Saturday, December 8, 2012

iPad Presentations - The perfect answer(s)

Creating presentations with the iPad in ways that are educationally sound and that can easily be shared with a broader audience, requires a little bit of a thoughtful approach. While there are always more ways to do things, this post presents the most common and comprehensive options including tips on sharing, exporting and more. In this post I explore 3 formats and highlight several apps for each:

Whiteboard Apps

Using an interactive whiteboard app will allow students to develop a presentation using hand drawings, photos, and more depending on the app. This is a great tool because it requires a good deal of planning to get good results and can allow students to go into depth explaining something they understand. Final student products often output to online storage, or a flexible video format.

Explain Everything ($2.99)

This may be the top app in this category. It is also the most complex. While the interface takes a little getting to know, students and teachers who spend time with this app will appreciate the slide presentation style planning and the multitude of things that can be added in. It is appropriate for almost any age group and the final product can be exported as a video that can be uploaded to the service of your choice or just to an online storage location. (see more)

  • Output to video to share on YouTube or similar
  • Export screen shots
  • Voice Narration
  • Create multiple recordings as separate slides to organize
  • Timeline editing (coming later this month)

Show Me (Free)

This may have been the app to start the Whiteboard app style. It is not robust, but because of this it may be ideal for simple presentations. Throw in a couple of images, or a lengthy explanation for how to do some math problems, and you have a good result. The final products for Show Me are posted to the Show Me website and shared from there.

  • Share to the ShowMe community and share with anyone online
  • There are shared ShowMe's organized by category within the app
  • Voice narration
  • Trim final product before posting it

A third popular option is Educreations (free)

Slide Presentations

Keynote ($9.99)

This post started as why not to use Keynote. But, on further review, Keynote is wonderful in many situations. Keynote provides beautiful iPad slideshow design in little time. Insert photos, videos, shapes, text, links, etc. and then easily manipulate it all. Rotate, adjust sizes, colors, animations and more. These presentations can then be viewed directly from an iPad to a projector, or by sending the presentation to a Mac with Keynote using various methods (iTunes, Dropbox, etc.)

  • Export to Keynote, PDF, or PPT
  • Store in dropbox or other online storage locations
  • Auto backup and sync through iCloud (if activated)
  • Export will lose links, animations and videos when exported to anything buy Keynote
  • Use hyperlinks (hidden feature under Tools>Advanced) to add links or to jump slides
  • Use the Keynote Remote app on iPhone or iPod touch to control slideshow

Haiku Deck (free)

This beautiful and simple slide presentation tool uses beautiful images (and your own) and text to create beautiful, simplistic, slideshows that get straight to the point. The price is just right, free. Create slideshows locally and with a free account, share your slideshow. Using Haiku Deck is a great way to keep students on track and away from all of those fancy animation options. Get straight to the point and enjoy beautiful photos at the same time.

  • Share online with ease and beauty via a link once a simple account is created
  • Export in a PowerPoint format that can be emailed and then imported into Google Drive
  • Easy access to free-to-use photos

PowerPoint (various)

Creating PowerPoint in a native iPad app does not exist yet (coming soon?), but there are several ways of getting PowerPoint slideshows onto the iPad. There are also a few tools that use PowerPoint via a third party app.

  • SlideShark for showing PowerPoints created on a computer and uploaded to your account, also can be shared online once created. (free)
  • Smart Office 2 for working directly in a PowerPoint 2007 (and all MS Office) environment on the iPad. ($9.99)
  • SkyDrive - Use an iPad browser and access your Microsoft SkyDrive which has an online app for Powerpoint. Must have a free Microsoft Live account. (free)
For teacher driven slideshows on the iPad, I would highly recommend checking out NearPod (free). It is a very powerful platform for delivery, but not student creation (a student review).

Video Productions

This format predates PowerPoint as the most powerful visual way to present information. On the iPad it is best reflected in simple camera apps or through the quality functioning iMovie editor. In most cases, it is nice to be able to film stuff and then to edit it. There are some apps out there that can create some special effects, but most of these are silly add-ons. Teaching students how to create and manipulate video should be as standard activity at some point in their education. The video format is that important.

Camera (built-in app)

The built in camera on the iPad will do a decent job with creating new videos as long as the space is lit well enough. It will not match the quality of a handheld-cam or even the video recorder on the iPhone, but for most educational purposes it does the trick. Students can film long or short clips for presenting. However, to get the most bang for the buck, bringing the footage into iMovie at some point will help students get much better at honing their message.

iMovie ($4.99)

Video creation is one thing, but video editing is where the magic happens. With the rare exceptions of demonstrations or skits, it is frequently a necessity for students to be able to take what they have created and edit it into an order that makes sense with titles, transitions and cuts of useless pieces. There are lots of videos on the Internet to demonstrate how to use iMovie for the iPad. Sending you and your students to one of these could make the experience all that much better. Finish by exporting to YouTube!

Bonus: If you have access to an iPhone or iPod touch, try the SloPro app (free but $2.99 for needed features) for creating good quality slowmotion videos. Fun and potentially educational!

Special Mentions

Prezi (free for educators )

Do you use Prezi? Avoiding it on the iPad? There is actually a Prezi app. Unfortunately it is not a full blown Prezi app. Instead it behaves mostly like a viewer for Prezis already online. What it will also allow for is basic creation, text editing, and photo inserts, on the go. This could be useful for catching last minute typos or adding last minute info to existing presentations.

Slideshare via SlidePad (free)

If you are a frequent user of Slideshare, you already know how wonderfully easy it is to create and then share your presentation anywhere on the web. With SlidePad you can access your Slideshare material via iPad and present or share them.

Google Presentations

This is the superbly beefed up Presentation App that is part of Google Drive. These presentations can be very easily shared and viewed on the iPad. Unfortunately, they cannot be created or edited on the iPad.


Presenting with the iPad;; June 18, 2012;

Chad McGowan is a high school technology teacher and professional development specialist in technology. Over the past 16 years, Chad has taught a variety of math and computer course from 7-12. Since 2000, Chad has been guiding other professionals in technology by staying current and learning from those around him. Follow Chad on Twitter @ahstechteacher and through this blog.

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