku Deck with a touch of Nearpod's interactivity, it has a lot of potential. Presentations can be run in a variety of ways with the ability for the audience to add messages, take polls and more. Look for a review of it here on the site really soon.