So here they are: three alternative technologies you might consider:
You must at least check out Prezi. It's a zooming, swooping alternative to PowerPoint. You can check out a sample presentation I created as an exemplar for my Intro to Education students here.
A couple things I love about Prezi:
- It's cloud-based, so you don't have to worry about saving your presentation to a flash drive, or emailing it to someone else. This also means it's beautifully cross-platform and works on any computer with a modern browser.
- It is set up to support both a linear or non-linear presentations. PowerPoint really only works well for linear presentations. The nice thing about Prezi is that you can jump out of the point-by-point line anytime and zoom in or out to whatever point or diagram or graphic you need to illustrate your point.
- The folks behind Prezi recently updated the editor, making it very, very easy to use. (Not that the old version was hard to use, per se, but it wasn't as intuitive as the new editor.) Great tool!
The one hang-up I have with Prezi is that you have to be careful not to make your audience sea-sick with all the swooping and zooming...it can be a little much, especially if you're clicking fast.
2. GoogleDocs Presentations
When I was an elementary/middle school Technology Coordinator, this was my go-to app for students giving presentations. Super easy to use, and presentations turn out looking great. Go ahead and give it a test-drive...
Okay, maybe to say they look "great" is an overstatement--this is a no-frills tool, to be sure. But it's free, and cloud-based (love that), and so straightforward that my 5th graders could create a presentation with very little instruction.
Here again, you can share presentations easily, and Google seems to be continually updating the tools within GoogleDocs. Give it a few years, and I think it'll be giving PowerPoint a regular run for the money.
Okay, so maybe you're leery of the cloud, but you don't want to pay the big bucks for MS Office. Never fear--of course there is a free and reliable alternative! Check out OpenOffice. It's available in PC and Mac versions (and Linux, for the über-geeks out there...but you probably already knew that...), but this is one you'll need to download and install.
OpenOffice works pretty great, and there is a pretty large supporting community behind it, so if you have trouble, leave a message on one of their message boards; someone will be sure to help you out. That said, it's freeware, so you get what you get and don't throw a fit, okay? Still, you can create word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations (all in file types completely compatible with MS Office), and it's free...so who's going to complain to much?
So there's my three picks. I have them here in ranked order by my preference, but you'll need to weigh your own needs before you decide which is best for your own setting.
What other alternatives to PowerPoint are you using?