You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Software’ category.

I’m presenting a workshop on using Prezi tomorrow.  The agenda includes

  • What is Prezi, and what are its pros and cons?
  • Best practices, including how and when to zoom, pan, or rotate
  • Evaluating a topic’s structure to determine whether it’s best suited to Prezi, PowerPoint, a text document, or another medium
  • Individual experimentation with Prezi
  • Tips and tricks for efficient use

Some of the resources I’ll use are linked here.  I’ll update the list after the workshop with additional resources, as determined by the conversation and interests of participants.

Workshop Examples

Prezi Tutorials

Information Design in General

  • PRISM scandal cheekily reinterpreted as a visual design problem, including before-and-after slide redesign
  • Dan Meyer explains “Kicking Out the Cliche” in classroom presentations.  “Very little that’s worth saying can be disintegrated into staccato bullet points. If I ever found myself tending towards bullet points in any presentation, I’d start massaging them into an essay-style handout.”  Wash it down with this description of how to create great handouts.
  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, by Garr Reynolds, shows techniques that non-professionals can use to dramatically increase the impact of presentation visuals.  Advocates creating handouts instead of putting text on slides.
  • Garr Reynolds (of Presentation Zen fame) explains how to eliminate anything that is not essential to visually communicating your point.
  • David McCandless’s TED talk on The Beauty of Data Visualization shows dramatic examples of how the visual aspects of information design can change our relationship to information

Information Design in Prezi

Do mind-maps bug you?  Does unstructured brainstorming, especially in a group of “right-brained” people, make you edge toward the door?  Do you roll your eyes when the flip-chart paper comes out?   Do clouds and wiggly lines make you long for binary trees or tidy org-charts where left, right, up and down have a clear meaning?  Ok, maybe it’s just me 🙂

I’ve never been attracted to mind-maps.  By the time I’m thinking of something, it already has a structure (linear,  iterative, spiral,  hierarchical, or whatever) in my mind.  The admonishment to let go of structure and just “freestyle,” with little clouds all over the place, doesn’t make me feel free: it makes me feel stifled.  If I get to a point where my structure isn’t helping me anymore, I’ll make a new one, but I don’t find any improvement in the flow of “creative juices” if I ignore the patterns that are knocking on the door of my brain.  So mind-mapping software never struck me as a fun thing to do on a Friday night.

But one day I was reading a post by Maria Andersen about games, play, and learning.  She linked to a library of resources in various formats.  She stored it as a mind-map.  I realized that mind-mapping software had potential beyond staff-meeting brainstorms.  It was a place where media in incompatible formats could be organized by theme.

I experimented with a bunch of free packages, as well as Inspiration, a proprietary package that my campus uses.  I’m sticking with Mindomo for ease of use, wide-ranging features, and cloud-based editing (even though the help forum leaves lots to be desired).  An open-source package called VUE was my favourite, but I found it too unstable for my purposes.

If you’re curious, here’s my collection of favourite resources on the theme of Learning and Teaching.  If you click through, you can hover over the tiny icons to see the details.


I experimented a bit with Evernote, but I preferred having a visual organization than a folder-based organization.  I didn’t pursue it much, since this is working well, so it’s likely that I’m missing some of the strengths of Evernote (integration with other software, for example).

Here’s what this mind-map-hater found to like about mind-map software:

  • I can organize media by theme instead of by format
  • Resources are self-documenting (via hyperlink or text note)
  • The notes field is huge (haven’t found the limit yet) so I can remind myself why I liked that bookmark, where the best part of the video is, etc.
  • It makes a decent presentation tool
  • A map is easily published to the web for others to read and/or collaborate on
  • It exposes an RSS feed
  • It incorporates task scheduling, tracks percent completion, and can be exported to MS Project
  • The whole thing is searchable

Archives

I’M READING ABOUT